Categories
Business Travel Guides

Does Your State Driver’s License Comply With The REAL ID Act?

You have hopefully noticed the many informative signs in the airports regarding driver’s licenses. If you haven’t, major changes are coming to the commercial aircraft’s security standards that you should be aware of. Called the REAL ID Act, travelers will see the most change by potentially needing different documentation to board aircrafts in the United States. For a larger overview, read our original REAl ID Act blog post here. Now, new extensions for some states are shifting the deadlines.

What’s happening?

The REAl ID Act is an update in security standards for many federal facilities. It has been in the process of updating various minimum security standards for power plants, federal buildings and others for the past 12 years. Now entering its final phase, the focus is on federally regulated commercial aircrafts. Travelers may only board the plane with the approved forms of documentation. Compliance by states is voluntary – meaning it is the responsibility of the individual states to update their driver’s licenses and identification cards to be within the standards set by the REAL ID Act.

As of January 22, 2018, the new REAL ID Act protocols will be instituted in all United States airports. States must update their driver’s licenses by this date, or their residents will not be able to use them to board aircrafts. Many states have already updated their processes. Now, many states have extensions until October 10, 2018 to fully comply.

Can you use your driver’s licenses to board commercial aircrafts?

The Department of Homeland Security continually updates their website as the information changes.  Go to their website, or use the infographic attached below to find the information regarding your state. Most states have already updated their driver’s licenses and identification cards to comply with the new standards. Some are still in the process of updating, with an approved extension to complete the task.real-id-act

  • States in green have already complied to the new standards. Travelers with driver’s licenses from these states can be used to board federal commercial aircrafts.
  • States in yellow have already applied for an extension in  the process. These states now have until October 10, 2018 to update their security standards. Travelers with identification from these states will still be able to use their IDs while traveling through October 10, 2018.
  • A few states, seen in blue are still under review for an extension. Their IDs are currently not compliant, and they need more time than the January 22, 2018 deadline to make this update. You may need to bring additional forms of documentation, such as a passport.

Continue to check the Homeland Security website for updates, or additional blogs or social media posts from Christopherson Business Travel. If you are a current client, contact your account manager if you have additional questions.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Additional Security Measures for International Flights to the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that flights arriving to the United States will undergo additional security measures. This is response to increased threats on commercial aviation as a whole. Starting later this week, passengers flying to the United States should expect additional security measures.

These security measures include:

  • Enhanced screening of travelers
  • Increased security screening of aircraft and passenger areas>
  • Heightened screening of electronic devices that are larger than a standard smartphone
  • Being prepared to remove these devices from protective cases or packaging if asked.
  • Using additional technology
  • Expanding canine security
  • Establishing additional pre-clearance locations

This heightened change effects 105 countries and approximately 280 airports that serve as the last points of departure to the United States. This affects 180 airlines, an average of 2,100 flights per day and 325,000 daily passengers on average. The DHS and TSA will be working with airline stakeholders over the next weeks and months to ensure these security protocols are fully implemented. Stakeholders that fail to adopt these requirements within certain time frames will run the risk of additional security restrictions being imposed.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Laptop Ban Affects Business Travels

Business travelers, who utilize flight time to catch up on work and email, will be disrupted by the recent announcement made by the Department of Homeland Security. Dubbed the ‘laptop ban’, large electronic devices will not be allowed as carry-on when flying non-stop to the U.S. from 10 international airports.

What are these 10 international airports?

  • Jordan – Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)
  • Egypt – Cairo International Airport (CAI)
  • Turkey – Ataturk International Airport (IST)
  • Saudi Arabia – King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) & King Khalid International Airport (RUH)
  • Kuwait – Kuwait International Airport (KWI)
  • Morocco – Mohammed V Airport (CMN)
  • Qatar – Hamad International Airport (DOH)
  • United Arab Emirates – Dubai International Airport (DXB) & Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)

What airlines fly non-stop to the U.S.?

  • Royal Jordanian
  • EgyptAir
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Royal Air Moroc
  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways

Regulations of the new ‘Laptop Ban’

The aviation security enhancements are for all U.S. bound flights from these 10 airports. It  requires that all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage.  Large electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, and electronic games can no longer be used in-flight. The ban does not effect the flight returning from the U.S. back to these countries.

Increased security was needed, based on intelligence about airlines that fly non-stop from these 10 airports. Top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff,  said “These steps are both necessary and proportional to the threat. The global aviation system remains a top target and proper security requires that we continually adapt our defenses.”

The nine airlines affected have until early Friday morning to implement necessary changes. If an airline ignores enforcement, security officials will ask the Federal Aviation Administration to revoke the airline’s certificate to fly in the U.S.

Great Britain has followed the U.S. with a similar announcement.  Their ban specifies dimensions of electronics not allowed as carry-on. The U.K. ban focuses on Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Canada may be following with their own electronic ban as well.

No time frame has been given on this change. The DHS has said in “will remain in place until the threat changes”. Additional airports could also be added at any time.

Business travel industry reaction to the ban

While safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, this ban comes as a jolt and inconvenience to business travelers. A complete halt in business productivity is one criticism, but additional safety concerns are another.

One possible matter is the increased risk of lithium-ion batteries catching fire in the cargo hold. These fires would be hard to contain early or even reach.

Another criticism is theft or damage to checked items. There is a reason we keep the most expensive and important items close to us while traveling. Most of us have experienced lost or damaged baggage, and even theft. Without your protection, your items are open to anyone. Speaking of which, this regulation will potentially leave confidential company business exposed while valuable information housed on laptops are checked.

Having flown on Emirate’s Airlines and experienced their exceptional in-flight entertainment, I appreciated their prompt and creative response to the ban, with their “Let Us Entertain You” video on Twitter.

Business traveler tips for the laptop ban

Regardless of in-flight entertainment options, the need to mitigate risk will be an inconvenience that travelers need to be prepared for in advance of their departure from the impacted airports.

  • Back up everything and save it to the cloud, just in case of theft or damage.
  • Add everything you need to your phone – movies, games, podcast, email, etc.
  • Bring those ‘back burner’ tasks you never seem to get to normally – whitepapers, recommended books, research, etc.
  • Buy an external keyboard that can be connected to your phone, making typing less of pain and increase productivity.
  • Consider changing flights from a non-stop to one-stop flights.