New Trump security rules taking effect at airports

New Trump security rules taking effect at airports
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It’s about to get a whole lot tougher to fly to the United States.

U.S.-bound passengers are facing a new wave of stricter airline security measures, from tougher bag checks to questioning from ticket agents. 

Airlines were required to have the standards in place by Thursday as part of the Trump administration's effort to beef up global aviation security and stay on top of evolving terrorism threats. 

The protocols, announced this summer, could be an inconvenience for travelers.

The policies are designed to replace an unpopular ban on laptops in carry-on luggage — a restriction that was initially placed on select airports in the Middle East and Africa earlier this year and was met with fierce resistance from the travel community.

But not all the security procedures will be visible to travelers. Here are five things passengers on U.S.-bound flights can expect when they head to airports.

Questioning from airlines

One of the most noticeable changes that travelers may experience is being questioned by the airlines at the start of their trip. 

Air carriers have said that travelers could be subject to short security interviews, either during the check-in process at the ticket counter or at the gate before they board their flight.

The quizzing could entail being verbally questioned by airline employees or being asked to fill out a form. The policy is likely to differ among airlines. 

Tougher bag inspections

Travelers should brace for tougher bag inspections when they go through airport security checkpoints, with extra scrutiny placed on their large electronics.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) already enhanced its screening procedures for all domestic flights in the U.S., with officials citing concerns that terrorists have been exploring new ways to smuggle bombs onto planes.

Under the new protocols, passengers may be asked to remove more items from their carry-on bags and place them in separate bins for screening. That will apply to electronics larger than a cell phone, such as tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles. A similar policy has already applied to laptops for years.

The move comes as an increasing number of passengers have decided to carry on their luggage in order to avoid checked baggage fees. But cluttered bags have made it more difficult for officers to decipher items on the X-ray machine.

Extra canine teams

Airports have been increasing the presence of bomb-sniffing dog teams in key areas.

The new aviation security plan calls for greater overall security in public spaces in and around airports, as well in the areas surrounding aircraft.

The canine units are used to detect explosives, conduct random searches and speed up security lines. But their visible presence also serves as a deterrent for bad actors, while simultaneously boosting public confidence.

Longer wait times 

With more detailed bag checks and extra questioning during the check-in process, it’s possible that passengers could experience longer wait times — especially as the new procedures are first implemented.

Some airlines are asking passengers to get to the airport earlier than usual.

Lufthansa’s Swiss airline has advised travelers to check in at least 90 minutes before their flight, while Cathay Pacific Airways is urging travelers to arrive three hours before departure, according to Reuters.

Scope of impact 

All individuals who are traveling to the United States from a last point of departure airport will be subject to the new screening protocols, whether they are U.S. citizens or not.

There is an average of 2,100 commercial flights that arrive in the U.S. every day, from 105 countries on 180 different airlines. 

That means roughly 325,000 airline passengers will be impacted by the security measures on a daily basis. 

But not every airline is yet in compliance with the new screening procedures. Some airlines, including Royal Jordanian, have received an extension to comply with the new requirements, according to The Associated Press.