December 27, 2009 in Nation/World

Airports tighten security

Access to carry-on items among new restrictions
Los Angeles Times
 
Associated Press photo

Police operate a checkpoint for vehicles entering Los Angeles International Airport Saturday after an attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack on a flight from Europe to Detroit.
(Full-size photo)

LOS ANGELES – Travelers taking international flights to the United States on Saturday faced pat-down searches, new limits on carry-on luggage and more thorough screening at airport checkpoints after a Nigerian man allegedly tried to bomb a jetliner headed to Detroit.

Federal authorities have called on airlines and airports around the world to tighten security measures, including frisking all passengers headed to the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security announced additional scrutiny for domestic and U.S.-bound passengers, and advised travelers to report any suspicious activity or behavior to law enforcement officials.

The new guidelines limit on-board activities by passengers and crew members while in U.S. airspace. Among other things, passengers must remain in their seats during the last hour of flight and cannot have access to their carry-on items or place any personal belongings in their laps.

International travelers landing Saturday at Los Angeles International Airport noticed the new measures during their flights. Domestic passengers said they did not encounter such restrictions but saw a heightened security presence.

Because of the tighter security measures, airlines and governments worldwide advised passengers to arrive at airports early and to expect delays, missed connections and canceled flights.

In response to the U.S. government’s concerns, Canadian officials have ordered airlines and airports to conduct additional screening, limit travelers to one carry-on item, and restrict passenger movements.

In Amsterdam, travelers bound for the U.S. underwent pat-down searches, while airline passengers in Belgium were advised to report to the Brussels airport three hours early to allow for a second security check.

Airline and government officials said the restrictions have been imposed indefinitely and may vary from airport to airport.


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