New screenings begins for passengers on US-bound flights

Javier Stokes
October 29, 2017

Previously, laptops had been banned in the cabin on flights originating in eight counties in the Middle East and North Africa. Airlines and airports were given 120 days to comply with the new directives.

The US TSA is allowing some flexibility with airlines to meet conditions of the new rules.

Many worldwide airlines had concerns about the new regulations. "It's just inconvenient for the passengers", President and Chief Operating Officer Walter Cho told Reuters in Taipei.

Starting Thursday, October 26, 2017, some travelers may be interviewed at check-in counters and airport gates.

Lufthansa's Swiss airline has asked passengers to check in at least 90 minutes before their flights in anticipation of the new regulations.

Some airlines, such as Cathay Pacific Airways, are going to stop allowing passengers to do self check-ins and self-bag drops for flights headed to America.

Travelers on all non-stop flights to the United States, including those from Singapore, should be prepared for tighter security checks that may include being questioned at check-in and boarding.

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Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of the International Air Transport Association, expressed concern over the American government's actions.

In a statement, Virgin Atlantic said: "We work closely with U.S. authorities to ensure the safety and security of our flights, and are aware of the additional measures - however, we do not anticipate any disruption to customers". Unilateral measures announced without any prior consultation ...

Airlines were however consulted after the March changes.

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines recently called for security measures to be risk-based and proportionate.

Virgin Atlantic has said the new rules won't disrupt customers. Some say they will conduct screening interviews at check-in counters; provide questionnaires for all US-bound passengers and conduct detailed inspection of personal electronic devices. Some of those new requirements take effect this week as well.

The new rules also come at the end of a 120-day deadline for airlines to meet new USA regulations following the ban on laptops in airplane cabins of some Mideast airlines being lifted.

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