We’ve been waiting for the electronics ban to expand beyond flights coming to the U.S. from the Middle East and parts of Africa, but on Wednesday the U.S. Department of Homeland Security made it sound like some new security procedures are all we should expect — at least, for the moment.
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly spoke about expanded security measures affecting 280 airports in 105 countries. As part of prepared remarks for Kelly’s speech Wednesday at the Center for New American Security Conference in D.C., he said, “It is time to raise the global baseline of aviation security.”
What does that mean for travelers? You can still bring your laptop, e-reader, and tablet on board, though anything bigger than a smartphone is still banned for those coming from eight countries in the Middle East and Africa. Also, be prepared for more security and screening.
Kelly said these steps include “enhanced screening of electronic devices, more thorough passenger vetting, and new measures designed to mitigate the potential threat of insider attacks.”
A DHS fact-sheet said the department would be “deploying advanced technology” and adding more canine screenings. Kelly talked about “preclearance locations,” which means international travelers will go through customs security screenings before boarding flights into the U.S.
A timeline for implementation is pretty vague: The website says it will happen “over the course of the next several weeks and months.”
Kelly also spoke about other countries following suit. “Unless we all raise our security standards, terrorists—who see commercial aviation as the greatest takedown—will find and attack the weakest link,” he said at the conference.
The new security is expected to affect 325,000 passengers a day. That’s a lot of people preemptively thankful they won’t have to check their laptop and find creative workarounds.