FAQ: What US-bound travellers need to know about the enhanced security measures (UPDATED: 27 Oct 2017)

USA update
Travel News 27 Oct 2017

In July of this year the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) along with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced the gradual introduction of increased security measures for people travelling to the US.

The new protocols include additional screening of passengers and electronic devices as well as the introduction of heightened security standards for airlines and airports.

What countries are included in the enhanced security measures?

More than 100 countries and 280 airports that operate direct services into the United States.

What airlines are affected?

Any airline that flies into the United States is required to comply.

Effective 26 October, five airlines have introduced additional security on their US flights in the form of either a brief ‘interview’ with boarding passengers or an additional departure card requirement. These airlines are:

  • Air France (AF)
  • Cathay Pacific (CX)
  • Egypt Air (MS)
  • Emirates (EK)
  • Lufthansa (LH)

What are the new measures travellers can expect?

  • Enhancing overall passenger screening, including security ‘interviews’;
  • Conducting heightened screening of personal electronic devices;
  • Increasing security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas; and
  • Deploying advanced technology, expanding canine screening, and establishing additional pre-clearance locations.

Does this mean that other countries will be subject to an electronics ban?

No. The recent ban on the carriage of personal electronics in the cabin on aircraft travelling to the United States has changed.

A number of airlines were recently restricted on the carriage of personal electronics however all flights operated by Etihad (EY), Emirates (EK), Qatar (QR) and Turkish Airlines to the US are now exempt.

Only the following airline services to the USA are currently affected by the personal electronics ban:

  • Amman, Jordan (AMM)
  • Cairo, Egypt (CAI)
  • Casablanca, Morocco (CAS)
  • Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (JED)
  • Kuwait City, Kuwait (KWI)
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (RUH)

Please also see the FAQ on the personal electronics ban.

How will these measures affect people travelling to the USA now?

At this time, we strongly recommend that any customers travelling to the United States adhere to the following:

  • They should arrive at the airport at least three hours prior to their flight. This will ensure that they have time to clear security particularly in the event of any delays.
  • Customers should travel with a print out of their ESTA or (where applicable) their visa documentation and know the address of their hotel or where they are staying on arrival.
  • They should be aware of any restrictions regarding the carriage of electronic items (as outlined in the electronics FAQ).
  • Customers who intend to carry personal electronics on board the aircraft should ensure that they are able to power up their devices if required at the security check.
  • Some items may be required to be removed from their protective cases or outer packaging.

What are my options if I don’t want my electronics screened or I can’t power them up?

Some airlines may recommend that you pack your personal electronics (powered off) in your check-in luggage.

This may be an option but be aware that these items may not be covered by travel insurance when packed in check-in luggage. Please check with your insurance provider.