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20 new rules at airports that will affect passengers in 2020

If it seems that the queues at airports have become longer and move slower, then this is not just so - from now on, new rules for air travel have been introduced. Edition Reader's Digest collected all the necessary information you need to know.

Фото: Depositphotos

Shoe bombs, liquid explosives, and underwear explosives are just some of the threats that the US aviation industry has fought since September 11, 2001, explains the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

But for each of the threats, DHS offers new rules to ensure our security, including those that began to operate in 2017 and are currently fully operational at all US airports.

Safer flights are now legally required

Starting January 1, 2020, aircraft traveling in most of the US-controlled airspace should be equipped with an Automatic Dependent Surveillance System (ADS-B). This system uses GPS technology to calculate the exact location, speed and direction of the aircraft, and also transmits data twice a second to receivers.

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It is expected that the new law will not only increase the safety of air travel, but will also become environmentally friendly technology.

Real id

Many people stood in line for several hours to exchange their state-owned driver’s license for a REAL ID or extended driver’s license. This is because, under the new rules, which are due to take effect on October 1, 2020, you must have a standardized form of identification if you plan to board a plane anywhere in the United States.

Stricter animal guidelines for emotional support

Still need to think about new, more stringent rules for moving pets introduced by large airlines. In particular, those related to animals for emotional support. Rules vary by airline, so it’s recommended that you check a specific airline each time you travel.

Families do not have to pay extra to sit together

More and more airlines are starting to charge you if you want to choose a specific place. But for those traveling with children, it can be either very expensive or very traumatic. “Families from all over the country call me to tell me they are being separated from their children on flights,” said Rainer Jenns, president of the Family Travel Association, which promotes family trips.

This has been illegal since 2016, when Congress passed the Family Flight Law, according to which airlines must place any child under 13 years old next to a family member at no extra cost.

Marijuana is still not allowed on airplanes, but ...

Since marijuana is currently permitted for recreational purposes in almost 25% of the United States, although not in accordance with federal law, it is clear that there is some confusion as to whether cannabis can be transported, say, from Michigan to Massachusetts ( marijuana is legal in both states).

The United States Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) currently allows people to fly with products filled with marijuana that contain no more than 0,3% THC and are legally manufactured in accordance with federal law.

Compensation for Delays to Canada

As of the end of 2019, the Air Passenger Protection Rules stipulate that passengers flying to and from Canada are entitled to monetary compensation for damage if their flight is delayed, as well as for damage and loss of baggage.

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Up to $ 2100 will be paid for baggage loss, for a delay of up to 6 hours the passenger will receive $ 900 compensation, and for a longer delay - $ 2400.

Airplane Calls

Whether you like it or not, but the technology already exists, the only question is when it will be launched. But airlines are unlikely to be allowed to call in flight until they feel significant pressure from consumers. However, it is predicted that phone calls in flight are likely to be available in a year or two.

Privacy issue

Face recognition technology promises to be the last “convenience” in air travel. Instead of showing your ticket and passport, you just need to “show” your face to the scanner. This technology is already used at many airports, and by the end of the year it is planned to use it at the 20 largest US airports. But there is a nuance: taking advantage of this convenience, you give up some of the confidentiality.

It takes patience and willingness

“The federal grant money allows many airports to hire more inspectors and purchase better equipment,” said legal expert Randolph Rice. As a result, new employees will use new and more sensitive verification tools, which will lead to increased queues and longer waiting times for passengers.

Passenger readiness for inspection can have a significant impact on waiting times at security checkpoints throughout the country.

Accuracy matters

If you have not noticed this yet, TSA employees pay attention not only to what you packed in your hand luggage, but also to how you packed it. If your bag is crowded so that the x-ray machine cannot get a clear and unobstructed view of its contents, you may be asked to unpack and put things in a special basket. TSA advises travelers to organize their luggage and keep it in order.

Almost all personal electronics are subject to verification.

TSA currently requires travelers to post all personal electronics larger than phone (for example, tablets, e-books and portable game consoles), in containers for x-ray scanning.

Powder prohibition

It is difficult to determine at first glance that you are actually carrying - baby powder or something toxic and dangerous. As a result, the TSA now thoroughly examines powdered substances: if the employee is not sure that the powder is safe, the traveler may be asked to refuse it. It is best to discard packages of powder items in carry-on baggage.

"Dense" food is subject to increased attention

Now TSA staff can ask travelers to get food from their cabin baggage, especially if it is “tight enough” and does not allow the X-ray machine to inspect the contents of the baggage. What is a solid meal? According to the TSA, canned foods can be considered dense, as well as baby food. All of these items must be removed from your carry-on baggage and placed in special baskets to facilitate inspection.

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Ban on gel products

Regarding hand luggage, TSA banned all liquid and gel foods weighing more than 3,4 ounces (100 ml), as well as liquids and gels weighing more than 3,4 ounces, which are not food products, such as hair gel and gel pens.

If an item can be poured, sprinkled with something or scattered, it should be packed in checked baggage or left at home.

Even a cookie?

On a recent flight from Sacramento International Airport, Julie Xie, a professor at the University of California, Davis, was asked to remove cookies from her hand luggage and place them in a separate basket to improve the quality of the search.

You can unpack all your food

Recently, at the Denver International Airport, the TSA was forcing everyone who was being inspected to take all their snacks and food out of their handbags and put them in baskets. As a result, the waiting time took an average of an additional 30 minutes.


Books are not prohibited, but you may be asked to remove everything that you have in your hand luggage, and put it in special baskets for a more thorough study. TSA agents can leaf through the pages to see if there is anything forbidden. Especially if you are carrying a few books.


It may seem odd that magazines are now under the scrutiny of TSA agents. Although many passengers actually buy magazines at the airport, a control officer can flip through your magazine to make sure that nothing is hidden there.

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Unidentified objects will not fly

Identifiable items are prohibited from being placed in the cockpit. This means that the contents of your hand luggage will be subjected to a more thorough analysis. If you do not want this to happen publicly, you can request a private search.

Preparation Tips

The TSA reports that the best way to ensure that the security audit process goes through quickly is to prepare:

  • arrive two hours before the domestic flight and three hours before the international;
  • find out what you will need to take out of your hand luggage before you go through the search;
  • pack items that are subject to increased attention by airport staff in luggage
  • minimize large items of your toilet, such as bulky jewelry, scarves, accessories; If you put them on, do not forget to remove them in time and put them in the basket for inspection. This will not only save you from the hassle, but also reduce the waiting time in the queue.
Miscellaneous regulations Educational program air travelers

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