For those of you that weren’t aware, US Customs and Border Protection had previously implemented an electronics ban for flights from Middle East countries. This dramatically affected the loads of the Middle East 3 (Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar) with many routes being scaled back or canceled.
As of July 2017, the ban was lifted, but in its place, there are increased security protocols for all flights into the United States. If you are interested in reading more about the electronics ban, you can refer to the Wikipedia article.
Today I am on a last minute flight to Philadelphia via Chicago and have an early morning flight at 7:01 AM.
I arrived at the airport at 5:00 AM, 2 hours prior to my flight … as I normally do.
I took my time getting to the immigration and security lines because I have a Nexus pass and normally breeze through.
Today was very different.
In going through the security line, everything went fine. Laptop out. Liquids out. Shoes off. Alarm didn’t go off. Almost there right?
My messenger bag that contained some books, an iPad and my charging cables went through to secondary. Normally this is a 3-5 minute delay while they swipe your bag for explosive or drug residue. Not this time.
In the dawn of the increased security measures, there were MORE BAGS IN SECONDARY than in the actual bag return line. The bags to the left of the plastic divider are bags destined for secondary screening.
On top of the fact that almost every other bag went to secondary, the amount of time they took to screen each bag was incredibly long. In my estimation, it took them about 7-8 minutes to screen each bag. They are being incredibly thorough. I waited for over 20 minutes just for them to get to my bag.
Give yourself plenty of time to make it through airport security, especially if you don’t have Nexus or Global Entry.
Gone are the days where you could sneak through an apple or 110 ml bottles of perfume. Expect those things to be confiscated and expect your trek through security to be even more stressful than before.