Last week, the DHS announced that they would be tabling the electronics ban “or laptop” ban for certain countries and airports that would be able able to prove that they could comply with the new security policies of the DHS.
We still don’t know the exact details of the new security policies but we know that:
- Some will be “seen and unseen”
- They will be phased in over time
- They will involve heightened scrutiny of passengers entering the US
- They will involve enhanced screening of electronic devices
- We will see better deployment of canines that detect explosives
- More airports will be encouraged to become US Pre-Clearance airports
The DHS also announced that it would lift the electronics ban for those Middle Eastern countries that were already blocked if they could comply. And now Etihad Airlines has been the first airline out of that group to have the ban lifted.
The ban placed on Etihad Airways never made sense to many people, including myself. This is because Abu Dhabi, the hub of Etihad, has a US security pre-clearance in place where security is on par with screening at US airports. Also, in order to make it through to boarding a plane to the US, you have to go through security two times and get through immigration/customs. The additional security screening into the US is also continuously monitored by surveillance.
When I made my way through the additional US pre-clearance security at AUH, I was pulled aside for a random check and experienced the most thorough inspection I’d ever experienced. They closely inspected every piece of electronics I had, pat me down, and even questioned me on my travels, even though I had gone through the “expedited” security line.
So it’s good to see that at least for Etihad, common sense is prevailing and any passengers flying from AUH to the US will be able to enjoy a more comfortably flight with access to their laptops.
H/T: View from the Wing