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New Air Safety Rules

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New Air Safety Rules

by Lorry Patton

New Rules for Air Travelers in the United States

When I traveled to Jerusalem a couple of years ago, I passed through two security check points at Gatwick and entered the gateway holding area to Tel Aviv. Before being allowed on board the aircraft, my luggage (I usually travel with two carry on pieces and no checked luggage) was searched throughly. They also questioned my connection to other passengers traveling on that particular flight and wanted to see an itinerary of my whereabouts while in the country. At the time I thought that they were overly cautious, but I appreciated the fact that my flight would be safe and secure.

At airports in countries such as Korea and Russia and Siberia, I came to expect army guards and security personnel to carry assault weapons and hearing "Stay with your luggage" and "Don't touch unattended luggage" and "Don't take items from strangers"coming across the airwaves every few minutes.

In Canada it has been years since only passengers with boarding passes were permitted past the security gates. And picture id has been necessary for many years as well. Questions like " Has anyone else had access to your luggage or has your luggage been out of your sight?" are standard. Traveling in the United States, particularly on domestic flights, offered little hassles. Passengers could arrive literally minutes before the flight and still get on board. Curbside check-ins, helpful porters, electronic tickets all helped to speed things up. Internationally flights were slightly longer when immigration and customs were involved, but basically, the biggest complaint was delayed planes, late planes and cancelled flights. Sadly, times have changed and new rules are in place at all United States airports:

* Arrive 2 hours ahead for domestic flights, 3 hours for international flights.

* If you must bring your car, park in a off site airport and use the shuttle to the terminal. Parking in most international airports has been pushed back some distance from the terminals. Drop off passengers are diverted to other entrances. Loitering, waiting, or stopping at curbside at gates is not permitted.

* Do not pack the following previously allowed items in your carry on luggage.

Electric cords (dryers, curling irons, shavers), scissors, razors, pocket knives, paper cutters, nail files, hair spray, nail polish remover, glass bottles, stick pins, laundry cords any item that may be used as a weapon in your wildest imagination.

Photography equipment, computers, palm pilots, hearing aids, cell phones, radios, etc., are now checked for working parts, moving parts, and whether you are likely to travel with these items. (Remember that x-ray machines can destroy high-speed film so store in appropriate protective packages or ask for hand searches. )

Checked luggage will be searched for plastics, electronics, items made of steel, drugs, chemicals ..

In retrospect of the events of September 11, 2001, where we were used as a weapon against ourselves, we can no longer travel with complete assurance that we are not in any danger. But I, and many like me, will continue to travel by air and I will patiently follow any new rules to help me arrive at my destination safely.