Enhanced US Airline Security Measures and Associated Risks
24 Nov 2017
Enhanced airline security measures, enacted in July, have been brought into force across domestic and international flights into, and out of, the United States. The principal purpose of these measures is to reduce the risk of an explosive device being concealed in portable electronic devices; without resorting to a total cabin ban such as that previously imposed on flights from 10 Middle Eastern Countries in 2017.
- Airlines will have to support additional pre-flight security measures on all flights into the US.
- International and domestic flights will face new measures for scanning hand luggage.
Travel Information: Enhanced airline security measures, enacted in July, have been brought into force across domestic and international flights into, and out of, the United States. The principal purpose of these measures is to reduce the risk of an explosive device being concealed in portable electronic devices; without resorting to a total cabin ban such as that previously imposed on flights from 10 Middle Eastern Countries in 2017.
Domestic and international flights will be required to comply with additional measures for hand luggage screening. All passengers will be required to place all electronic devices larger than a smartphone unpacked in a separate tray for x-ray scanning. Failure to comply will result in a full search of that passenger’s hand luggage.
International flights into the US will additionally feature additional security measures imposed by the airline’s staff. The measures include both randomised and targeted security questionnaires, which may lead to a more detailed interview in the case of suspicious answers. The implementation of these measures will vary in method and breadth from airline-to-airline. Some are requiring all passengers to complete a short written questionnaire before check-in, others are planning to target verbal questions at the check-in desk, security station, or departure gate. In all cases, more detailed interviews, or referral to official security staff, may result from non-compliance or evasive behaviour.
Solace Global Comment
These measures are likely to lead to a slight increase in time taken to clear security on US-bound and US-domestic flights. Wider delays are only likely in the case of widespread non-compliance. European based travellers may notice less substantial delays due to the broadly high level of security already in place, minimising the differences imposed by the new regulations.
Some airlines, including Royal Jordanian, have indicated that they will not be seeking to comply with the new measures until mid-January. They will instead continue to comply with the more onerous regulations already in place from their destinations, including a ban on large electronic devices in the cabin.
Extensive delays are likely across US airports between 24 and 27 November due to the increase in airline traffic associated with the Thanksgiving holiday. The additional security measures are likely to worsen these delays; however, the additional security checks are likely to have a limited impact on delays in comparison to the increased passenger load.
All travellers planning on travelling to or within the United States should allow additional time at the airport before flights to cater for probable delays relating to enhanced security measures.
Similarly, all travellers should seek clarification from their airlines regarding the measures they will implement to comply with the new requirements.
Solace Global would not advise any additional security measures to travellers based upon these enhanced security checks. They are intended to ease location-specific restrictions whilst uniformly raising the standard of security on all US-bound flights.
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