Security/TSA

Police Officer Accidentally Boards Taiwan-Bound Flight With Gun & Six Rounds Of Ammunition

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I can’t decide which part of this story is more pathetic. A California policewoman is being held in Taiwan after accidentally carrying a gun and six rounds of ammunition on a flight from Los Angeles to Taipei on Wednesday. She only reported that she had the gun upon landing in Taiwan.

Per Focus Taiwan:

“The Aviation Police Bureau said the American police officer reported the matter to members of the airport’s ground staff after discovering the handgun and six rounds of ammunition in her carry-on bag.”

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WHOA: UK To Implement A DIFFERENT Electronics Ban

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A few hours ago it was rumored that the UK was also considering an in-flight electronics ban.

As we’ve written about extensively, the U.S. has announced a ban on electronics for flights originating in the Middle East and Africa. The ban applies for flights originating in Amman, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Casablanca, Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kuwait City, and Riyadh. Passengers on nonstop flights originating from those cities to the U.S. need to check all electronics into the cargo hold, with the exception of cell phones and medical devices.

SkyNews is reporting that the UK government is indeed implementing new restrictions, though the details (and countries included) are rather different from the US directive.

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BREAKING: UK To Announce Ban On In-Flight Electronics As Well

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As we’ve written about extensively, the U.S. has announced a ban on electronics for flights originating in the Middle East and Africa. The ban applies for flights originating in Amman, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Casablanca, Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kuwait City, and Riyadh. Passengers on nonstop flights originating from those cities to the U.S. need to check all electronics into the cargo hold, with the exception of cell phones and medical devices.

The BBC is now reporting that the U.K. will institute a similar in-flight electronics ban. The U.K. is expected to announce a similar ban on laptops and other electronics shortly, though it remains to be seen how it will differ — it’s possible that the U.K. will have different restrictions, include different countries, etc.

It sure looks like air travel is about to get really, really bad…

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New Details On Nonsensical Electronics Ban

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To catch everyone up, yesterday Ben noted a Royal Jordanian announcement that electronic devices would be banned from passenger cabins on U.S.-bound flights effective March 21st. This was quickly followed by rumors that this wasn’t just Royal Jordanian acting on a whim, but rather a new directive being issued by U.S. authorities, though the details were still fuzzy.

Late last night the Associated Press reported the electronics ban will apply to flights from Amman, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Casablanca, Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kuwait City, and Riyadh. Those are nearly all the major airports in the Middle East and Northern Africa, and are hubs for the national airlines of each respective country. The impacted airlines are:

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What’s The Logic Behind The In-Flight Electronics Ban?

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What a bizarre day…

Earlier I posted about how Royal Jordanian announced that in-cabin electronics would would be banned on flights to/from the U.S. starting tomorrow, March 21, 2017. With the exception of cell phones, all electronics would have to be checked through to the final destination.

As more information emerged, it became clear that Royal Jordanian wasn’t just misunderstanding some policy, but that they were in fact following some sort of directive, which is apparently impacting people traveling from 13 different countries to the U.S.

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It Looks Like A Widespread In-Flight Electronics Ban Is About To Be Implemented…

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Oh my, this is about to get interesting…

A couple of hours ago, Royal Jordanian announced that they are banning electronics from the cabins of their flights to/from the U.S. With the exception of cell phones and medical devices, all other electronics need to be checked in the cargo hold.

At first I assumed they horribly misinterpreted some directive, or something. To me it seems highly illogical to want passengers to check electronics. If there’s some threat of terrorism or a safety concern, then I didn’t really understand how requiring passengers to check electronics would help.

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WTF: Royal Jordanian Bans Electronic Devices From Flights

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Okay, I can’t actually make any sense of this. However, Royal Jordanian has just announced that they’re banning electronic devices in their aircraft cabins as of tomorrow, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. You can continue to take “cellular phones and medical devices needed during the flight,” but everything else, including laptops, tablets, cameras, etc., have to be checked to your final destination.

Here’s the announcement:

“Following instructions from the concerned US departments, we kindly inform our dearest passengers departing to and arriving from the United States that carrying any electronic or electrical device on board the flight cabins is strictly prohibited.”

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Here’s The Letter I Received From The Department Of Homeland Security

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As I first wrote about a bit over a month ago, at the beginning of the year I seemed to be on some sort of a U.S. government watchlist. I belong to the TSA Trusted Traveler program, and am typically eligible for Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check. However, for the first six weeks of the year I was subjected to additional screening on every single flight I took.

As I explained at the time, there’s an appeals process. It’s not all that transparent (understandably), but at least there’s a process you can go through to try and clear your name. It’s called the DHS TRIP program, which stands for Traveler Redress Inquiry Program. This allows you to get a redress number, which you can add to your reservation so you’re not constantly subjected to additional screening.

As I wrote about yesterday, my online account status for my DHS TRIP case was finally updated, as follows:

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The DHS Has Reviewed My “SSSS” Case…

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As I first wrote about a bit over a month ago, I seem to be on some sort of a U.S. government watchlist. I belong to the TSA Trusted Traveler program, and am typically eligible for Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check.

However, for all of January and much of February, I had an “SSSS” on all my boarding passes when I’d fly, signaling that I was being subjected to additional screening. While in the past I’ve gotten secondary screening occasionally, I’ve never had it on back to back trips, let alone on about a dozen flights in a row. See this post for details on what this additional screening entails.

Fortunately there’s an appeals process. It’s not all that transparent (understandably), but at least there’s a process you can go through to try and clear your name. It’s called the DHS TRIP program, which stands for Traveler Redress Inquiry Program. In theory this should allow you to get a Redress number, which you can add to your reservation so that you’re not constantly subjected to additional screening.

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US Immigration Officers Are Now Checking IDs On Domestic Flights?!

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Well this is truly bizarre. Pictures are circulating from one of yesterday’s Delta flights between San Francisco and New York. Upon arrival in New York, passengers on DL1583 were met by (at least) two US Customs & Border Protection Agency officers, who allegedly demanded to see each passenger’s “documents.”

I’ve never seen CBP officers be engaged with a domestic flight in such a way, and can’t come up with any logical explanation for it either.

I’ve certainly seen police officers meet a domestic flight because they were looking for a specific passenger, and I’ve also seen CBP officers meet international flights to do passport checks (presumably because they were looking for someone)… but to have Customs & Border Protection agents meet a domestic flight is a completely different story.

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IntereSSSSting: Did I Find A Way To Get Around Secondary Screening?

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Since the beginning of 2017, my airport experience has gotten significantly less pleasant. Specifically I seem to be on some sort of a list. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, given the number of countries I travel to. Heck, I suppose I’m surprised it took this long for my activity to look suspicious to the government.

Because I’m on whatever list, my boarding pass always has an “SSSS” on it, which means I receive a thorough secondary screening.

I’ve started the process of trying to appeal this by requesting a Redress number. Essentially you can fill out a form to get your name cleared, and then in theory you’ll be given a Redress number, which should help going forward. While I’ve started the process, apparently it can take a couple of months for the application to even be reviewed, so I’m not expecting immediate results.

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Everything You Need To Know About Getting An “SSSS” On Your Boarding Pass

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Have you ever had an “SSSS” on your boarding pass when flying? Well, unfortunately I’ve become so accustomed to getting this that I figured I’d write a guide about what to expect.

What does “SSSS” on a boarding pass mean?

“SSSS” stands for secondary security screening selection. I’m not sure if they came up with the acronym first and then came up with words to justify it, or what.

Simply put, it means you’re getting an extra thorough search when you go through security.

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I Just Applied For A Redress Number…

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As I first wrote about a bit over a week ago, I seem to be on some sort of a U.S. government watchlist. I belong to the TSA Trusted Traveler program, and am typically eligible for Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check.

For about a month now, I’ve gotten an “SSSS” (signaling that additional screening is needed) on my boarding pass before every single flight, despite having my Known Traveler Number on each reservation. While in the past I’ve gotten secondary screening occasionally, I’ve never had it on back to back trips, let alone six back to back trips.

So it’s clear I’m on some sort of a list, though interestingly I’ve had no trouble at immigration the two times I’ve gone through since this issue has started; I can still use Global Entry as usual.

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The TSA Threatens To Cut Free Pre-Check Access… Again

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TSA Pre-Check is the expedited security screening process that has been around for several years now, allowing selected travelers to leave on their shoes, and also leave their liquids and laptops in their bags. It really makes the security experience significantly more pleasant when departing the U.S. on eligible airlines.

The only way to get TSA Pre-Check consistently is by enrolling in a Trusted Traveler Program. You can enroll directly in TSA Pre-Check, though it’s a much better deal to enroll in either Global Entry or NEXUS, as enrollment in those programs comes with Pre-Check (meanwhile enrollment in Pre-Check doesn’t get you Global Entry). Then you just enter your Known Traveler Number when you book your ticket, and hopefully you get Pre-Check.

However, in practice, many who aren’t enrolled in the TSA Pre-Check program still get access to the expedited screening. The TSA wants a certain number of travelers to use the lanes in order to be able to justify them, so they’ve identified low risk travelers and given them access to Pre-Check on a selective basis.

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