All airlines flying to the U.S. have been told to tighten the screening of all mobile devices and shoes in response to intelligence reports of increased threats from al Qaeda-affiliated militant groups.
Officials have singled out popular smartphones, all iPhone products by Apple and Galaxy phones made by Samsung Electronics for extra security checks on U.S.-bound direct flights from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
U.S. security officials said they fear that bomb makers from the Yemen-based al Qaeda group in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have managed to turn the phones into explosive devices that can avoid detection. They are also concerned that bombs could be built into shoes.
Electronic devices carried on by passengers also are likely to receive more intense scrutiny.
Any airline or airport operator that fail to strengthen security could face bans on flights entering the United States.
Due to these changes in airports there may be some additional delays at security checkpoints, however, at most major airports passengers will not be seriously inconvenienced.
Passengers who are taking long-distance flights should arrive well in advance of scheduled departures, leaving time for extra screening.