Lufthansa announced that it has begun what it refers to as expedited security screening for certain flights that depart from Munich at certain times of the day.
Specifically, the new program called ‘Smart Depart’ creates an expedited security process for flights departing Munich for Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, and Frankfurt during peak travel times. The nature of this program allows the gates for these flights to be located closer to the security check points in Munich’s Terminal 2 and dedicated check points will only process passengers flying to the cities listed above.
The program will be available on weekdays only, between 6a and 8:30a, and between 4p and 6:30p.
To locate these special checkpoints, look for the ‘Smart Depart Fast Lane’ signage when approaching security.
As a result of laws enacted by Congress in 2005, passengers traveling on January 22 and beyond will need a ‘compliant’ driver’s license in order to clear security at airports in most US states.
The ‘Real ID Act’ requires enhanced identification to be put in place by January 22, 2018. This basically meant that your basic driver’s licenses needed to be updated with either barcode or ‘RFID’ technology that would contain more information than what is printed on the license. 28 States and several US territories are currently compliant to the new standard, while 22 states received extensions to implement the changeover.
For residents traveling from states that have already enacted the ‘compliant’ licenses, they’ll have to provide the enhanced ID when clearing security, otherwise they run the risk of not be allowed through security. For residents in states that have been granted extensions to implementing the new ID program, you can continue traveling on your current ID. However, it may be wise to carry another official ID such as a passport or Global Entry card as a backup piece of ID.
The map below shows which states are already part of the Real ID program and which states are operating under an extension. States shaded in Green are already compliant, while the yellow states are those with extensions.
Map courtesy of CNBC.com
So for example, if you are a Texas resident, you need to use your ‘Real ID’ license on January 22, otherwise you will need to show additional ID (Passport, Global Entry Card, etc) if you wish to clear security. According to the TSA, if a resident of a ‘Real ID’ state shows up at security without the right ID and the TSA can’t prove the identity at screening, the passenger can be prevented from traveling.
Another example….. If you are a Michigan resident (a state under extension), you can still use your normal driver’s license at security. According to the TSA, if you are a resident of a state that is currently under extension, and are traveling from a state already in compliance you should be OK to use your Michigan license (i.e. Michigan resident flying from Texas). But if we know anything, it’s that the TSA rules can be interpreted differently by each ‘officer’, so it might make sense that if you are in a state that is under extension to take along your Passport or Global Entry card as a back-up piece of ID.
Regardless of the changes coming on January 22, it will be required of all residents of all states to have a ‘Real ID’ Driver’s License by October 1, 2020. At that point only Real ID Licenses will be acceptable, otherwise you’ll need to provide another valid ID, such as a passport or other officially recognized piece of identification.
The TSA expects this to go smoothly.
Where have we heard that before! 🙂
Beginning tomorrow, October 26, passengers heading to the USA will be subject to a substantial increase in security measures before being allowed to board their flight. In fact, the new requirements include being at the airport AT LEAST 90 minutes ahead of your USA-bound flight’s departure so that you have enough time for the new screening process. This covers all USA and International carriers that fly to the USA.
According to the TSA, this will impact 2,000 daily flights that arrive in the USA and approximately 325,000 passengers.
This is not exactly a new surprise that popped up today. Tomorrow happens to be a deadline that was set 120 days ago when the USA first issued bans on electronics in the cabin, and other restrictions. Most if not all of those restrictions have since been lifted once airlines and airports demonstrated compliance with the new policies.
What might be different starting tomorrow?
The biggest change that I see is that security personnel will increase the number of ‘random’ interviews that they conduct with passengers heading to the USA. These interviews can happen either at the check-in area or at the gate.
Airlines have announced substantial changes as a result of this policy change. For example, Cathay Pacific has suspend ‘remote check-in’ at locations away from the airport and bag drop off services in cities such as Hong Kong.
Lufthansa Group is asking Economy Class passengers to be at the airport at least 90 minutes prior to departure to allow for enough time for the added scrutiny.
The TSA has been intentionally cryptic with what other security measures take effect tomorrow, but considering the nature and sensitivity of security, it’s understandable that they’re not telling us everything that they plan on doing. In their comments however they did indicate that this security enhancement is being done in order to prevent something like an Electronics Ban from being reinstated.
I guess for that alone, a little more screening at the airport is a small price to pay.
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.
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.