New stricter airport screenings go into effect Thursday affecting all US-bound flights following terrorism concerns.
All U.S. citizens and international travelers flying into the US will have to go through enhanced security.
Airlines are required to set their own measures with many adding passenger interviews at check-in. Passengers can also expect enhanced screening of electronics, including laptops and phones. Airports will also be adding security in waiting areas and around planes.
The new measures in security could include short security interviews with passengers at check-in or the boarding gate, sparking concerns over flight delays and extended processing time.
This sudden decision will surely affect 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,000 commercial flights arriving daily in the United States, on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries.
The United States announced the new rules in June to cease its restrictions on carry-on electronic devices on planes coming from 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa in response to unspecified security threats.
The restrictions were initiated in July, but the Trump administration said it could reapply measures on a case by case basis if airlines and airports did not boost security.
Airlines had until late July to expand explosive trace detection testing.
“We see this as a big issue for China Airlines,” Steve Chang, senior vice president of the Taiwanese firm told reporters on Wednesday, adding the airline was trying to consult with the American Institute in the country over the issue.
“We are asking customers to show up at the airport early … It’s just inconvenient for the passengers,” president and COO Walter Cho told Reuters in Taipei.
Airlines for America, a U.S. trade group, said the changes “are complex security measures,” but praised U.S. officials for giving airlines flexibility in meeting the new rules.
Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of the International Air Transport Association, said in Taipei “What we have seen is very strange, unilateral measures announced without any prior consultation… That is something that is very concerning and disturbing.”
A Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman declined to discuss the specific changes, but said “the United States continues to work with our partners to raise the baseline of global aviation security and keep the entire traveling public safe.”
U.S. Homeland Security is requiring these changes as a way to prevent a ban on in-cabin laptops. The department is also hoping to prevent terrorists who could travel through multiple countries before coming into the U.S.
As airlines phase in these changes many are asking passengers to get to the airport even earlier. Delta is telling its passengers to get there at least 3 hours before take off.
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