TSA bans liquids on Russia flights

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is banning all aerosols and liquids on flights between the U.S. and Russia.

The directive comes after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a warning about the potential for toothpaste tube bombs being used during the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, which are scheduled to begin this weekend.

A DHS official said in a statement Thursday provided to The Hill that the rule change was in response to reports that emerged as the Olympics neared.

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"As always our security posture, which at all times includes a number of measures both seen and unseen, will continue to respond and appropriately adapt to protect the American people from an ever evolving threat picture," the DHS official said. "These measures include intelligence gathering and analysis, deployment of cutting edge technology, random canine team searches at airports, federal air marshals, federal flight deck officers, temporarily restricting certain items and more security measures both visible and invisible to the public."

Delta Airlines issued a travel advisory about the new TSA rules for flights between Russia and the U.S. on Thursday afternoon.   

"The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has directed that no liquids, gels, aerosols and powders of any size be permitted onboard flights between the United States and the Russian Federation in any passenger cabin of service," the Delta advisory says. "These items may be placed in customers' checked baggage. Prescription medications will be allowed." 

The TSA normally allows passengers to carry liquids less than 3 fluid ounces in their carry-on luggage.

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) suggested earlier this week that the TSA would be unlikely to alter the 3-ounce rule on flights from areas besides Russia. 

"With respect to the 3-ounce [limit], I don't think you're going to see that in the United States, but I know these flights that are emanating out of Russia, you'll probably see a tightening up of those screening procedures with any liquid gels, cosmetics and toothpaste,” McCaul said.

McCaul said on Wednesday that the threat warnings that were raised by the DHS were “very specific and credible.”

Delta Airlines said in its travel advisory that it is also requiring passengers who are flying between Russia and the U.S. to check in for their flights at the airport rather than via the Internet.

"Customers traveling between the U.S. and the Russian Federation will need to personally check in with a Delta representative at the airport," the travel advisory said. "Online, mobile and kiosk check-in will be unavailable. Delta encourages customers traveling to and from Russia to arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance of departure time."