The TSA announced yesterday that electronics being brought aboard flights operating from or within the USA will be subject to additional scrutiny at security check points.
In the coming days and weeks, a new measure will be rolled out at airports that requires passengers to take out any electronics larger than a Smart Phone, and place them in a separate bin at security checkpoints. This includes items such as laptops, tablets, walkmans ( 🙂 ), any kind of camera, or camera lens.
This new process is not unlike what we’ve been accustomed to for years when it came to our laptops.
As I said the title of this post, things could have been much worse. Only a few short weeks ago we were staring at the spectre of having to put all electronic items larger than a phone into checked bags. I’ll settle for this new policy anytime if it means keeping my gear with me.
By the way, for those of us enrolled in TSA’s PreCheck, fear not, we don’t have to take anything out of our bags so it’s business as usually for us in that respect. This policy does not apply to us.
Due to the ratcheting up of security measures instituted by the TSA at airports worldwide, passengers bound for the USA are being asked to arrive at the airport earlier than normal to account for the extra scrutiny.
Specific to Lufthansa, it is asking passengers flying to the USA from Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, and Munich to be at the airport at least an hour prior to their flight if flying in Economy or Premium Economy, and 40 minutes prior if flying in Business or First Class. LH is referring to this as the minimum time needed for ‘Check-In Acceptance’.
It may be a good idea to make sure you check in to your flight before coming to the airport. Easy to do via Lufthansa.com or the LH App. This way you can bypass the check-in process at the airport and head straight to your gate.
According to LH, this additional time requirement is not being instituted at any other airport where Lufthansa Group flights depart for the USA. Their press release also suggests that your small electronic devices may be subject to additional scrutiny before you are allowed to board your flight. That however, is a small price to pay for the ability to at least take your electronics on board.
Minimum connection times at the affected airports will not change.
The release did mention SWISS flights from Zurich, and is asking passengers bound for the USA to show up in ZRH at least 3 hours ahead of departure.
Lufthansa has announced that it will make life a bit easier for passengers flying from Munich’s Terminal 2 to a handful of German cities.
For passengers flying to Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, or Dusseldorf, they will be able to bypass the main security screening checkpoints and go to the gate area for the flights where security screening will take place.
Dubbed ‘SmartDepart’, this new screening process is now in place during peak travel times of 6:00a to 8:30a and from 4:00p to 6:30p. In addition to the security ‘shortcut’, the gates for these flights will be located in the central area of Terminal 2, further reducing the amount of time passengers need to take to make their flights. In fact, the aircraft will park at gates closest to the exits of the destination airports as well.
But there is one theoretical restriction to the program. Signage indicates that passengers traveling with ONLY ONE carry on piece of luggage will be allowed to use SmartDepart. But in practice I find it hard to believe that passengers will be penalized if they have a purse or small briefcase in addition to their carry on bag. We’ve come to know that barks have always been worse than bites when it comes to such things.
If you are traveling on one of these flights, look for signage that reads ‘Smart Depart Fast Lane’ inside of T2 in Munich. That will take you to the express security check point.
The service is open to all passengers on these flights regardless of Miles & More status or class of travel.
If I understand LH’s press release correctly, it appears that this program will be expanded to more LH flights starting on October 31.