Published: Sun, October 29, 2017
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Flying to US? Get set for more checks, including security interviews

In March, the USA announced restrictions on laptops on flights originating from 10 airports in eight countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey.

They will affect 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,100 commercial flights arriving daily in the United States, on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries. Airlines and airports were given 120 days to comply with the new directives.

The new security measures come after the Trump administration previously rolled out a laptop ban and travel bans that have thrown the global travel industry into disarray.

Many global airlines had concerns about the new regulations. It could mean delays and headaches for travelers and airline companies.

Passengers flying with Emirates will have to take part in "pre-screening interviews at the check-in counter", whereas Air France will be issuing questionnaires to its US-bound customers, according to The Guardian. This is going to lengthen the amount of recommended time passengers need to check in before their flights, likely at least an hour and a half and for some airlines, up to 3 hours before take-off.

Coming soon, is the ban on electronic devices being allowed to travel in checked-in luggage.

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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.

In a statement, Virgin Atlantic said: "We work closely with USA 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".

At their annual meeting in Taipei, Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) members passed a resolution calling for security measures to be risk-based, outcome-focused and proportionate to the probable threat.

"These measures will work in complement with the current additional screening measures conducted at the boarding gate (including those for electronic devices)".

The TSA said in July it was imposing new security rules requiring USA domestic airline travelers to remove all electronic items larger than mobile phones such as tablets, e-readers and video game consoles from carry-on baggage for screening.

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