Enhanced Security Measures For U.S. Flights Are Now In Worldwide Effect, All Passengers Advised To Arrive At The Airport With Plenty Of Advance Time

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New ‘Enhanced Security Measures’ for U.S. flights from origins worldwide are now in effect and airlines as well as airports are advising passengers to check in for their flight at least 2 hours prior to departure.

The advance check-in time is more likely being spent in a security check lineup where electronics are being specially screened so one could imagine the less devices one carries the faster it will be.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials have announced that a blanket laptop ban for all flights to the U.S. is off the table but that stricter security screening measures would be adopted instead.

This has been announced roughly 3 weeks ago (we wrote about it here) and the measure are now being implemented.

Global News Canada (see here) reported about the recent announcements in connection with U.S. bound flights from Canada.

Flying to the United States may take a while longer as of today due to enhanced security measures affecting flights to the U.S.

Both Air Canada and WestJet are advising passengers to arrive at airports at least two hours prior to scheduled departures to allow for additional screening.

Air Canada says in an advisory that heightened security introduced by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security beginning today requires enhanced screening of personal electronic devices such as tablets and laptops.

In addition, all personal electronic devices larger than a smartphone will need to be easily accessible and have all cases and covers removed.

WestJet has posted similar advice, adding the recommendation applies to all flights departing Canada. …

In Canada, flights to the U.S. usually depart through a special transborder facility with U.S. Immigration Preclearance so it’s easier for the airports to separate those passengers from the bulk of international departures to other countries.

Overseas carriers such as Lufthansa have advised their passengers that their security procedure at Duesseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich airport will take additional time as the U.S. requirements apply to all passengers departing from their terminals no matter where their final destination is going to be, even if they don’t fly to the U.S. at all.

All Intercontinental Lufthansa flights from these airports have therefore received updated check-in deadlines which for Premium Economy and Economy Class passengers is now 1 hour prior to departure and a generous 40 minutes for Business- and First Class guests (I would never risk showing up 40 min prior to departure at Frankfurt Airport but at least theoretically it’s possible per their policy).

You can access the Lufthansa Travel Advisory here.

According to the referenced article above the following restrictions apply to the carry-on screening now:

Be sure to have all personal electronics charged as new measures allow screening of devices larger than a smartphone to be subject to further inspection.

– Ensure that protective cases and coverings can be easily removed or are removed from all electronic devices. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) warns that any device that cannot be powered on or removed from cases will not be permitted to pass through the screening checkpoint.

– If you or your carry-on trigger an alarm, or happened to be selected at random, you may have to undergo further screening which could involve: Partial or full pat down of your person and carry-on; full-body scan and swabbing for explosive trace.

Travelers and airlines alike feared during the past months that the government would expand the restrictions to all flights going to the U.S. which would undoubtedly have lead to a slump in bookings, especially those of business travelers and people who simply aren’t comfortable of checking their electronics in.

As I mentioned in my previous article and the Lufthansa announcement unfortunately proved that this became true, passengers can now expect more security theater again at airports around the world and not only for U.S. bound flights but all departures since most airports have no way to separate a specific area of their terminals exclusively for U.S. departures.

Conclusion

This new solution seems to be a compromise to satisfy both ends of the involved parties to a degree that makes it possible to continue flights without imposing stricter limits.

I for one do not believe that more stringent checkpoint procedure are effective in whatever way, shape or form when it comes to deter serious threats by professional criminals and especially terrorists. On top of it all it’s laughable that the U.S. demanded these enhanced procedures to be carried out from overseas departure point while their own TSA still (per their latest self administered check) misses 95% of all prohibited items at security checkpoints.

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  • Gary

    Not sure what a serious “thread” is.

  • David Stevenson

    Silly. There is nothing stopping a passenger in Singapore to meet a “friend” who just arrived from a Non-USA destined airport (Jakarta etc) to pass an unscreaned laptop to him.

    More circus tricks

    • Gary Gray

      Don’t US bound flights have to wait and then go through a window walled security check at the gate or do inbound/outbound pax mix in the concourse in Singapore?

      • Patrick

        Agreed. Wherever in the world you are, US bound flights go through an additional Security check before accessing the departure / gate lounge.

        If it saves one incident then it’s all been worthwhile.

        • Gaijinsan

          I guarantee that US bound flights do not go through any additional security checks at many airports. Some, yes… but most, absolutely not. Try departing from NRT, ICN, TPE, HKG, ZRH, FRA, etc., etc., you go through central security and except for a very few random pulls at the gate, that’s it.

          • Gary Gray

            The TSA requires US airlines to have secondary screening in place at many airports before boarding, including ICN above. I do not know the others, even though I’ve been to them all. I just don’t have a good memory to guarantee so much..

          • Gaijinsan

            Secondary screening, yes, but it’s not 100%, I’ve seen it in action and it’s just a handful of passengers on the flight during boarding. I’ve even had SSSS on my boarding pass leaving TPE once and they still didn’t do any secondary screening, they asked the supervisor and waved me straight through.

    • Gaijinsan

      Get the point but bad example. Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are security at the gate. There is no central security checkpoint at those airports.

  • Gary Gray

    I fly twice a year return to Canada from Asia and visit the US each time. I find I still generally sail through with a NEXUS card. Not sure to what degree this will slow down the formerly smooth process of not (usually) needing to remove my laptop, belt or shoes when going through TSA screening.

    • Gaijinsan

      NEXUS is for entry clearance only. That doesn’t affect your security screening at the outbound international airport. As long though as you have an alliance status card that allows you to use priority security queues, I don’t think anything is going to change significantly. Those queues are usually only a few passengers deep at normal times anyway.

  • Gaijinsan

    I think it’s laughable that they think people really need to turn up at international airports with an extra hour on hand to get through the enhanced security. Total load of BS.

    Using Star Gold Priority lanes for security for example in Japan used to take 2-3 mins on average… so even if they are scrutinizing laptops from US bound passengers, it’ll be up to many 10 mins instead? Hardly a cause for panic.

    I don’t know if they are adding extra security at the gate or not, but even then it still doesn’t matter. That doesn’t happen until boarding starts anyway, so if the security runs overtime then you get a late departure. I don’t see them starting boarding at T-1 hour 30 mins for extra security at the gate.

    Needless to say, I’ll still continue turning up at Narita and Haneda at T-1 hour 15 mins (and that’s only because some airlines stop luggage acceptance at T-1h) and I don’t anticipate I’m going to miss any of my US bound flights.

  • Attention All Passengers

    …”at least 2 hours in advance”…?
    It’s a nightmare now with that amount of time, never mind getting behind clueless travelers at checkpoints. Four hours would be wise – use the time to people watch, it ought to be interesting.