US-bound travelers will face security interviews before checking in to flights at a number of global airlines from Thursday as anti-terror measures are stepped up.
Lufthansa, Emirates, Air France and Norwegian Air confirmed to AFP that US authorities had asked for tougher controls at departure airports for flights to the United States.
Other carriers and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) industry group confirmed the new measures.
“In addition to the controls of electronic devices already introduced, travelers to the USA might now also face short interviews at check-in, document check or gate,” a Lufthansa spokesperson said.
“The implementation will take place on October 26. The security of our passengers and staff is our top priority.”
Emirates said passengers would be subjected to “pre-screening interviews at the check-in counter” whereas Air France said it expected to apply an additional “security interview.”
Cathay Pacific said it would halt services allowing passengers to check in luggage from downtown Hong Kong or curbside at the airport, and instead interview them at check-in gates.
The airlines suggested that passengers arrive early for their flights to account for any additional delays caused by the new rules.
Norwegian said that its passengers would receive instructions by SMS message and that check-in desks would open four hours before departure for flights to the United States.
“The new measures raise the bar on aviation security. They have required a significant amount of work on the part of airlines and airports,” said Perry Flint, IATA assistant director for corporate communications.
Flint praised the US Transport Security Administration for demonstrating “flexibility” in its imposition of the new measures.
But he added: “Over the longer term there needs to be a greater focus on mutual recognition of states’ measures and more of a risk-based approach when choosing locations for enhanced security measures.”