The Department of Homeland Security is about to roll out new, heightened security measures that will impact the 2,000 flights and 325,000 travelers who arrive in the USA from foreign countries every day.
A number of airlines affected by the new rules have tried to reassure passengers the new system won't cause delays.
Budget airline Norwegian, which operates transatlantic flights from Edinburgh, advised customers to arrive at airports earlier than normal.
Global airlines flying from the Middle East to the United States have been asked by American security officials that of Thursday, pre-screening interviews be added to security procedures on flights from certain Arab airports to the United States.
"TSA will continue to work closely with our aviation partners and verify that all security enhancements are accurately implemented", TSA spokeswoman Lucy Martinez said in a statement Wednesday. Previously, laptops had been banned in the cabin on flights originating in eight counties in the Middle East and North Africa. "These new measures will impact all flights from airports that serve as last points of departure locations to the United States". Airlines had until late July to expand explosive trace detection testing.
Each airline is handling the regulations differently, some requiring earlier arrivals at the airport, others not.
The checks are expected to affect 325,000 passengers a day at about 280 airports, said the US Department of Homeland Security. "It's just inconvenient for the passengers", Korean Air Lines President and Chief Operating Officer Walter Cho told Reuters in Taipei.
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Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said it would suspend in-town check-in and self bag-drop services for passengers booked on direct flights to the United States. We have a pre-boarding security check for passengers on USA flights.
Airlines for America, a USA trade group, said the changes "are complex security measures" but praised US officials for giving airlines flexibility in meeting the new rules.
The US government announced that travellers on all inbound global flights could be questioned by airline staff before being allowed to board aircraft. Some say they will conduct screening interviews at check-in counters; provide questionnaires for all US-bound passengers and conduct detailed inspection of personal electronic devices. "Unilateral measures announced without any prior consultation..."
Airlines were however consulted after the March changes.
Virgin Atlantic has said the new rules won't disrupt customers.
"The risk is other countries make similar demands", AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman said. "We were already doing so by strict checking of passport and visas at check-in counters and also asking (some) passengers about the objective of their visit and baggage content". Some of those new requirements take effect this week as well.