Are you all set with your passport, visa, and yes, cheap flight tickets for the USA? Then be ready for an interview with the operating airline before you board your flight to the United States. The US Transportation Security Administration has released a new security protocol for all airlines to get passengers of US-bound flights through additional screening, with effect from October 26, 2017.
Previously, the US government banned large electronic devices including laptops and tablets as carry-on items (hang baggage) on all incoming flights. After 3 months or so, the electronic device ban was lifted and replaced with a new security policy for all international airlines including Delta Airlines, Air France, Lufthansa, Air India, Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, Jet Airways, British Airways and likes.
The security policy for all US-bound flights required airlines to put their passengers to fool-proof screening, both at origin airports and in planes. The US Department of Homeland Security was reported to impose the new air travel security and screening measures at major airports in 105 countries, and 108 airlines which collectively operate about 2000 flights to carry some 325,000 travelers to the United States. However, details of the security policy for international airlines and their US-bound passengers were not revealed then.
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How, where and when the security interview will take place is still a question, though screening of US-bound travelers by operating airlines’ employees has been mandated with effect today. Speculations are rife that some airlines may prepare a questionnaire and hand out it to US-bound passengers in the boarding area of origin airports. Other airlines may hold one-to-one or group interviews before allowing travelers to board US-bound flights.
In compliance with the United States’ air travel security policy, Cathay Pacific Airways announced to take a ‘short security interview’ of US-bound travelers at the check-in counters at Hong Kong International Airport. Even those having no check-in baggage will be put to this sort of screening in the boarding area. What travelers will be asked and required to answer in the security interview is not yet clear.
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Passengers of Emirates Airlines’ flights to USA from Dubai will undergo ‘pre-screening interviews’ at Dubai International Airport’s check-in counters. ‘Pre-screening interviews’ will be held for transit passengers of Emirates’ US-bound flights at boarding gates at Dubai airport. Air France will reportedly begin security interviews for US-bound travelers at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on November 2.
Major European carriers including Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Swiss Airlines, and others have agreed to subject their US-bound passengers to short security interviews for additional screening, in response to the US government’s new air travel security policy. All airlines operating flights to the USA have urged travelers to come with extra time to check in at airports and board planes.
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