Think you know what it takes to make airport security checkpoints less hellish? The Transportation Security Administration has put a call out for ideas on Innocentive, asking for ways to create a more efficient screening process that accommodates all levels of travelers—standard, premier, and TSA Pre✓™—employees, flight crews, and passengers in wheelchairs.
Big news for business travelers: For the first time since being introduced in 1997, the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC)—which provides pre-clearance and expedited immigration processing at airports and seaports in every APEC country—is accepting applications for U.S. citizens.
As if airfare wasn’t expensive enough already, the TSA has just announced an increase in the federal Sept. 11 security fee—its first since the administration was founded in 2002. Effective on tickets purchased on or after July 21, the new fees are more than double the current ones.
Traveling abroad? Be sure to keep your gadgets fully charged. A new mandate by the Transportation Security Administration is asking airport security to pay special attention to travelers’ electronics, following reports of terrorist threats involving explosives concealed in phone look-alikes. While Apple and Samsung phones were specifically called out on the TSA’s memo, any electronics that can hold a charge—laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.—are being screened. Those that don’t turn on will be confiscated, and their owners will be subject to further investigation.
Yesterday, Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 carried an extra passenger in the plane’s wheel well. But it wasn’t until the flight landed in Maui that the 16-year-old boy was discovered relatively unharmed. Aviation experts are dumbfounded as to how he could have survived.
A: Good news: the TSA’s expedited security program has expanded to include international flights departing from the U.S. on eight of the agency’s partner airlines. You can also use TSA PreCheck lanes if you’re connecting to a domestic flight after arriving in the States. Bear in mind, if you booked a ticket through a TSA partner airline but your flight is actually operated by a foreign alliance carrier, you are not eligible for PreCheck. The operating carrier must submit the names of its PreCheck-eligible passengers to the TSA prior to the flight, and at this point the agency does not have any international partners.
By The Numbers
30: The average number of firearms confiscated each week in 2012 via TSA carry-on searches; most were claimed to have been packed unwittingly.
According to an NBC News report, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning to airlines about a possible new threat of shoe bombs—specifically on U.S.-bound overseas flights. The warning mentioned nonstop flights from Johannesburg, Paris, London, and Cairo. Though it did not come with any directives to the airlines, passengers should expect heightened security, including additional pat-downs and full-body screenings.
Homeland Security released the following statement—the same one they used after the temporary ban earlier this month on carry-on gels, liquids, powders, and aerosols on flights from the U.S. to Russia.
“Out of an abundance of caution, DHS regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners about relevant threat information as we work to meet our mission of keeping the traveling public safe. These types of regular communications are part of that important priority. Our security apparatus includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by the latest intelligence and as always DHS continue to adjust security measures to fit an ever evolving threat environment.”
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
On the heels of a long-awaited decision to loosen liquid restrictions, which went into effect only one week ago, new constrictions are already in place.
Today, the Department of Homeland Security directed that no liquids, gels, aerosols, or powders of any kind be permitted on nonstop flights between the United States and the Russian Federation. Delta is the only domestic carrier to which this applies, although international lines such as Russia’s Aeroflot and TransAero are also affected.
Early last month, Russia banned all liquids from carry-on luggage on all flights entering its two international Moscow airports. The stringent restriction is just a small part of the security operation surrounding the 2014 Winter Games, and was announced just weeks before the EU and the US loosened their liquid policies.
Last month, the TSA debuted its first Precheck enrollment center at the Indianapolis Airport—with 300 more to open by spring—making an expedited security process more accessible than ever. Meanwhile, Canada’s Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International airport is testing another strategy to alleviate waits: a free, timed reservation system called SecurXpress. Here’s how it works: Enter your flight number and phone number on the airport website. Then, you’ll receive a text message, which acts as a ticket, with a reserved time for a specific SecurXpress checkpoint. Think of it like Disney’s FastPass. One text message is good for up to five people traveling together, and it’s up to you to get there on time. Unfortunately, the system only works on domestic and some international flights within Canada—but if it’s successful, maybe we’ll see it cross the border one day soon.
Brooke Porter is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Photo Courtesy of Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
If you fly three or four times a year and don’t have Global Entry, you’re crazy.
I know that’s a bold statement—and I have no way of actually judging your mental capacities—but give me a moment to explain why it’s an essential tool for any traveler, even those staying within the country.
Global Entry is a Customs and Border Protection program that, after a background check, allows travelers to skip lines at immigration and customs, using a kiosk to quickly reenter the country. The online application process takes a bit of time, and a subsequent in-person interview is required.
Once complete, though, you’ll not only laugh at long immigration lines but also race through airport security. That’s because the TSA considers Global Entry members “trusted travelers” and automatically includes them in the affiliated PreCheck program. And entry into that program is priceless.