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August 10th, 2006

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Threat Level Change for the Aviation Sector

In response to a serious terrorist threat to international aviation security, the Secretary of Homeland Security has elevated the Homeland Security Advisory System Threat Condition to Severe, or Red, for all commercial flights from the United Kingdom to the United States, and to High, or Orange, for all other international flights and all domestic commercial aviation. 

There are approximately 106 flights per day between the United Kingdom and the United States.  Although numerous arrests have been made in the U.K. to disrupt and neutralize this threat, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is taking a number of heightened protective measures to ensure the continued safety and security of our international and domestic air travel. 

Protecting the Aviation System.  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be implementing a series of security measures – some visible and some not visible – to ensure the security of the traveling public and the Nation's transportation system.  TSA is immediately implementing following changes to airport screening procedures:

NO LIQUIDS OR GELS OF ANY KIND WILL BE PERMITTED IN CARRY-ON BAGGAGE. ITEMS MUST BE IN CHECKED BAGGAGE. This includes all beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, tooth paste, hair gel, and other items of similar consistency.

Exception: Baby formula, breast milk, or juice if a baby or small child is traveling; prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger’s ticket; and insulin and essential other non-prescription medicines

  • Beverages purchased in the sterile area must be consumed before boarding because they will not be permitted onboard the aircraft.
  • Passengers traveling from the U.K. to the U.S. will be subject to a more extensive screening process.

Some measures will not be visible to the public. In light of the elevated threat level, the Federal Air Marshals Service (FAMS) will provide expanded mission coverage for flights from the United Kingdom to the United States.

These measures will be constantly evaluated and updated when circumstances warrant.  DHS and its components have coordinated closely with the air carrier industry, airports, and state and local stakeholders to implement these significant, but necessary, security measures.  The traveling public can assist these agencies in carrying out their important security duties by:

  • Packing lightly, without clutter to facilitate easier screening.
  • Check with your air carrier well before your flight departs for information on when you should arrive at the airport.
  • Cooperating with TSA personnel at all checkpoints and gates because TSA Security Officers will be checking carry-on baggage at the gate.
  • Being attentive and vigilant to any suspicious activity.

Protecting U.S. Borders.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection will increase enforcement efforts in international arrival areas including the use of advanced targeting tools, special response teams including baggage and aircraft search teams, baggage x-ray equipment, specially-trained canine units, and explosive detection technology. 

DHS has also mandated that all flights from the U.K. transmit passenger manifest information for intensive screening prior to departure from the gate.  In addition, passengers on these flights and all other international flights will be subject to heightened inspection upon arrival in the U.S.

(You won't believe what they said ... | You have something to say?)


[User Picture]
Date:August 10th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)
I am SO glad I am not traveling as a part of my job these days! It's gotten disastrously inconvenient (and not for no reason). There are just as many legitimate reasons for security as there are FUD reasons to wave it like a freakin banner.

The UK restrictions are a bit different -- and I thought I'd pass them along as well.

Briefly, what I'm hearing of their security is that the only hand luggage ALLOWED is:
specific prescriptions (with your name on it),
baby food (must be EATEN/TASTED by parent in front of security staff),
sanitary products (unboxed)

Shoes MUST BE removed and put on the x-ray scanners

NOT permitted:
CD players,
or other electronic devices

Note: Those are banned as carry-on items, but can be stowed.

I'm sure someone will remember the George Carlin comedy routine after 9/11 about only allowing passengers 'au nautural'. You have far less to worry about for security, because no fundamentalist religious group members would ever submit to such a thing. And... it gives you something else to be amused by since they made you stow your game-boy in your checked luggage!
[User Picture]
Date:August 10th, 2006 02:45 pm (UTC)
Of course, I'm sure that neither those responsible for security, nor the airlines, can be held responsible if your expensive laptop or camera is damaged in checked baggage because you weren't allowed to carry it on (as they have explicitly told everyone to do in the past).

I'm reminded why I like taking the train, even if it takes longer and costs a little more.
[User Picture]
Date:August 10th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
or hell, just take the ferry over to amsterdam or calais or the train to paris through the new tunnel, then fly out of there...

expensive for normal people, but it'll be what the business traveler does if they have to have it with them on the trip.
[User Picture]
Date:August 10th, 2006 03:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Joe's travelling home tomorrow, and I'm *sure* he'll pack his shower stuff in the carryon unless I tell him specifically not to first.

Nice timing!
[User Picture]
Date:August 10th, 2006 04:48 pm (UTC)

Code/Level Red

When I heard that this AM on the radio I immediately thought "Well that settles me going to the UK anytime soon"

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