New security measures on flights to the United States are set to roll out today.
The new measures are part of an agreement to end this past summer’s ban on laptops and other large electronic devices in airplane cabins. After the end of the ban, airlines had 120 days to implement new security measures designed to mitigate the threat of terrorists smuggling explosives aboard concealed inside large electronic devices, as well as other emerging threats. That period ended today.
Time Magazine reports that the new measures include pre-screening interviews for passengers, as well as expanded checks on electronics.
According to News.com.au, the new interviews could take various forms, ranging from being questioned by an airline employee to filling out a written form. Air France, Cathay Pacific, EgyptAir, Emirates and Lufthansa all said they would start implementing the new interviews Thursday, while Royal Jordanian said it had received permission from U.S. authorities to delay implementing the new measures until January.
The Independent reports that the pre-screening interviews could take place before check-in for passengers with checked luggage, or at the departure gate for travelers who are flying with hand luggage only.
"Security adjustments rooted in legitimate concerns are a fact of life for travelers,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs Jonathan Grella in a written release. “It’s essential that changes be clearly communicated, and also continually reassessed to ensure that they remain relevant—and that disruption to legitimate travel is kept to a minimum.
"The American travel community continues to feel that both security and economic objectives could benefit from hearing that these policy moves are tailored to specific vulnerabilities. The world should hear that they are not intended to discourage travel generally, and that legitimate business and leisure travelers are as welcome as ever in the United States," Grella said.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reportedly proposed another, separate laptop ban earlier this week, this time applying to large electronics in checked luggage. That ban, which is being discussed at this week’s meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, is designed to combat the risk of fire posed by the lithium-ion batteries that power large electronic devices.