What do the new airport security measures involve if you’re travelling to the US soon?

If your timeshare resort happens to be in a US destination such as Florida or California, and you’re jetting off from the UK soon, you might want to get to the airport 30-60 minutes earlier due to the new tightened-up security measures now in place.

Following reports of the possibility of new terrorist threats, the US has introduced stronger security controls which affect passengers flying to America from British airports.

The extra security searches mean passengers will have to switch on their mobiles or electronic devices when passing through security, to “prove” that their devices are not potentially explosive.

Transport officials added that equipment that does not power up (e.g. with dead batteries) would not be allowed on board.

Passengers going through London’s Heathrow Airport en route to US destinations have already reported increased security checks, from shoe checks to full body scans.

Analysts are saying these changes appear to be in response to intelligence that Islamic militants in Syria and Yemen are developing bombs that could evade airport security.

Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy smartphones have been singled out as two of the devices that will be scrutinised most, as well as tablets and laptops.

The UK, France and Germany have all said they would ensure their airports comply with these stricter US demands.

Do I need to arrive earlier than usual for my flight?

Some airports are reporting longer queues, and Heathrow is currently advising passengers to allow 3 hours for long-haul flights, 2 hours for European routes and 90 minutes for UK/domestic flights.

If I’m travelling to a non-US destination, will I be affected?

The Department for Transport has not officially confirmed which destinations  the new rules apply to, but they are widely reported to be targeted at those visiting the US. 

Will there be further changes?

More security checks could be implemented later and meanwhile, passengers travelling to the US should prepare for extra screening and the possibility of being searched both while they’re passing through the gate as well as during security hall checks.

If you can, place non-valuable electronic items in checked baggage.

Nick Clegg has said the new security measures could be a permanent feature but it remains possible they could be relaxed again in future.

Prime Minister David Cameron added: “We take these decisions looking at the evidence in front of us and working with our partners.

“This is something we’ve discussed with the Americans and what we have done is put in place some extra precautions and extra checks.

“The safety of the travelling public must come first. We mustn’t take any risks with that. I hope this won’t lead to unnecessary delays but it’s very important that we always put safety first.”

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