Local travellers are taking new security measures and baggage restrictions in stride, say travel insiders.
A Christmas Day terrorist scare over Detroit has ushered in new security rules for all passengers destined for the United States. These include pat-downs and strict limits to carry-on baggage.
The added security measures are creating flight delays of 20 to 60 minutes, said Edmonton Airports spokesperson Donna Call. The airport authority is recommending travellers arrive at the airport three hours before their flight and check their flight status on the airport website at flyeia.com.
“That’s the best way to find out where your plane is at,” Call said. “They are as current as if you were in the airport.”
On Dec. 28 Transport Canada banned carry-on bags on U.S. bound planes, with some exceptions. These are: medication or medical devices, small purses, cameras, coats, items for care of infants, laptop computers, crutches, canes, walkers, containers carrying life sustaining items, a special needs item, musical instruments or diplomatic or consular bags.
If travelling with a laptop bag, diaper bag, camera bag or other such item, the bag may only contain items confined to the bag’s original function. (For example, a laptop bag can only contain computer equipment, or a diaper bag can only contain infant necessities.)
The new restrictions don’t apply to domestic flights or international flights that don’t touch down in the U.S., Call said.
“All flights are likely to experience delays because of the security measures but only passengers travelling to the U.S. are expected to change their carry-on luggage practices,” she said.
Andrew Hopkyns of AMA Travel is recommending people carry very little onboard and if in doubt, check their baggage. Also when connecting at a U.S. hub, do not leave the security area or you’ll have another long wait in line, he said.
Hopkyns suggested that there is a silver lining to the current situation of delays and heightened security: less chance of your luggage getting lost.
“You have an excellent chance of the bag being on the plane,” he said.
Most local travellers are savvy and have become used to security measures dating all the way back to 2001, said Stephen Hennigan, owner of Cruiseshipcenters in St. Albert.
“We’ve had very little concern from travelling people,” Hennigan said.
“I think most of them have been really good about it. They kind of roll with the punches.”