Measures that went into effect on October 26 are expected to significantly alter wait times and procedures for all travelers arriving in the United States on international flights. It is estimated that all 325,000 travelers arriving daily in the U.S.—regardless of their citizenship status—will be affected by these new policies, which are designed to avoid banning laptops and other large electronics from flights—long considered potential sources for terrorism.
According to a recent article in The Hill, the new policies/procedures include:
1. Increased scrutiny. Passengers will be subject to additional questioning from airline staff before departure, both at the ticketing counter and/or at the departure gate, which can include verbal questions or filling out written forms.
2. More thorough bag inspections. Large electronics (any device larger than a cellphone, including tablets and laptops) will be subject to inspection and must be removed from bags and placed in bins for screening.
3. More bomb-sniffing dogs. Expect a greater presence of bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling all areas in and around airports and random searches by canine teams.
For their part, foreign airlines are feeling impacts already, with carriers such as Lufthansa and Korean Air telling passengers to allow extra time for check-in and Cathay Pacific Airlines suspending its in-town check-in and self bag-drop service for those on flights heading directly to the U.S, according to a CNBC article.
While the new regulations may seem daunting, here’s what you can do to speed up the process:
-Arrive early! This cannot be overstated. Airlines are recommending that travelers arrive anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours ahead of their flight times.
-Have all relevant passport information, visas, travel dates, addresses of lodging, etc., easily accessible and on-hand both before you depart and when you arrive in the United States.
-Have all large electronics easily accessible in your carryon luggage and be prepared to remove them at the screening station.