By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent
The country’s flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL) said it will enhance security measures for its U.S.-bound flights from Manila to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Guam and from Vancouver to New York (JFK) by screening powder-like substances at a continuously random basis.
PAL said the move is in compliance with the regulatory requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for all flights from the last point of departure to the United States.
Effective June 30, 2018, PAL personnel will inspect powder-like substances 12 ounces (approximately 350 milliliters) or larger (for example, individual containers larger than a beverage can).
Powders are fine dry particles produced by the grinding, crushing, or disintegration of a solid substance (for example, flour, sugar, ground coffee, spices, powdered milk and cosmetics). Powders may also appear in clumpy, grainy, or compressed material forms (for example, polvoron, cosmetic powder, etc.)
Medically prescribed powder-like substances (baby formula or human remains 12 oz. (350 ml. or larger) may be transported after security inspection.
Duty-free powder containers inside a properly sealed Secure Tamper Evident Bag are allowed.
PAL management called on air travelers to be at the airport at least three hours before flight departure because of the expected slightly different check-in counter and gate screening set-up.
The airline is seeking the understanding and kind cooperation of passengers during the implementation of the baggage check-in, passenger, and carry-on baggage screening procedures.
In July 2017, PAL also imposed a measure subjecting all portable electronic devices (PED) — larger than a cellphone or smartphone — of passengers bound for the United States to additional airport screening.
The electronic devices that exceed the size limit must be surrendered by passengers to the airline for additional screening at the Redundancy Screening Checkpoint.
However, PAL stated that necessary medical devices are exempted from additional screening.
The approximate size of a commonly available smartphone is considered to be a guideline for passengers.
Examples of large electronic devices that will be subjected to additional screening are but not limited to: laptops, tablets, E-Readers, cameras, portable DVD players, electronic game units larger than a smartphone and travel printers/scanners.
The same enhanced security measure is being imposed by the airline for its UK-bound flights — Manila-London Heathrow — screening all check-in baggage and gate screening procedures passenger and hand carry baggage.
This is in line with the regulatory requirements of the UK Department for Transport for all flights operating directly from Manila to the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, PAL also announced it will be temporarily suspending flights to and from
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia beginning Sept. 19, 2018.
The airline is seeking the understanding of passengers affected by the suspension of the Manila – Jeddah route.
Passengers with confirmed bookings on PR662/663 (Manila-Jeddah-Manila) dated September 19 onwards have the option to rebook/reroute/refund their tickets within 30 days from original flight date with penalties waived.
PAL assures that it will maintain its presence in other parts of the Middle East via daily flights to Riyadh, daily flights to Dubai, four times weekly flights to Doha, thrice weekly service to Abu Dhabi and five times weekly service to Dammam.