New guidelines for airlines go into effect this week that might result in longer delays at airports. In order to avoid a restriction on in-cabin laptops on U.S.-bound flights, airlines around the world will begin “short security interviews” with passengers at check-in or at the boarding gate.
The new rules, which were announced in June, were meant to end the government’s restriction on carry-on luggage containing laptops. Airlines were given 120 days to comply, and that deadline is this week. According to the Huffington Post, the change “will affect 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,000 commercial flights arriving daily in the United States, on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries.” While travel security changes are not uncommon, this last one came without a reference to a specific threat or danger.
“What we have seen is very strange,” [Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of the International Air Transport Association] told reporters in Taipei. “Unilateral measures announced without any prior consultation…. That is something that is very concerning and disturbing.”
Airlines are happy that U.S. officials have given them some flexibility in how they handle the new restrictions, but they regret that their customers will be further inconvenienced by the prospect of security interviews during the check-in process. Those traveling to the United States are encouraged to arrive at the airport even earlier now — allowing at least 90 minutes before a flight is due to depart.