Monday, August 14, 2006

UK - Terror threat 'Severe'

Terror threat has reduced - but travel is far from normal
Britain’s terror alert level has reduced to ‘severe’. But not before hundreds of travellers have suffered hours of delays, cancelled flights and a great deal of inconvenience. Markets have been rocked by the effects of the threat and it has cost airlines millions of pounds in lost revenue. Passengers too have been left with great uncertainty over possible claims of compensation. Many insurance policies do not cover a terrorist threat and so passengers may be left out of pocket. Even as the threat level was reduced, a British Airways flight returned to Heathrow with all 217 passengers, after a mobile phone rang on board. The flight which was already well over the Atlantic Ocean was eventually rescheduled but only after a ban on all luggage [BBC]. No-one admitted to owning the mobile phone on board the plane, flight BA179. As the reduced threat came into force, so too did the restrictions on what passengers might take on board as hand luggage. Apart from Gatwick and Heathrow, passengers may now take some extra items. Passengers can choose what to take on to a plane, but any form of liquid, fluid, lotion or gel will still be banned. Electronic devices, such as laptops, will be permitted but will be thoroughly screened. A medium-sized item of hand luggage will be permitted. This bag will be around half the size of luggage previously admitted [15cm x 35cm x 16cm]. Additionally, searches of passengers and their clothing will be conducted more frequently and are to be carried out by hand or using body scanners [Home Office].
Today, as yesterday passengers are experiencing continued delays. Security also remains high and as well as armed police, ANPR [Automatic Number Plate Recognition] systems have been deployed. The chaotic and confused situations seen last Thursday have subsided and airports have provided clear signage indicating what is and is not allowed aboard aircraft. Additionally plastic bags were being provided for the few items allowed. Posted by Picasa

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