Aviation Threat Level Raised, Additional Restrictions on Carry-on Baggage

In response to news that officials in Great Britain have interrupted a plot to destroy commercial airline flights between the United States and the United Kingdom, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has raised the U.S. threat level to High, or Orange, for all commercial aviation operating inside the U.S. and for flights from the U.S. to the United Kingdom. The threat level for commercial flights flying from the United Kingdom to the U.S. has been raised to Severe, or Red. Additional restrictions and guidance for airline passengers have also been issued.

The TSA is immediately implementing the following changes to airport security screening procedures at U.S. airports:

  • No liquid or gels of any kind will be permitted in carry-on baggage. Such items must be in checked baggage. This includes all beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, toothpaste, hair gel and other items of similar consistency. Exceptions are baby formula and medicines, which must be presented for inspection at the checkpoint.

  • Beverages purchased in the boarding area, beyond the security checkpoint, must be consumed before boarding and will not be permitted onboard the aircraft.

  • Passengers traveling from the United Kingdom to the United States will be subject to a more extensive screening process.

These measures will be constantly evaluated and updated as circumstances warrant.

Increased Border Protection Procedures:

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.

The Department of Homeland Security has also mandated that all flights from the United Kingdom transmit 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.

The Associated Press is also reporting that airline passengers at American airports should:

  • Remove all shoes and place them on an x-ray belt for screening when passing through security checkpoints.
  • Arrive at least two hours early to allow for additional screening.
  • Contact their airline, especially if traveling to the United Kingdom, for additional information regarding any extra security measures or precautions that might be required. Laptop computers, mobile phones and iPods are among items banned on British flights.

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