No carry-ons permitted on Canada-U.S. flights
Published Monday, December 28, 2009 6:30PM EST
Transport Canada banned carry-on items on all United States-bound flights Monday afternoon except for limited items like purses, laptops, infant and medical supplies.
Krista Kealey, spokesperson for the Ottawa International Airport, said the measures are effective immediately, but will be temporary.
This restriction extends to all U.S. flights leaving any airport in Canada.
Spokesperson Patrick Charette confirmed the ban with CTV Ottawa on Monday a few hours before the directorate was released by Transport Canada.
"Be patient. Bear with us. We are asking people to be ready," said Charette.
RCMP, local police will assist with boarding
The directorate outlined the "enhanced" security measures, adding that the RCMP and local police officers will help airport security officials with "some procedures specific to the screening process."
Those procedures were not identified, but Transport Canada added the extra police presence would speed up the process as passengers are cleared through the border.
Only the following items are allowed on board as carry-on luggage:
- medical devices
- small purses
- infant care items
- crutches, canes and walkers
- containers with "life-sustaining items"
- musical instruments
- diplomatic or consular bags.
"These measures are expected to be in place at least for several days," read the release.
Check with airlines before flying
Officials recommend passengers to U.S. destinations check with their airlines for possible delays, and come at least three hours ahead of the flight to allow for bag searches and full-body pat-downs.
Passengers are now screened twice, once at the gate and once before boarding.
Transport Canada brought in the extra precautions after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who claims links to al-Qaeda, tried to detonate firecrackers in the final minutes of an Amsterdam to Detroit flight on Christmas Day.
'I think it's totally critical'
"I think it's warranted, given the situation that happened in the U.S.," said passenger David Rattway, who was waiting at the Ottawa airport.
"I think it's totally critical that we take all the security we can during the holiday season as well, with so many people travelling."
Despite the longer lineups, few flights have been delayed in Ottawa due to passenger backlogs.
Passengers flying from Ottawa to Toronto may face cancelled flights if they are going on to the United States, as Air Canada has eliminated some short-haul trips across the border to reduce the lineups at Pearson International Airport.