New Security Required on International Flights

The trek home from the holidays will include tightened security.

By John Adams and Lori Preuitt
|  Monday, Dec 28, 2009  |  Updated 8:53 AM PDT
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Lakers Fans Flip the Foam Finger on Christmas Day

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The Chicago Sun-Times reported TSA personnel at both Chicago airports has been short on staff since last year.

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Your belt won't be the only thing tightening up during this holiday season, especially if your plans include a flight out of town.

Officials at all three Bay Area airports are urging travelers to arrive earlier than usual and to prepare for tightened security measures in the wake of a threatened terrorist attack aboard a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day.

The changes will have the biggest effects on international flights.

These new measures, issued by the TSA, include extensive security screenings, more K-9 units on duty and pat-downs.

International passengers at SFO said they were told they couldn't get out of their seat or get access to their carry-on bags during the last hour of their flight.   They described monster security lines in Amsterdam and Germany.  Many said they feared they would not make their flight back home to the Bay Area.

The new guideline also mean all in-flight entertainment systems will be turned off during the last hour of  internationals flight. 

Domestic travelers did not notice any big changes Saturday, but that could change depending on TSA orders. 

Holiday travelers should also expect longer lines than usual and limitations on carry-on items.

Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano, who is in San Francisco, said there is no evidence so far that the Detroit incident is part of a wider terrorist plot. She said the suspect's claims that he has ties to Al Qaeda were "part of the criminal justice investigation that is ongoing."

Napolitano did a series of national and international interviews Sunday morning from the City before flying back to Washington, D.C.   It wasn't clear why Napolitano was in the Bay Area.  Her only known tie here is that she graduated from Santa Clara University.

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 On Sunday, Nigeria's information minister said the airline bomb suspect "sneaked" into Nigeria the day before his alleged Christmas Day effort to blow up a plane over Detroit failed.

Information Minister Dora Akunyili said Nigerian citizen Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab entered his home country on Dec. 24 and left the same day to board a flight to Detroit via Amsterdam. She did not elaborate or say where Abdulmutallab entered Nigeria. She said his father is in deep shock and had expressed great regret.

On Saturday, U.S. officials charged Abdulmutallab with trying to destroy the plane. A conviction on the charge could bring Abdulmutallab up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Nigerian officials said Saturday they were opening their own investigation.
 

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