If you're traveling internationally, here's what enhanced airport security measures could mean for you
International travelers flying to the U.S. should prepare for longer wait times and more intensive screening, as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rolls out its enhanced security measures this week.
DHS announced its plans for enhanced security in June, as a way to respond to an ongoing terror threat, according to a statement.
U.S. authorities remained vague about what this enhanced security would look like but noted that it will include “heightened screening of personal electronic devices” and “increasing security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas.”
The measures were presented as an alternative the so-called “laptop ban” that restricted large electronics in cabins on flights coming from certain airports in the Middle East.
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Passengers should be prepared to arrive even earlier to the airport than usual for international flights inbound to the U.S. — at least three hours in advance. Airlines have begun issuing new guidance for how early to arrive, so it’s always best to check directly with your carrier.
All travelers should be prepared to get their electronics out of the bags and to have them readily accessible to security agents, including removing all cases and coverings, according to The Toronto Star. Making sure that the electronics are charged and working is also a good idea.
DHS is responding to a reported threat of terrorists deploying bombs disguised inside large electronics. DHS Secretary John Kelly told NBC that his team had tested the potential of a laptop bomb to bring down an airplane and found strong evidence affirming that possibility.
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“We tested it on a real airplane on the ground, pressurized, and to say the least, it destroyed the airplane,” Kelly said.
Homeland Security has also recently been testing other forms of additional airport security, including asking passengers to remove all food and even reading material from their bags before passing through screenings.