Thanks to one Nigerian nutter, a Umar Abdulmutallab (AKA the Underpants Bomber) we’ll all have to jump through more security hoops while flying this holiday season . There are no hard and fast rules so what happens at one airport may not happen at another. This is intentional so as to be unpredictable so the bad guys will have less of an idea how the new security protocol works.
This is what I’ve been able to ascertain from a bit of web research:
• International flight bound to US: During the last hour of a flight, travelers headed to the U.S. will have to remain seated, will not have access to their carry-on baggage, and cannot have anything on their laps.
• US domestic flights: No going to the lavatory when the fasten seatbelts sign is on. (This was confirmed by a friend flying from Pitsburg to Denver today (Dec 28th))
• Passengers and carry-on items would be screened both at security checkpoints and at airline gates, according to the airline.
• Some flights have banned electronic usage during the first and final 30 minutes of a flight, not including takeoff and landing periods
• A reported ban on in-flight Wi-Fi, entertainment systems, and access to any and all carry-on luggage or devices one hour before landing
I’ll post some more snippets from around the web:
From the TSA website
Q: What additional security measures are being taken for international flights to U.S. destinations?
A: TSA issued a directive for additional security measures to be implemented for last point of departure international flights to the United States. Passengers flying into the United States from abroad can expect to see additional security measures at international airports such as increased gate screening including pat-downs and bag searches. During flight, passengers may be asked to follow flight crew instructions, such as stowing personal items, turning off electronic equipment and remaining seated during certain portions of the flight.
Q: Should passengers plan to arrive at airports earlier than normal?
A: Passengers traveling within the United States should give themselves extra time to check in and proceed through the security checkpoint before their flight, especially during the busy holiday travel season. TSA advises that passengers traveling on international flights to U.S. destinations allow extra time for security and arrive an additional hour earlier.
Increased Airport Security Screening. Increased Airport Security Screening from any non-U.S. location TO the United States:
For all flights departing from any non-U.S. location TO the United States, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued new security screening measures. This measure is in addition to the normal screening that all passengers must complete to enter secured areas. All passengers should plan to arrive at the airport at least three (3) hours in advance of their flight departure to allow extra time for check-in and the boarding process. Recommended airport check-in time for Delhi, India is currently 3 1/2 hours.
Updated December 26, 2009 – 4:10 p.m. CST
Advisory: Passengers may notice additional screening measures put into place to ensure the safety of the traveling public. Due to these additional measures and increased holiday travel, please arrive early for your flights
MONTREAL December 28, 2009 — Air Canada and Jazz remind customers that due to new security measures imposed by Canadian and U.S. government authorities on flights from Canada to the U.S., there are strict limits in effect for carry-on articles allowed in the cabin.
Air Canada advises passengers that the new regulations permit only a single carry-on item and recommends customers consult Transport Canada guidelines at http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/mediaroom/backgrounders-menu-5781.htm for details on permissible carry-on items such as a small purse, laptop computer or infant care items.
To accommodate customers travelling to the U.S., Air Canada is waiving excess baggage charges for checked baggage on a temporary basis for U.S.-bound customers travelling from Canada. Customers will be permitted to check up to three items of baggage at no additional charge until further notice.
Customers can continue to expect delays on U.S.-bound flights. Northbound flights from the U.S. to Canada are also being impacted due to late inbound aircraft. Customers can also expect potential delays on domestic and international flights due to airport congestion and delayed aircraft.
The United States government has revised its security arrangements for all customers travelling into the US.
Only one item of hand luggage is allowed for all passengers travelling to the US from Heathrow, Gatwick or London City. This applies to passengers whose journey originates in London, as well as those who are transferring flights. They are advised to check-in as normal.
Passengers travelling to destinations outside the United States or from the United States are not affected. Please check ba.com for further updates during the day.
What if I have wrapped presents in my hand luggage?
Passengers travelling to the United States will be required to unwrap any items if they have chosen not to check them in. This is not applicable to passengers travelling from the United States.
I was going to take more than one piece of hand baggage – can I check in the extra bags? If you are travelling to the United States, yes, at no extra charge. The extra bags you check in must conform to your size and weight limits for hand baggage. For passengers travelling from the United States, standard hand baggage allowances apply.
Customers are advised to check the status of their flight before they leave for the airport.
Customers on flights originating outside of the United States are asked to allow at least one additional hour for check in due to U.S. government mandated security procedures. Customers are asked to plan accordingly.