Is Mexico the latest target for a laptop ban for US bound flights? The new security screening policy for electronic devices suggests it could be.
Several news outlets, including CNN and United Press International, are reporting new security screening policies this morning. Overnight, these new measures took effect for all US bound flights.
Mexico’s Ministry of Communications is advising all passengers on US bound flights to arrive at the airport at least three hours early. Security lines are expected to be longer as airports comply with new additional screening procedures.
“Airlines will apply extraordinary security measures, which have to do with the review of portable electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smartphone” according to an official statement from the ministry.
It is unclear whether Mexico is acting under specific orders from the Department of Homeland Security or has implemented their own measures. No new press releases pertaining to these additional measures have been posted on the DHS website within the past week.
A poster on FlyerTalk.com reports some rumblings yesterday about changes in Columbia as well. A local news source there is reporting that they may refuse to transport larger devices (such as laptops) if they fail to pass a visual inspection for things such as scratches or missing parts.
I have traveled with a laptop with heavy wear and tear. As such, the subjectivity of a visual inspection is worrisome. Note that this is not just a refusal to transport in the cabin. It is an implied refusal to transport at all!
As of 8 am CT on July 19, United carried the following notice on its website. It did not specifically mention Mexico.
Additional security measures for international flights to the U.S.
Beginning this week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will require additional security measures for all international flights to the U.S. These measures include enhanced screening of travelers, as well as heightened screening of electronic devices larger than a standard smartphone. Travelers may need to remove these devices from their protective cases or outer packaging for inspection.
For international flights, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends arriving at the airport at least three hours before your flight, allowing time for the additional security measures. For more information, please visit the DHS website.
Delta had the following notice, posted on Monday July 17:
Arrive on Time
Due to recently-implemented U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) enhanced security requirements for customers traveling on U.S.-bound international flights, we strongly advise all customers to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours prior to your scheduled departure time and to proceed to your departure gate promptly to allow extra time to clear security. We also encourage passengers to check-in online at delta.com or via the Fly Delta app to help expedite the check-in process.
American Airlines had no special notices posted.
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.