After a series of meetings in Brussels, involving heads of national security for the EU and USA, as well as airline security specialists it appears that an Electronics ban on flights between Europe and the USA may not be as imminent as we had feared.
In comments made by the group, it appears that there is an increased willingness for airlines to work with one another as well as will government security specialists in order to prevent the ban.
This information sharing included confidential exchange of intelligence between the EU and the Department of Homeland Security in the USA.
Critics of the ban suggest that a ban would cost passengers $1 billion in lost productivity each year and lead to a significant drop in air traffic between Europe and the USA.
According to one meeting participant, it was suggested that the electronics ban was ‘off the table’ at this point and no plans exist for implementing one in the near term.
This same group is scheduled to meeting in Washington DC next week to expand on their discussions. We can only hope that they realize how frivolous such a ban would be and continue to avoid its implementation.
According to an article published earlier today by Bloomberg, it appears that our friends at the TSA have revised their screening policies as it relates to ‘patting down’ passengers at security check points.
Citing a 2015 study concluding that more and more weapons are making it past screening procedures, the TSA has notified its officers to be more thorough when patting down passengers. Up until now, the TSA had 5 different approaches when it came to physical contact or screening of a passenger. With the new policy, that list of 5 has been narrowed to 1, and that ‘1’ is more comprehensive than the previous 5.
A spokesman for the TSA stated that passenger will ‘notice that the new pat-down is more involved’. The TSA also said that this will apply to airline crew. The TSA randomly screens a small number of ‘known crew’ passing through ‘crew security’, but that small percentage of crew being screened will be subject to the same new scrutiny as a passengers.
According to the article, the new strategy has been quietly rolled out in smaller airports over the past 2 weeks, and is now being rolled out to airports nationwide. No mention was made if this would affect ‘Pre Check’ or similar expedited security programs.
Turn and Cough……
In light of recent events concerning smart devices that decide to spontaneously combust through normal usage, airlines have begun bringing aboard bags designed specifically to hold electronics that have caught fire, or may be at risk of igniting.
Alaska Airlines and Virgin America have already been carrying these $1600 fire proof bags that can withstand temperatures in excess of 3500 degrees Fahrenheit. Now it appears that Delta and other US-based airlines will have at least one bag aboard each aircraft as part of their safety equipment. Delta stated that all aircraft will have the bag by the end of 2017. Not sure why it takes 14 months to outfit a fleet but at least they’re taking the initiative. I also wonder who foots the bill when a bag has to be used……
No word yet from Lufthansa or other Euro and Asian carriers, but I suspect this will become a new industry standard over the coming weeks and months.
Baker is an industry leader in fireproof bags for aviation and an example of the bags is shown below, but I use this only as an example and not a suggestion that Baker is necessarily the supplier.