Ever since the US government instituted a “laptop ban” for international flights arriving in the US, it’s been a bit hard to know what to expect when traveling. Even when the laptop ban was trimmed, we were assured there were more regulations coming. It just wasn’t clear exactly what those would be.
With new procedures in place starting tomorrow, we still don’t really have a clear answer. We do know that there will be new procedures. According to Reuters:
Airlines contacted by Reuters said the new measures could include short security interviews with passengers at check-in or the boarding gate, sparking concerns over flight delays and extended processing time.
Emphasis mine on could. I understand the need for some element of randomness in security procedures. I really do. But, it sounds like each airline can handle things in their own way, as long as it meets some standard the general public isn’t aware of.
Two of the airlines Reuters spoke to had different answers as to enhanced security measures:
Lufthansa Group said on Tuesday the measures would be in place by Thursday and travelers could face short interviews at check-in or at the gate.
Singapore Airlines Ltd said the security checks could include inspections of personal electronic devices as well as security questioning during check-in and boarding.
What does that actually mean? To be clear, I’m not screaming about civil liberties when it comes to getting on a plane. I know plenty of folks who are, and I do understand where some of them are coming from. But, I believe flying on an airline is a privilege, not a right.
That being said, I think the public has a right to know what they will be subjected to. Otherwise, there’s too much uncertainty that folks of specific skin colors are being subjected to screening that others might not be. Does randomness make it tougher for a terrorist to sneak through security? In a vacuum, sure. But, given the exhaustive list of security snafus we hear about on a daily basis, we’re definitely not in a vacuum.
If a laptop ban really was supposed to keep us safe, how does a personal interview take the place of that? If I answer the questions really well, then you won’t search my laptop?
I recently flew on Qatar Airways through their hub in Qatar. When I got to my gate, I was asked to step into a different queue to have my laptop checked out. It was swabbed and placed in a tamper-proof bag.
After the laptop was bagged, I was directed to proceed through the regular gate security all other passengers were subject to. My laptop went through the x-ray machine and I was free to go. Could I open up the tamper-proof bag? Sure, no problem. I had to wonder what the significance of the bag was. This was after the laptop ban had been lifted.
The Final Two Pennies
I’m usually nowhere near the most critical of airport security as my fellow travel bloggers. But, this is just plain stupid. I planned for this post to be a bit more on the informative standpoint, but there’s no actual information.
Security tomorrow on a flight to the US will be tougher than it was yesterday. Maybe. Or, it could be easier. You’ve been warned.
The post Expect New Security Procedures For International Flights To The US. Just Don’t Expect To Know What They Are was published first in Pizza in Motion