MIAMI — New security screenings have been announced by global carriers on all their flights to the United States starting Thursday, October 26.
In March, the U.S. government instructed nine foreign airlines in the Middle East and Africa that personal electronic devices larger than cell phones would be banned from the passenger cabins.
The initial electronics ban in March affected travelers flying nonstop to the U.S. from eight countries (Egypt, UAE, Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia) and airlines from the Middle East.
Read More: US Bans Personal Electronic Devices from Mideast and Africa
Emirates was forced to cancel 20% of its flights to the U.S. because of the decreased demand caused by the heavy security restrictions imposed by the U.S. government.
The United Kingdom joined in banning large electronics on flights from most of these countries—with the UAE and Qatar excepted—validating to some extent the intelligence that the Trump administration based its decision on.
Later in July, the U.S. Government began lifting the ban after airlines and airports complied with the Trump Administration’s demands, starting with all incoming flights from Abu Dhabi, followed by flights from Dubai and Istanbul Atatürk Airport.
Today, however, international airlines are approaching the 120-day deadline to comply with the fine-tuned U.S. regulations following the laptop ban.
Even though these procedures follow strict guidelines posed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, airlines have offered different descriptions on what kind of questions and additional screening techniques will be used on their U.S.-bound flights.
In Europe, Air France will begin these new security measures on all its flights to the U.S. on Thursday. Air France notes that the screening will begin with a questionnaire that will be handed to 100% of its passengers.
Reportedly, all flights from Paris-Orly (ORY) will go first on Thursday, followed by Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) on November 2—about a week later.
Likewise, the Lufthansa Group posted a statement on its website announcing that passengers traveling to the U.S. might face short interviews at check-in, document check or at the departure gate. All airlines in the Lufthansa Group will comply, according to the statement.
In Asia, Cathay Pacific published a note on its website announcing that their self-service baggage drop will be discontinued for all US-bound flights from their Hong Kong mega-hub. The airline notes that a short security interview might take place before boarding.
In the Middle East, Dubai-based Emirates remarked that pre-screening interviews will be held at their check-in counters. The airline will ask its passengers to arrive earlier to avoid any possible delays due to the newly implemented process.
Royal Jordanian also announced that an additional screening will be carried on all their flights from Amman to New York (JFK), Chicago (ORD) and Detroit (DTW) starting in January. Reportedly, the airline asked for a deadline extension, which was granted by the U.S. authorities.
The airline’s spokesman, Basel Kilani, said that a questionnaire will also be handed to all their passengers—just like Air France will do. Kilani didn’t give further details on the kinds of questions that will be in the questionnaire, however.
Egypt Air will also introduce a tighter security screening on its flights from Cairo to JFK. The airline released a statement noting that such screening measures will begin on Thursday, including a more detailed screening of passengers’ belongings and a potential pre-boarding interview.