More detailed talks with their airlines might be required for travelers headed to America.
Starting Thursday, additional screening questions on about 2,100 daily flights will required to be asked by carriers from asking U.S.-bound passengers according to directions from the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to some queries the government has not disclosed, questions related to the purpose of a trip, whether a bag has been in the traveler’s possession at all times are some of the questions that would be asked.
Because they’ve already been doing these types of interactions with U.S.-bound passengers on many of their flights, the impact of this requirement is minimal for many U.S. airlines. On the other hand, others have not. Customers flying to America are being told to allow at least three hours before departure to navigate security by many carriers, including Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and Delta Air Lines Inc.
For passengers transferring in Dubai to a flight to the U.S., the “pre-screening interviews” will occur at the boarding gate and at check-in counters for originating passengers, Emirates said.
The screening changes was begun by former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and are part of a broader Trump administration effort to raise what the Department of Homeland Security calls the “global baseline” for aviation security.
In an effort to increase security protocols at airports, it’s also the latest in a series of moves by the White House. Including a more rigorous approach to explosives detection of electronic devices, travelers to the U.S. would face additional screening, the DHS announced this summer. For additional verbal screening of passengers, carriers were given 120 days to comply with the mandate. How to secure checked baggage as well as their aircraft when parked abroad are also being faced by the carriers due to the new rules.
Following a lengthy debate whether the U.S. would expand worldwide a ban on laptop computers and other large electronics from airline cabins it had imposed on flights originating from 10 Middle East airports, between airlines, government officials and airports, the edict were formed.
If they knew that such policy changes are caused by “specific vulnerabilities” in aviation security, travelers would benefit.
According to a person familiar with the issue, the type of interactions that Transportation Security Administration “behavior detection officers” have with passengers at airports, typically forms the basis of the model of airlines’ talks with customers. Passengers are directed to additional screening after they exhibit verbal cues of suspicious behavior, excessive fear or stress during those conversations with officers.
Originally focusing exclusively on several Muslim-majority countries, Trump has also been a waging a court battle to ban travelers from various nations since January.
The DHS offered “flexibility” to help ensure that airlines remain compliant with the new questioning policy, said a spokesman for the U.S. airlines’ trade group, Airlines for America. Spokesman Vaughn Jennings said that the carriers “continue to work with DHS officials to best achieve our shared security goals while minimizing the impact to the traveling public.”
(Adapted from Bloomberg)