LAX (CBSLA) — Security measures were being stepped up on inbound international flights to the United States starting Thursday. They included new plans for airline employees to start interviewing passengers.
“Where have I been? I said I’ve been to Mexico. They asked whereabouts in Mexico and how many dates I spent in Mexico,” said Sylvana Philpot, an Australian tourist who had just arrived from Mexico.
She says she wasn’t bothered at all by the brief interrogation.
“I’m OK with that. It makes me feel more comfortable that they’re asking the right questions,” said Philpot.
In fact all of the international travelers at LAX interviewed by KCAL9/CBS2’s Randy Paige said they were interviewed before getting on their flight bound for Los Angeles and none of them seemed to mind.
“They ask me why come here and for long time and so on,” said Ivan Bogdanov from St. Petersberg. “It’s normally always in our country.”
Gunilla Birksted said she was asked a series of questions before she was allowed to board a flight from Sweden.
“Did you bring anything? Do I have any economic interest or am I going to live here? It’s OK,” said Birksted.
The foreign carriers are responding to requests from Homeland Security to step up their security procedures.
Some of the airlines are conducting interviews. Others requiring their passengers answer questions on a written form.
Cathay Pacific is telling passengers who visit its website that baggage will have to be checked in at specific ticket counters at the airport, where there will be a short security interview — no more self-checked bags allowed.
People are being told to arrive at the airport three hours before their scheduled departure.