Last week we were passing through a major U.S. airport after an extremely long flight. Of course, we were looking ahead to a three-hour layover followed by a flight to the West Coast. Freezing rain had been predicted for later in the evening. What a day.
Well, it got even worse when we entered the security queue and found ourselves behind a group that had apparently never heard of security restrictions, how to pack luggage with security checks in mind, or acceptable behavior when in a security line. They slowed everyone down and didn’t make any friends in the process.
We thought about that a bit and decided that maybe we should write an article on how pass through security with the minimum of hassles. You can find it by following this link to article at our website ThereArePlaces.
Our advice comes from the Transportation Security Administration and if they don’t knowthe best way to speed through a security checkpoint, no one does.
The goverment of the United Kingdom has raised the country’s Terror Threat Classifcation from Substantial to Severe. The Severe ranking indicates that an attack is highly likely. The reason for the increase in classiciation is that a government meeting on Yemen and Afghanistan is being held in London next week. Although there is not intelligence that an attack is being planned, the government is being cautious and indicating that an attack is likely. See this article in the Gulf Times for more information.
Air France has been reported by CNN to charge an additional fee for passengers who need to occupy two seats to travel comfortably. The Air France website has more detail about seating for passengers with a high body mass.
It appears that Air France, starting February 1, 2010, will require those passengers with a high body mass the option to choose an extra seat with 25% discount in their Voyageur cabin. The airline indicated that it would completely reimburse the fare for the extra seat if the flight departed with unoccupied seats. Although the wording of the Air France website appears somewhat equivocal and in one place describes the “…option to choose an extra seat”, the “hammer” can be found at the end of the page, where it is stated “In the interests of safety, if the flight is full and you have not reserved and additional seat, you may not be allowed to board if your build does not permit you to sit comfortably in a single seat.”
Just so you know, United Airlines appears to have a similar policy.
The BBC reported today that freezing weather in Europe will continue for two weeks. The BBC also reported on the chaos that the weather is causing in Airports across Europe. The weather in Europe has been very cold this year due to the prevailing winds changing direction to come from the North and Siberia rather than the usual flow from west to east. In the UK this is being called the worst winter in 15 years and it appears that natural gas supplies are very low, so if you are planning a trip be sure to bring heavy clothing.
On January 3, 2010 the TSA announced that it had issued new security directives to all United States and International air carriers with inbound flights to the United States, effective January 4, 2010.
The TSA statement continued “The new directive includes long-term, sustainable security measures developed in consultation with law enforcement officials and our domestic and international partners.
Because effective aviation security must begin beyond our borders, and as a result of extraordinary cooperation from our global aviation partners, TSA is mandating that every individual flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening. The directive also increases the use of enhanced screening technologies and mandates threat-based and random screening for passengers on U.S. bound international flights.”
Although the TSA announcement did not specify particular actions, we understand that passengers arriving from Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq and Cuba will require pat-down body searches and have carry-on baggage hand-searched.