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TSA to Swab Airline Passengers' Hands

CNN (Washington) |   To the list of instructions you hear at airport checkpoints, add this: "Put your palms forward, please."

The Transportation Security Administration soon will begin randomly swabbing passengers' hands at checkpoints and airport gates to test them for traces of explosives.

Previously, screeners swabbed some carry-on luggage and other objects as they searched for the needle in the security haystack—components of terrorist bombs in an endless stream of luggage.

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Airport Body Scanners Raise Radiation Exposure, Committee Says

Bloomberg News |   Air passengers should be made aware of the health risks of airport body screenings and governments must explain any decision to expose the public to higher levels of cancer-causing radiation, an inter-agency report said.

Pregnant women and children should not be subject to scanning, even though the radiation dose from body scanners is “extremely small,” said the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety report, which is restricted to the agencies concerned and not meant for public circulation. The group includes the European Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency, Nuclear Energy Agency and the World Health Organization.



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Finally, TSA-Friendly Beauty Products!

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OK, OK, we're a bit giddy over 3floz.com the genius new high-end beauty site (it launched today)—and for good reason. Founded by friends, co-workers, and longtime travel companions, Kate and Alexi (below), it only sells products that are TSA acceptable (small enough to carry-on in those transparent little plastic baggies we frequent travelers hold so dear).

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UK Barring Air Travelers Who Refuse Full Body Scans

Daily Mail |  Air passengers who refuse to submit to controversial full body scans will be barred from boarding their flights.
The technology—which has been strongly condemned by civil liberties campaigners—began operating at Heathrow and Manchester airports yesterday. Birmingham will follow suit later this month before the anti-terror devices are rolled out nationally....
Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said: 'In the immediate future, only a small proportion of airline passengers will be selected for scanning.

'If a passenger is selected for scanning and declines, they will not be permitted to fly.'


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Security Gripe? There’s an App for That

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After a flurry of security breaches and a healthy public outcry over the holidays, travelers with iPhones can give the Transportation Security Administration a piece of their minds. The tech company On the Spot Systems, Inc. announced a new iPhone application that allows flyers to rate airport security screening via a TSA survey.

Originally created to capture reviews for restaurants, hotels, and services,  Survey on the Spot’s first phone application rolled out in November 2009. Now is shaping up to be the perfect time for the feedback interface to include airport security in its fold.

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Obama Orders Security Upgrade

USA Today |  WASHINGTON — President Obama, declaring that the "buck stops with me" when it comes to protecting the nation from terrorists, ordered stepped up aviation security and released a declassified report on intelligence failures behind the near-catastrophic Christmas Day attack.

Under the directives issued Thursday, airline passengers will face more pat-downs and many will be put through body-scanning machines in coming months while counterterrorism officials revamp the government's terrorist watch lists and establish clearer lines of accountability to follow intelligence leads about plots.

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Airports Intensify Screening of Airline Passengers Heading to U.S.

The Globe and Mail |  Airline passengers heading to the United States met increased security screening Monday in airports around the world following U.S. requests for stricter checks after a Nigerian man allegedly tried to ignite explosives on a flight to Detroit.

Pakistan's national airline said it was intensifying security checks for U.S.-bound passengers, even though there are no direct flights to the States from Pakistan. Screening was also stepped up for those flying to the U.S. from other parts of Asia and the Middle East.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said people flying into the United States from countries such as Nigeria, Yemen, Pakistan, Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria are to face the extra screening, which is likely to annoy passengers already facing intrusive security procedures.

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Merry Christmas from the TSA

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Is it just me, or do the new airline security regulations make no sense?

So let’s get this straight. The shoe bomber led to the slip-off-your-shoes rule. Now the leg bomber has brought us this stay-in-your-seat-with-an-empty-lap-for-the-last-hour-of-flight regulation.

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New Restrictions Quickly Added for Air Passengers

New York Times | In the wake of the terrorism attempt Friday on a Northwest Airlines flight, federal officials on Saturday imposed new restrictions on travelers that could lengthen lines at airports and limit the ability of international passengers to move about an airplane.

The government was vague about the steps it was taking, saying that it wanted the security experience to be "unpredictable" and that passengers would not find the same measures at every airport—a prospect that may upset airlines and travelers alike.

But several airlines released detailed information about the restrictions, saying that passengers on international flights coming to the United States will apparently have to remain in their seats for the last hour of a flight without any personal items on their laps. It was not clear how often the rule would affect domestic flights.

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Massive TSA Security Breach

ABC News | In a massive security breach, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inadvertently posted online its airport screening procedures manual, including some of the most closely guarded secrets regarding special rules for diplomats and CIA and law enforcement officers.

The most sensitive parts of the 93-page Standard Operating Procedures manual were apparently redacted in a way that computer savvy individuals easily overcame.

The document shows sample CIA, Congressional and law enforcement credentials which experts say would make it easy for terrorists to duplicate.

The improperly redacted areas indicate that only 20 percent of checked bags are to be hand searched for explosives and reveal in detail the limitations of x-ray screening machines.

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