We’re in the age of technology. Many have some sort of electronic device whether it’s a smartphone, laptop, iPad, etc. The proliferation of handheld electronics has caused airports to strengthen its security measures. Here’s a glimpse at what’s been happening of late regarding Homeland Security and new measures for international flights coming into the United States.
What It Was Like
The Department of Homeland Security initially banned large electronic devices. These were for out of the country flights bound for the United States. But the ban seemed very restrictive and an impediment for the majority of those who pose no threat to the US. Recently, the ban has been lifted except for two airports in Saudi Arabia.
What’s It Like Now
While the ban has been lifted, those coming through security with electronic devices face much scrutiny. For example, electronics must be able to be dislodged from their carrying cases. Also, they must have enough power as to get turned on. This is to ensure the device is an actual computer, iPad, etc and not a disguised security threat.
What to Do
Canadian airports suggest that you keep your electronics loose to make it easy for safety officials to get to. Plus, as mentioned, any device that cannot be immediately turned on will face added scrutiny and may not make it on the plane. Get to the airport extra early if you have an electronic device and make it especially easy for the guards to get to your electronics.
Longer Wait Times
Officials urge that the added safety protocols will not influence wait times yet it’s best to get to the airport early. As the ban is lifted, the Department of Homeland Security expects each foreign destination to properly implement suggested protocols. That leaves a gray area regarding how well each destination will seamlessly implement the new rules and regulations.
It’s Up to the Airport
Unfortunate for some travelers, the DHS could punish some airports that don’t properly instate suggested safety precautions. Such failure to comply will result in a re-ban of handheld and larger electronic devices. This goes for airports outside of the United States, for all of those within the country have properly followed orders. For example, a person taking a flight from NYC to Arizona to stay at the Scottsdale Marriott will have no issues.
It’s estimated that nearly 300 airports in over 100 countries are influenced by the regulations. This means potentially $1.1 billion will be lost in productivity due to lost time and increased scrutiny. 325,000 passengers on 2,100 flights per day would be inconvenienced. Some argue that terrorists and other threats to security will find other ways to get bombs and explosives on a plane, so punishing the majority isn’t a grand solution.
Only time will tell if the new implementations will cause a nuisance versus making people feel safer. It seems as if the foreign airports readily accept the new guidelines but are speculative about how it will influence the flow of travel.