New screenings begin globally for passengers on US-bound flights
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP):
New security screenings for all passengers on United States-bound flights began yesterday, with airlines worldwide questioning flyers about their trip and their luggage in the latest Trump administration decision affecting global travel.
However, confusion still remains about the new regulations, which come at the end of a 120-day period following the US lifting a ban on laptops in airplane cabins affecting 10 Mideast cities. The new regulations cover all the 2,100 flights from around the world entering the US on any given day.
Some airlines said they had received permission to delay implementing the new rules until January.
At Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest for international travel, long-haul carrier Emirates began questioning passengers about their luggage, liquids they were carrying, and where they were coming from. Passengers also had to have their carry-on bags searched, along with their electronics.
Emirates declined to discuss the new procedures in detail yesterday. On Wednesday, it said it would conduct "passenger pre-screening interviews" for those traveling on US-bound flights in concert with other checks on electronics.
Elsewhere, things did not appear to be going so smoothly. In China, an official in the Xiamen Airlines press office, who would only give his surname as Qiu, said that the airlines received a "demand" about the new US regulations and planned "to take some security measures, including security safety interviews from today on".
An official with the Eastern Airlines publicity department said that she saw media reports about security-safety interviews but didn't have immediate details on what her company was doing. An official at the Beijing Airport press centre would only say: "We always strictly follow relevant regulations of the Civil Aviation Administration when conducting security checks." Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations.
Other airlines with US-bound flights at Seoul's Incheon International Airport brought in as many as seven extra staff yesterday to question passengers under the new rules, but there were no major delays, airport spokesman Lee Jung-hoon said.
US carriers also will be affected by the new rules. Delta Air Lines said it was telling passengers traveling to the US to arrive at the airport at least three hours before their flight and allow extra time to get through security. United declined to comment, while American Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment.