Confusion Surrounds New Travel Security Measures
With airline passengers traveling to the U.S. facing a slew of heightened security measures across Europe, reports from Europe indicate that some airports do not appear to be following the rules or are confused by them. Additionally, the travel industry has come out in support of the regulations, but is asking for legislation that adds new fees on foreign travelers with money going towards promoting international tourism.
The U.S. is requesting increased screening of passengers from 14 countries — measures that were supposed to be implemented Monday. According to a Associated Press report however, there were few visible changes on the ground in Europe, which has thousands of passengers on hundreds of daily flights to the U.S.
The AP reported that Department of Transportation officials in Britain, a major international transport hub, were still trying to decipher the practical implications of the new rules.
U.S. authorities told the AP that as of Monday, anyone traveling from or through nations regarded as state sponsors of terrorism - as well as "other countries of interest" - will be required to go through enhanced screening. The Transportation Security Administration said those techniques would include full-body pat-downs, carryon bag searches, full-body scanning and explosive detection technology.
The U.S. State Department lists Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism. The other countries whose passengers will face enhanced screening include Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen.
In Switzerland, the AP reported that authorities were studying the new U.S. security measures, but so far the old controls were still in place, according to Jean-Claude Donzel, spokesman for Swiss International Air Lines.
And a security official in Spain, who spoke to the AP on condition on anonymity, said U.S.-bound passengers from countries on the new watch list were not being singled out for body frisks.
In South Korea, an official at Seoul's Incheon International Airport, Lee Ji-hye, told the AP that U.S.-bound passengers are now required to go through additional security before boarding their flights. Additionally, the AP reported that security officials there also compile lists of "suspicious" passengers to monitor based on their nationalities, travel patterns and ticket purchases.
Australian Transport Ministry spokeswoman Moksha Watts said all passengers flying to the U.S. would continue to be patted down and have all their cabin luggage searched, the AP reported.