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New Security Policies from the TSA

Posted by JenW On December - 30 - 2009

In light of the recent near-disaster of Northwest Airlines flight 253, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented new security measures for safer air travel. What are these changes and how will they affect travelers?

Most notably, security for International air travel will be affected the most, especially for flights that will arrive in the United States. Travelers can expect to be subjected to more vigorous screenings before boarding a plane. These increased gate screenings may include searching your personal belongings or pat downs, inspections by bomb-sniffing dogs, and an increase in the presence of airport police and TSA agents. International travelers will want to arrive at the airport with plenty of time to allow for the extra time these screenings will take at security check points.

In-flight requirements were immediately put in place for added safety measures, but have since been relaxed, causing some confusion for travelers. These included restrictions that were implemented one hour prior to landing, such as having passengers stow any personal items (including blankets and pillows) and remaining seated until the plane landed. The TSA has lifted these restrictions, however the agency has stated that it will leave the enforcing of these suggested restrictions up to the flight crew.

As mentioned, the strictest guidelines were implemented mostly for in-bound international flights. Domestic flights within the United States will also see some security reinforcements as a result of this latest terror threat. If you are traveling domestically, give yourself some more time to check in just to be on the safe side. A helpful tip for getting through security check points a little smoother-carefully pack any carry-on bags to make it easier to be searched by just taking with you the essentials for travel.

Air travelers are also being asked to be more aware of those around them and report any suspicious behavior to the police, a TSA agent or the flight crew. Please note that this raised level of awareness will apply to everyone and you want to make sure that you follow all directions given to you. I realize we frequent air travelers have seen airline safety demonstrations and could recite them verbatim, however it is important to pay close attention to any instructions given both before and during the course of your flight.

The TSA has not expressed how long these added security measures would be in place, but they have stated that these new restrictions will be continuously reviewed in order to ensure the highest levels of passenger security.

For up-to-date travel restrictions and new policies, please visit the TSA’s website.

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