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Surprise as new US security procedures take force

October 27, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

In a move that seems to have taken the travel industry by surprise, flights to the US are from now on subject to new security screening procedures before take-off from their home countries.

The US government has confirmed that the new measures will apply both to US citizens and to holders of foreign passports, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The process may involve American citizens and foreigners facing security interviews from airline staff, but it’s still unclear quite what’s involved. The new measures are mandatory for US carriers and for foreign airlines from today (Australian time) onwards.

The Dallas Morning News reported the directive was far broader than an earlier Trump administration ban on laptops in the cabins of flights from certain airports (which did not include any in Australia).

The new rules have caused confusion as they seem deliberately vague, leaving carriers unsure how to comply. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not spelled out in any detail quite what the 180 airlines and 280 airports affected need to do. The DHS says details will not be publicly discussed, but heightened screening of passengers and their personal electronic devices is understood to be part of it.

Some carriers plan to begin new security interviews immediately while others favour filling out forms and a few say their operations will remain the same.

Emirates is reported to have stated it will begin carrying out “pre-screening interviews” at its check-in counters. It advises passengers flying through Dubai International Airport to allow extra time for flight check-in and boarding. It says the new measures will complement the current additional screening conducted at the boarding gate.

Cathay Pacific said on its website it had suspended self-drop baggage services. Passengers heading to the US would be “subject to a short security interview” when checking in their luggage and passengers travelling without bags would be interviewed at the gates.

Written by Peter Needham

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