Q: I am travelling to the United States next month for business and need to do work on my laptop during the flight, but with the recent attempted terrorism attack I’ve heard that travel restrictions have changed, what exactly am I allowed to bring on the plane?–Scott Maxwell, Victoria, B.C.
A: Travel restrictions have become a norm for air passengers since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The attempted terrorism attack on December 25, 2009, has introduced even more changes to security protocol and measures at airports for travel in the United States–there are now even more restrictions for carry-on items. Some of these restrictions may be temporary, but currently they are being enforced.
For air travel in Canada, you are still permitted to have one litre of liquids, gels and/or aerosols in containers 100 ml or less. These items need to be in a clear, closed and re-sealable bag. These items include but are not limited to, hand lotions, cleansers, moisturizers, suntan lotions, antibacterial gels, contact lens solution, shaving cream, perfume and cologne.
For any travel over the U.S. however, you are restricted to bringing only personal items like a small purse, camera, laptop and stroller as well as essentials that include medical devices, canes, crutches, walkers, medications or other special needs items.
For more specific, up-to-date information there are Government sites like Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and the U.S.’s Transportation Security Administration you can visit that will help prepare you for your trip. It is also good to check out local airport or airline websites. WestJet, for instance, has a link on their homepage charting the new regulations.
In Canada we will soon have full body scanners and behavioural screening in major airports including, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Halifax. All passengers travelling to the U.S. from Canada will have to go through body scanners. Currently there are about 19 airports in the U.S. already using body scanners. These new procedures will increase the time it takes to get through security. Airports are recommending that you arrive three hours in advance of your flights versus the previously recommendation of 90 minutes in advance.