October 20, 2017
South Korean Airports Implementing Security Interviews on US Bound Flights
The Department of Homeland security announced back in July that it would start implementing enhanced security measures at all last point of departure airports around the world which serve direct flights to the US. Details on what this entailed were vague, but they included enhanced passenger screening, enhanced screening of personal electronics, and increased security protocols around aircraft in passenger areas. Media outlets are reporting that passengers flying from South Korea to the US will soon face new ‘security interviews’ before being allowed to board their flight.
Travelers flying from Incheon International Airport (ICN) to the US will be asked a series of questions at the airlines’ ticket desks starting October 26, 2017. This includes asking if passengers are carrying bags for someone else, if passengers are flying on a one-way ticket, how long they will stay in the US etc. Passengers deemed to be suspicious will be subject to additional screening. On top of that, all passengers will have their belongings “reexamined” before boarding.
The new measures will initially apply to low cost carriers and US carriers, but will expand to all full service airlines like Asiana and Korean Air when the new terminal at Incheon opens in January. Airlines are recommending passengers on US bound flights arrive at the airport 4-5 hours early, which sounds like overkill to me. While South Korea is the first country to implement these new measures, I can see it easily expanding to other countries over time.