How new security measures will affect your next U.S.-bound flight
Published Wednesday, July 19, 2017 5:41PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 20, 2017 7:15AM EDT
A series of tightened security measures on air travel to the U.S. could translate to longer wait times at Canadian airports and difficulties with electronics -- especially if they aren’t fully charged.
The travel advisory recommends:
- If your flight is scheduled before 10 a.m., you’re asked to arrive at the airport at least three hours early;
- If your flight is after 10 a.m., you’re asked to arrive at the airport at least two hours early;
- Electronics should be fully charged for possible inspection;
- Any device larger than a smartphone should be removed from its protective case or covering for possible inspection;
- WestJet advises passengers to arrive at their departure gate at least 45 minutes early.
The changes took effect Wednesday and immediately affect all Canadian airports.
“It is possible that it will take longer as a result of these measures, so passengers should be prepared,” Mathieu Larocque, spokesman for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), told CTV News Channel on Wednesday.
Similar enhanced screening measures are being implemented for all U.S.-bound flights in 105 countries around the world, affecting an estimated 325,000 passengers each day.
The new policy comes after the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security warned in June that due to a “spider web” of threats, enhanced security measures would but put in place.
Those proposed changes included heightened security around aircraft and in passenger areas, increased canine screening and the use of advanced technology.
CATSA: No slow-down on day one
Aviation lawyer and pilot Ehsan Monfared praised the security steps as “proactive” and suggested that the U.S. government held back on stricter measures.
“This is designed to prevent them from putting a carte blanche prohibition on large electronics and instead screening them as they’re going through,” Monfared told CTV News Channel on Wednesday.
Travellers are already accustomed to swabbing technology at airports that can detect trace amounts of explosives on baggage or a person’s hands. Monfared said security officials could use the same technology on a computer or tablet, if someone is randomly selected for screening.
“Not only will they perform that swabbing method on a randomized sample, but then they will also be testing the computer, so you’ll be required to turn on your machines and show that it is a functioning laptop or tablet,” he said.
“The key here is you don’t want to go to the airport with a laptop not functioning.”
The complete details of the revamped security policy have not been made public, and it’s unclear what intelligence information led U.S. officials to introduce the changes.
CATSA said that the new measures didn’t appear to make a big difference in wait times on the first day of implementation.
“At Toronto Pearson, for example, we didn’t notice any excessive wait times,” Larocque said. “It was normal operations for a busy summer day.”
With files from CTV’s Janice Golding