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Flying in a world shaken by terror

September 14, 2001—U.S. airports, slowly reopening after the hijacking of four civilian commercial aircrafts on September 11, have implemented extremely tight security. Each airline has also tightened its policies on what travelers may take on board. Policies are bound to be adjusted on an ongoing basis; contact your airline or check its Web site for the most updated information prior to your flight.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta has announced a series of heightened security measures, including a ban on curbside luggage check-in and off-airport passenger check-in.

There have been news media stories warning travelers that some airlines have banned carry-on luggage. While none of the major airlines’ Web sites indicate this, it is your responsibility to check with both your airline and departing airport for the latest information.

The following are some security measures implemented by the airlines.

Airlines advise you to plan to arrive at least two hours prior to flight time. Some media stories suggest three hours.

Airports have increased passenger and baggage security screenings at all airports. Expect the types of screenings seen at Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. For example, you may be asked to open all of your bags for inspection. Try to pack your carry-on in an organized manner so you know where everything is, and all items are easily visible.

Revised luggage check-in procedures:

  • You may only check in luggage in the airport lobby.
  • Check-in at the curbside, city ticket office or other off-airport locations are not be permitted.
  • Luggage may be checked at the airport no more than four hours prior to flight time.

No knives of any size, or made from any material, are permitted on flights. Airport security is even cracking down on razors, scissors and nail clippers. Consider packing into smaller sections using transparent plastic zippered bags for easy inspection.

Heightened vigilance for unattended bags. Do not leave your bags alone at any time. Use a luggage tag on the outside of your bags, and leave identifying information on the inside as well.

Limited access to secure airport areas. Only those passengers holding an electronic-ticket receipt, travel agency itinerary, boarding document or paper ticket will be allowed past the security checkpoint. Passengers holding electronic tickets without receipts must check in at ticket counters in the airport lobby.

Increased screening. Searches of aircraft cargo, passenger compartments and equipment are likely to occur. This may delay your flight.

An increase in the number of uniformed law enforcement and military personnel in the airport areas.

You may be asked to turn on all of your electric and electronic items. Eliminate as many electric items as possible, such as hair dryers and shavers. Make sure all of your electronic items, such as laptop, Game Boys, cell phones, and FRS two-way radios have fully charged batteries. If your laptop can go into sleep mode, this will also save you some time in not having to wait for its boot-up.


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