Passengers wishing to enter the USA are now facing long delays at UK airports as they undergo tougher security checks, after the events of Dec 25, when passengers and crew on a Delta flight bound for Detroit over-powered a suspected bomber who tried to ignite explosives on board the aircraft.
But with thorough preparation and total compliance, passengers can experience an easy journey with minimal disruptions.
Increased Security Measures for U.S. Passengers
As the United States Department of Transport tightens security measures for all passengers flying from other countries into the USA, below are a few tips to help passengers get through security checks quicker and with less bother.
Observe current UK regulations regarding what can be included in hand luggage.
- Put all make-up items such as lipstick, lip gloss, mascara and lip balm in a clear plastic bag before getting to the security search point.
- Avoid carrying body lotions and shampoos in hand luggage.
- Only take some hand cream if needed and this must be in a container that is less than 100ml, as per current UK restrictions.
- Only carry perfumes, deodorants and body sprays (in 100ml bottles) if necessary. If they will not be needed, put it in the checked luggage. This will help to avoid having to wait in queues while the security agents test the liquids.
Checked Bags and Hand Luggage Restrictions
One of the restrictions resulting from the catastrophe is the reduction of hand baggage allowance to one piece per person for all passengers whose journey begins in London, as well as those who are transferring through London Heathrow, London Gatwick or London City airports.
British Airways, for example, is allowing their passengers to check in an extra bag (that could have been carried as hand luggage) free of charge as long as it conforms to the current size restrictions of 22ins x 18ins x 10ins. Passengers can help to minimise delays to their journeys by making sure that they:
- Arrive at the airport in plenty of time, three to four hours before departure.
- Allow extra time to queue at security checkpoints.
- Check in all bags if necessary and only carry what is needed as hand luggage – in one bag.
Boarding the Flight at the Gate
Normally, all flights to the USA are subject to a degree of secondary security checks at the gate. However, due to the latest air incident, British Airways have increased the level of secondary security checks for passengers and their hand baggage to 100 per cent for all US-bound flights.
Security agents are required conducting as thorough search of all the passengers’ belongings so to speed things through at the gate, passengers should:
- Pack a small hand luggage that can easily be searched in no time.
- Only take necessary items such as medication, creams, special drinks, baby food and a few other things that will be needed during the flight.
- Get to the boarding gate early and be prepared to be searched.
- Not carry or wear too many layers of clothing as a body search may be conducted during the security checks.
As an additional on-board security measure, passengers are being asked to remain in their assigned seats for the last hour before arriving into the USA.
Passengers travelling from the UK to other destinations are not affected by extra security restrictions. However, the standard hand baggage allowance for passengers travelling through all UK airports still applies. Passengers starting their journey in America are also not being affected by the revised security arrangements in the UK.