USA Seeks One-Stop Security Agreement with India to End Post-Arrival Screening of Passengers

A lot is happening for good in the US-India travel corridor! On one hand, India automated and quickened immigration clearance with a trusted traveler program. On the other hand, the US is tightening the noose around airlines to issue quick refunds in case of cancelation and significant flight delays. In a major development, the US and India are reportedly deliberating over plans to do away with the rescreening of arriving passengers and their baggage for a slew of benefits, such as expedited baggage transfer, short connection times, and reduced security costs.

At the India-US Aviation Summit held in June 2024, the US Transportation Security Administration brought a one-stop security agreement to the table for India. David Pekoske, the TSA administrator, elaborated his proposal to India while calling for the need to raise aviation safety standards for both countries. No rescreening for arriving passengers with connecting domestic flights is the objective of the proposed one-stop security agreement between USA and India.

USA-India travel news, US-India relations, one-stop security concept

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What is the one-stop security concept?

This unique concept refers to the foolproof screening of passengers and their bags at departure airports or ports of travel origin, so that they have a seamless arrival experience without additional security checks in destination countries. If the post-arrival screening is eliminated from the current procedure, it will ease the holiday rush at entry airports, and streamline the exit of travelers, or expedite their transfer to connecting flights for onward domestic travel.

If the US-India one-stop security pact comes to fruition, it would be a major breakthrough not only in international aviation but also in the India-US strategic relations. Also, it will greatly benefit travelers in the event of arrival delays. If an international flight arrives late, even by only 30 minutes, some passengers panic over the fear of missing out on their domestic flights due to long security queues at major entry airports in the US and/or India.

Technical glitches, adverse weather, rerouting, mid-air turbulence, inflight medical emergencies, bird strikes, and various other unprecedented factors do often cause flight arrival delays. It is more frustrating for economy class flyers than passengers of business class flights or premium economy. Economy flyers are often subject to hassles of waiting in long queues for security check and immigration clearance, whereas business class travelers may get premium services such as priority deboarding and checked baggage claims.

Apparently, passengers of economy flights to India or USA, including unaccompanied senior citizens would benefit from the proposed elimination of post-arrival screening and baggage recheck-in given the above scenario of flight delays.

“The one-stop security proposal seems to be feasible for travelers booking nonstop flight itineraries without any international layover between USA and India. Whether travelers with one or two-stop flight itineraries would be eligible for the proposed removal of additional security checks on arrival, is still under wraps. Irrespective of itinerary types, the one-stop screening of international passengers would improve the overall travel experience,” said Sourav Agarwal, the Editor of Travel Beats.

“It requires the regular exchange of information and improvements to security processes to maintain the agreement between the countries,” said the US TSA administrator describing the one-stop security concept “really powerful” and highlighting possible benefits, such as reduced security infrastructure costs, fewer cases of missed connecting domestic flights, and aircraft-to-aircraft baggage transfer.

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