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Passengers Flying To U.S. Face Heightened Screenings, New Questions

A dog trained to find drugs and banknotes smells luggage at the Mulhouse airport in France on Oct. 10. Dogs trained to detect explosives are expected to be deployed at international airports as part of heightened screening measures for flights to the U.S.
A dog trained to find drugs and banknotes smells luggage at the Mulhouse airport in France on Oct. 10. Dogs trained to detect explosives are expected to be deployed at international airports as part of heightened screening measures for flights to the U.S.

Starting Thursday, passengers on international flights to the U.S. will face heightened security checks of their luggage and new screening interviews or questionnaires.

The Trump administration is imposing the stricter security measures on travelers — including Americans — from all countries, on all U.S.-bound flights. But the exact set of procedures varies by airline, and some have received permission to temporarily delay implementation of the new rules, The Associated Press reports.

As a result, "confusion still remains about the new regulations," the AP writes.

NPR's David Schaper says the increased scrutiny will affect about 325,000 airline passengers on more than 2,000 flights each day.

David has more on what international travelers can expect:

"Airlines have some flexibility for implementing the new procedures. For example, some will conduct brief security interviews with passengers at check-in counters; others may do so at the gate, while still others will just have travelers fill out a questionnaire."

"But many airlines and travelers' groups are concerned the new procedures will lead to a lot of confusion and lengthy flight delays.

"Some airlines are telling travelers to plan on getting to the airport at least three hours before their departure time for international flights heading into the U.S."

The Wall Street Journal reports that the enhanced security measures could include closer scrutiny of electronics, security sweeps of planes on the ground and the use of bomb-sniffing dogs. As for the interviews and questionnaires, the Journal,citing an anonymous source, reports that "flyers, who previously might be asked about whether they packed their own bag, now could also face questions about why they were traveling or whom they had met."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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