In late June we first learned about new security measures being introduced for US-bound international flights. With the increased risk of terrorism to aviation, the government wants to do more to prevent it (well, other than actually have a professional airport security force in the US, as the TSA continue to miss 95% of weapons in tests).
Not surprisingly, when these new security measures were announced, the Department of Homeland Security wasn’t especially transparent in sharing what this would entail, though they said that it could include some of the following:
- Enhancing overall passenger screening;
- Conducting heightened screening of personal electronic devices;
- Increasing security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas; and
- Deploying advanced technology, expanding canine screening, and establishing additional preclearance locations.
While we haven’t known exactly what many of the changes are, we have gotten some notice about the dates as of which many of these policies are being implemented. For example, as of July, the US instituted additional security measures for flights from Canada and Mexico.
Well, it looks like we can soon expect additional security screening on flights from Asia to the US. While I’m not sure how widely applicable this is, The Korea Times reports that airlines are advising US-bound passengers to arrive at Incheon Airport at least 4-5 hours before departure starting October 26, 2017. That’s probably way overdone, but the idea is that something new is being implemented as of then.
Here’s what the story suggests is changing:
The security interview is the second phase of TSA measures, scheduled to be implemented from Oct. 26. Passengers going to the U.S. will be asked questions at the airlines’ ticket desks such as why they are visiting the U.S. , how long will they stay there, and where they will stay.
Anyone deemed suspicious during the interview will have to go through more thorough checking before they will be allowed to board. All passengers will also have their belongings reexamined before boarding.
The measure will first apply to American carriers such as Delta Air Lines and American Airlines as well as local low-cost carriers flying to the U.S. territories of Guam and Saipan. They are among the most popular tourist destinations for Koreans.
So it looks like we’ll now see security interviews when departing Asia, much like we see when departing out of certain European airports. I can appreciate the concept of security interviews on departure, as it’s something that Israel has done incredibly effectively. However, I don’t get the same sense of skill and professionalism when being interviewed on a US-bound flight. That’s not because of the individuals doing it, but because of their lack of training.
For those departing Incheon Airport, apparently this additional questioning won’t initially apply on Asiana and Korean Air, as they’ve requested a deadline extension because they’re relocating terminals.
So while this is only being reported out of Korea as of now, I see no reason Korea would be singled out, and this wouldn’t apply to other gateways in Asia as well. I guess we’ll see next week.