UNDER new rulings, international travellers face the prospect of being turned away at their home airports if flying to certain airports that are not on American soil.
These include Cuba, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
All travellers to these destinations will be obliged to complete personal data up to three days before flying.
This will be analysed by the U.S. authorities; the information fed into vast computers.
It will be matched against information held in the ‘No Fly’ files of U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
It is the first time travellers rights have been impinged by one country when travelling between two other countries; for instance Britons travelling to Cuba, Canada; Mexico.
Entry will be denied to those the Americans regard as suspicious. Some will be denied boarding passes. Information will be analysed up to the point of landing; this includes it being collated whilst airborne. This means runing a risk that upon landing at their chosen destination, other than the United States, passengers being turned away. Non compliance is not an option; it will be met by a refused boarding pass.
Cuba will look upon the policy with deep foreboding. It interferes with the free movement of trade and opens up U.S. scrutiny of visitors to the island.
Neil Taylor, the tour operator who pioneered tourism to Cuba is indignant.
British daily The Independent quoted him asking: ‘One can only wonder how an American traveller in Europe would react if he was denied boarding a London to Rome flight by the German government,’
Tony Wheeler, Lonely Planet Travel Guides founder says. ‘This extension of the rule to include flights that do not enter U.S. airspace is scarcely credible.
What on earth right does the U.S. have to ask for passenger information if you are flying London to Havana?
Until the twentieth century Japan was so isolationist it was completely cut off from the rest of the world. America and its economy seem to want it both ways. It doesn’t quite work like that.