New security measures for all US-bound flights begin today, following the US Department of Homeland Security’s “first round” of enhanced electronics screenings back in July. According to CNBC, these new measures include passenger questioning and searching carry-on bags. The new rules affect all 2,100 flights that come to the US daily, including US carriers.
There seems to be some confusion as airlines around the world gave various statements to CNBC about what the measures would entail and how they would be rolling out. In Dubai, Emirates has begun searching carry-on bags and questioning passengers about their luggage, trip origin, and liquids. Xiamen Airlines in China said they will only interview passengers that show a “certain degree of risk.” Singapore Airlines’ website says passengers may have to undergo security questioning during check-in and boarding.” Some airlines have permission to delay implementing the additional protocols until January 2018.
A passenger in Hong Kong traveling to Los Angeles shared with CNBC the types of questions they were asked. “They asked me if I packed my own bag, where I packed it from, where I came from, they looked at my itinerary, verify where I was, who I was, from where I came from.”
These additional measures, compounded with the US Department of Homeland Security’s recent electronics inspection mandate, are leading some airlines to suggest passengers plan for extra time at airports. Delta is telling those flying to the US to arrive at least three hours before departure time.
John Kelly, the US secretary of Homeland Security, initially announced the stricter security practices in June, saying, “I am concerned that we are seeing renewed interest on the part of terrorist groups to go after the aviation sector.”