Flying to the U.S. From a Foreign Country? You Might Be Interviewed Before You Board the Plane

October 25, 2017, 2:15 PM UTC

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 U.S. from foreign countries every day.

The stepped-up security rules include stricter pre-flight passenger screening in the form of short security interviews, as well as more rigorous checks on electronic devices — like phones, tablets, and laptops. It could also mean more searches by drug-sniffing dogs, in the future.

The measures will be rolled out for 180 airlines operating out of 280 airports in 105 countries.

Foreign airlines are worried passenger interviews will slow down the security and boarding process. It could mean delays and headaches for travelers and airline companies.

“We are asking customers to show up at the airport early … It’s just inconvenient for the passengers,” Korean Air Lines President and Chief Operating Officer Walter Cho told Reuters in Taipei.

Lufthansa’s Swiss airline has asked passengers to check in at least 90 minutes before their flights in anticipation of the new regulations.

The DHS first unveiled the new security requirements at the end of June in an effort to avoid the continuation or expansion President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on laptops in airplane cabins. This Trump administration ban was lifted in July, but officials warned that it could be reinstated if airlines failed to increase security within a 120-day window which ends Thursday.

This comes after a new requirement from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in July that requires U.S. domestic travelers to remove all electronic items larger than a mobile phone, rather than just laptops as the previous rules required.