New airport security measures supposedly relaxed after being implemented, but remain in place

New United States airport security measures

The extreme new security rules that were put in place after the failed terrorist attempt on Christmas day had since been reduced significantly, but a release on Wednesday by U.S. transportation officials stated the changes will remain in effect until January 4, 2010

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian, allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on a Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. Abdulmutallab, 23, reportedly had almost twice the amount of the same explosive chemical hidden in his underwear that shoe bomber Richard Reid used, and after the explosives failed Abdulmutallab was subdued on the plane by fellow passengers.

Almost right after the incident, the The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA)  implemented a slew of new rules.

The rules included restricting international travelers to one carry-on bag as well as pat-down searches, eliminating the map on the in-flight entertainment screen that shows the location of the plane, and not allowing passengers to have items such as pillows in their laps during the last hour of the flight.

On Monday the TSA relaxed the rules, stating that it is now at the pilot’s discretion if travelers are allowed to stand or keep items on their laps while the plane is in flight, and it is also up to the pilots and airlines to determine whether entertainment systems within the plane should depict the plane’s location or not.

The TSA would not confirm the lessening of security measures to the press, but today said the increased security screening and carry-on limits have not been changed and is expected to continue for the next few days.

The rules put out by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority were similar, including that passengers on U.S.-bound flight were not allowed any carry-on luggage and only two pieces for domestic flights if necessary. Passengers were advised to show up for their trips at least three hours early and warned that they would not be allowed to leave their seats during the last hour of the flight. Security staff at Pearson airport in Toronto were conducting searches of carry-on luggage and limiting the amount and size.

Canadian airport security measures only temporary

The Canadian rules were in effect only until December 29 according to a statement released by the CATSA, but Air Canada and Westjet flights are still conducting increased screening.

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Tags: Airport Security

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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