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More headaches coming to air travel after near attack

Travelers to the United States experience delays at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Peter McCabe)

Long lines and unpredictable security checks will once again be the norm at airports worldwide after the foiled attack on a Detroit-bound Northwest plane Christmas Day.

Here are some answers to questions you may have about your next plane trip.

How will this impact my flight?
The federal government and individual airlines have revised their security protocol in the aftermath of the attempted bombing. Though officials would not disclose details yesterday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said passengers flying into the U.S. from abroad will experience most of the heightened security, including increased pat-downs and gate screenings. On board, passengers could be asked to stow carry-on and personal items, including pillows. While there have been reports of random flights restricting passenger movement, Air Canada is the only airline that has so far said it will do so on U.S.-bound planes an hour before landing.

What should I anticipate at the airport?
The heightened security will slow the processing of passengers. United Airlines advised international travelers to arrive three hours ahead of schedule, and Continental Airlines instructed all travelers to tack on an hour on to the previously advised airport arrival time.

Is it now dangerous to fly?
Federal officials said travelers should continue taking flights and report any suspicious behavior. The TSA said it will randomly use “explosive detection canine teams, gate screening and behavior detection” as needed, but the additional screening does not necessarily indicate a higher security threat.

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