Airlines might have to install secondary security doors between the cabin and cockpit

Airlines may be forced to install secondary security doors between the cabin and cockpit to stop another 9/11-style terror attack

  • US lawmakers have drafted the proposal to push for stronger aviation security
  • Secondary doors allow a pilot to close the cockpit door before opening another 
  • The lightweight, wire-mesh barriers would cost up to $12,000 per aircraft 

Jennifer Newton for MailOnline

and
Reuters

Passenger airlines could be forced to install secondary security doors between the cabins and the cockpit on all aircraft to prevent another 9/11-style terror attack.

Lawmakers in the US are pushing for stronger aviation security and have drafted a bill with the proposal.

Hijackings remain a threat despite improvements in global aviation safety since September 11, 2001, when hijacked planes flew into New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon, four U.S. representatives – Democrats Andre Carson and Josh Gottheimer and Republicans Brian Fitzpatrick and Peter King – said in a news release.

All passenger airlines may have to install secondary security doors between cabins and the cockpit to prevent another 9/11-style terror attack

All passenger airlines may have to install secondary security doors between cabins and the cockpit to prevent another 9/11-style terror attack

US Congress last year imposed a requirement for secondary barriers, aimed at preventing would-be hijackers from rushing the cockpit when pilots take bathroom breaks or meals, for future, newly manufactured commercial airplanes.

But that legislation did not address existing aircraft.

The new bill, introduced last week, would extend the requirement to all passenger jets.

Secondary barriers would allow a pilot to close the cockpit door before opening another door to the rest of the plane.

Current measures to protect the flight deck include stationing a flight attendant or food cart in front of the cockpit.

A study by the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees aviation security, concluded that cockpits are vulnerable when pilots step out and cited secondary doors as the most efficient, cost-effective form of protection, according to the news release.

The lightweight, wire-mesh barriers would cost $5,000 (£3,870) to $12,000 (£9,300) per aircraft, the lawmakers said.

Airlines for America – an industry trade group representing large commercial carriers like American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United – said individual carriers should be the ones to decide whether to install such systems.

Lawmakers in the US are pushing for stronger aviation security and have drafted a bill with the proposal for the doors, which would allow a pilot to close the cockpit door before opening another door to the rest of the plane

Lawmakers in the US are pushing for stronger aviation security and have drafted a bill with the proposal for the doors, which would allow a pilot to close the cockpit door before opening another door to the rest of the plane

Association spokesman Vaughn Jennings said the airline industry has worked closely with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to implement a multilayered security system following 9/11 and noted that some U.S. airlines have determined that secondary cockpit barriers are appropriate on some aircraft.

The pilots union, The Air Line Pilots Association, did not immediately comment on the new bill.

Following the 9/11 attacks, airlines reinforced cockpit doors and the TSA rolled out advanced airport screening equipment.

The TSA also oversees the Federal Air Marshal Service, which deploys armed U.S. air marshals on flights across the world.

But critics have questioned the effectiveness of passenger screening and the air marshal programme.

The new bill for secondary barriers is called the Saracini Enhanced Aviation Safety Act after pilot Victor Saracini, who was killed when his plane was hijacked during the 9/11 attacks and flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

His widow, Ellen, has been an advocate of legislation for aviation safety. 


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Brazil invaded by venomous yellow SCORPIONS as climate change pushes them into major cities

I live in São Paulo, the biggest city in Brazil, home to some 12 million people – 20 million if you count the outskirts, which have been sprawling for three decades.

That makes it a good place to observe the phenomenon I research: complex social problems. 

In academia, this concept refers to problems like corruption, crime and traffic – problems that, in practice, cannot be solved. They must simply be mitigated or managed.

São Paulo is a dense city, with scarce green space and little to no animal life – no squirrels, no raccoons, not even a lot of birds. So I was astonished when, in January, I learned that scorpions had infested my neighborhood.

It turns out, people across the city and São Paulo state were having the same problem with these dangerous, venomous bugs. Statewide, scorpion stings have increased threefold over the last two decades.

Four kinds of scorpion live across Brazil, but historically only in rural areas. São Paulo residents are urbanites. We have conquered nature – or so we thought.

Scorpions used to be a rural problem in Brazil, the researcher explains. Now, residents of São Paulo and other urban areas are dealing with an infestation of these poisonous insects

Scorpions used to be a rural problem in Brazil, the researcher explains. Now, residents of São Paulo and other urban areas are dealing with an infestation of these poisonous insects

Brazil’s urban scorpions

Brazil’s scorpion infestation is the perfect example of how unpredictable modern life has become. 

It is a hallmark of what those of us in the complex problems field call a “VUCA” world – a world that’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

Some 2.5 billion people worldwide, from Mexico to Russia, live with scorpions, which generally prefer hot and dry habitats.

But Brazil’s cities also provide an excellent habitat for scorpions, experts say. They offer shelter in sewage networks, plenty of water and food in the garbage that goes uncollected, and no natural predators.

Scorpions, like the cockroaches they feast on, are an incredibly adaptable species. 

As the weather in Brazil gets hotter due to climate change, scorpions are spreading across the country – including into its colder southern states that rarely, if ever, had reports of scorpions prior to this millennium.

The number of people stung by scorpions across Brazil has risen from 12,000 in 2000 to 140,000 last year, according to the health ministry.

Most scorpion stings are extremely painful but not fatal. For children, however, they are dangerous and require urgent medical attention. 

São Paulo is Brazil’s biggest city, with 12.2 million residents. It is a dense city, with scarce green space and little to no animal life – no squirrels, no raccoons, not even a lot of birds. But, satewide, scorpion stings have increased threefold over the last two decades

São Paulo is Brazil’s biggest city, with 12.2 million residents. It is a dense city, with scarce green space and little to no animal life – no squirrels, no raccoons, not even a lot of birds. But, satewide, scorpion stings have increased threefold over the last two decades

2018 – 4TH HOTTEST YEAR ON RECORD 

NASA has revealed that 2018 was officially the fourth hottest year on record.

Figures reveal 2018 was 1.5°F (0.83°C) warmer than the average temperature measured between 1951 and 1980.

It came in fourth hottest since records began in the 1880s, falling behind only 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York say this makes the past five years the warmest half-decade period on record.

Experts from the World Meteorological organisation (WMO) say the prolonged period of record temperatures is more important than ranking individual years.

Based on Australia’s scorching January and the extreme colds felt in the US in the past month, global warming looks set to continue to break records in 2019 and beyond, scientists claim.

Eighteen of the hottest 19 years have occurred since 2001.

Eighty-eight people died from their wounds in 2017, Brazil’s O Globo newspaper reports, highlighting the lack of adequate medicare care available in small towns. Many of the dead are children.

In Americana, a city with about 200,000 inhabitants in São Paulo state, teams that perform night searches for scorpions captured more than 13,000 last year – that’s the equivalent of one scorpion for every 15 people.

Worse yet, the species terrorizing Brazilians is the highly poisonous yellow scorpion, or tityus serrulatus. 

It reproduces through the miracle of parthenogenesis, meaning a female scorpion simply generates copies of herself twice a year – no male participation required.

Each parthenogenesis can spawn up to 20 to 30 baby scorpions. Though most will die in their first days and weeks of life, ridding Brazilian cities of scorpions would be a herculean, if not downright impossible, task.

Wicked problems in a crazy world

Brazil’s urban scorpion infestation is a classic “wicked problem.”

This term, first used in 1973 by design theorists Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber, refers to enormous social or cultural problems like poverty and war – problems with no simple or definitive solution, and which arise at the intersection of other problems.

Wicked problems are a symptom of numerous other related problems, both natural and human-made. 

In this case, Brazil’s urban scorpion infestation is the result of poor garbage management, inadequate sanitation, rapid urbanization and a changing climate.

It is likely too late to stop the spread of scorpions across Brazilian cities.

The species terrorizing Brazilians is the highly poisonous yellow scorpion, or tityus serrulatus (shown above)

The species terrorizing Brazilians is the highly poisonous yellow scorpion, or tityus serrulatus (shown above)

In a VUCA world, my academic research and other problem-solving studies show, wicked problems should be identified and confronted as soon as possible, using an array of responses.

In a VUCA world, the more resources you throw at problems, the better. That could mean everything from public awareness campaigns that educate Brazilians about scorpions to exterminator task forces working to control their population in urban areas. 

Scientists should be involved. Brazil’s national public health system will need to adapt to this new threat.

Brazil’s government appears to be ill-equipped to tackle the scorpion infestation.

Despite dogged press coverage, federal health officials have barely spoken publicly about Brazil’s urban scorpion problem. 

And, beyond some rather tepid national and state-level efforts to train health officials in scorpion risk, authorities seem to have no plan for fighting the infestation at the epidemic level it is heading towards.

Nor are cities likely to see any federal money dedicated to fighting this scorpion infestation: Brazil has been in a deep recession since 2015, and public health budgets have been slashed.

Venomous yellow scorpions, I fear, have already claimed their place alongside violent crime, brutal traffic and other chronic problems that urbanites in Brazil must cope with daily.

The incredible BA and Virgin Atlantic package deals hidden in plain sight

For anyone who’s not a millionaire, searching for flight prices – especially to big ticket destinations – can be a depressing exercise.

But a frequent flyer who runs a flight-tips website recently pointed out that – hidden in plain sight – there are deals to be had with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic that drop the price of flights by 70 per cent. 

And include three nights in a hotel.

A frequent flyer who runs a flight-tips website recently pointed out that - hidden in plain sight - there are deals to be had with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic that drop the price of flights by 70 per cent

A frequent flyer who runs a flight-tips website recently pointed out that – hidden in plain sight – there are deals to be had with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic that drop the price of flights by 70 per cent

The frequent flyer, London-based Gilbert Ott, who runs www.godsavethepoints.com, described these deals as ‘insane’. 

The trick, he said, was to use the carriers’ ‘flights + hotels’ offers – and reap the rewards. 

The catch? The deals are for two people sharing a room.

MailOnline Travel put the tip to the test.

MailOnline Travel managed to find a 70 per cent discount on a British Airways trip to New York by using the carrier's 'flights + hotels' deal site

MailOnline Travel managed to find a 70 per cent discount on a British Airways trip to New York by using the carrier’s ‘flights + hotels’ deal site

We searched for an economy flight on Google Flights with BA from London to New York’s JFK on February 26, returning on March 1. The price was £1,468 ($1,886).

Then we keyed in the same journey on the same dates on BA’s ‘flights + hotels’ site.

And the price? £414 ($532) per person. With a stay at the Wellington Hotel in Midtown included.

Virgin Atlantic offers similar deals.

We repeated the search using Google Flights and then Virgin Atlantic’s ‘flights + hotels’ site and found that a £1,357 ($1,743) return flight plummeted to £414, with a three-night stay at the Row NYC.

Virgin Atlantic also offers incredible flights plus hotel deals, as MailOnline Travel shows here

Virgin Atlantic also offers incredible flights plus hotel deals, as MailOnline Travel shows here

It’s not the best hotel in New York by any means, with a 3.5 average rating on TripAdvisor, but for that money, it would appear to be a bargain.

Mr Ott told MailOnline Travel that there are lots of deals to be found.

He said: ‘If you play around on the BA website, you’ll see some insane deals.’

And what’s more, BA lets you pay over time.   

Ultra-rare black leopard is photographed for the first time in 100 YEARS in Africa

Slinking through the darkness, these stunning images show an ultra-rare black leopard in action. 

The mythical creature was captured by British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas, 35, while it was prowling around the plains of Kenya in the dead of night with a full moon looming above.

This is the first time that one has been caught on camera in Africa for 100 years.  

Slinking through the darkness, these stunning images show an ultra-rare black leopard in action. The mythical creature was captured by British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas, 35, while it was prowling around Laikipia in Kenya in the dead of night

Its wide eyes can be seen looking eagerly for prey, while leopard-like spots can vaguely be seen on its dark coat, which is the result of melanism

Its wide eyes can be seen looking eagerly for prey, while leopard-like spots can vaguely be seen on its sooty coat, which is the result of melanism.  

This genetic variation, the opposite of albinism, results in an excess of dark pigmentation.

Burrard-Lucas told MailOnline Travel that it had been his dream to photograph the black leopard since childhood.   

After learning that several had been spotted in the Laikipia area of Kenya, he decided to investigate further and set up an expedition this January. 

Burrard-Lucas told MailOnline Travel that it had been his dream to photograph the black leopard since childhood

Working in collaboration with biologists in the area, Burrard-Lucas went about installing camera traps. These were placed in areas the black leopard was rumoured to frequent.

He used specialist equipment including wireless motion sensors, high-quality DSLR cameras and two to three flashes. 

The Brit said he couldn’t believe it when he returned to one of the traps one day and saw a black leopard staring back at the camera lens. 

Recounting the moment via his photography blog, Burrard-Lucas writes: ‘As I scrolled through the images on the back of the camera, I paused and peered at the photograph below in incomprehension… a pair of eyes surrounded by inky darkness… a black leopard! 

‘I couldn’t believe it and it took a few days before it sank in that I had achieved my dream.’  

Working in collaboration with biologists in the area, Burrard-Lucas went about installing camera traps. These were placed in areas the black leopard was rumoured to frequent

Nicholas Pilfold PhD, a biologist with San Diego Zoo Global who is currently researching leopards at the Loisaba Conservancy and helped Burrard-Lucas with his photography project, confirmed that the recent on-camera sighting was extremely rare

Nicholas Pilfold PhD, a biologist with San Diego Zoo Global who is currently researching leopards at the Loisaba Conservancy and helped Burrard-Lucas with his photography project, confirmed that the recent on-camera sighting was extremely rare

Summing up the black leopard in three words, Burrard-Lucas said: ‘They are truly stunning, beautiful and elusive’

Nicholas Pilfold PhD, a biologist with San Diego Zoo Global who is currently researching leopards at Laikipia’s Loisaba Conservancy and helped Burrard-Lucas with his photography project, confirmed that the recent on-camera sighting was extremely rare.

He explained: ‘We had always heard about black leopard living in this region, but the stories were absent of high quality footage that could confirm their existence. 

‘This is what Will’s photos and the videos on our remote cameras now prove, and are exceptionally rare in their detail and insight. 

Burrard-Lucas used specialist equipment including wireless motion sensors, high-quality DSLR cameras and two to three flashes

Burrard-Lucas used specialist equipment including wireless motion sensors, high-quality DSLR cameras and two to three flashes

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BLACK LEOPARD AND A BLACK PANTHER 

There isn’t one. The black leopard could also be referred to as a black panther, as this is not a species but an umbrella term that simply refers to any big cat that has a black coat. Black panthers in the Americas would be black jaguars.

‘Collectively these are the first confirmed images in nearly 100 years of black leopard in Africa, and this region is the only known spot in all of Africa to have black leopard.’  

Black leopards are usually associated with dense forests where their dark colouration is thought to help them hide in the shadows. 

Most recorded sightings of black leopards have therefore been in the forests of Asia.

In Africa, however, melanistic leopards are extremely rare.   

Summing up the black leopard in three words, Burrard-Lucas said: ‘They are truly stunning, beautiful and elusive.’

The big cat that he captured was confirmed as a juvenile female, travelling with a larger normally coloured leopard, thought to be its parent.

The black leopard could also be referred to as a black panther, as this is an umbrella term that simply refers to any big cat that has a black coat.

Ariana Grande Shows Off Her Natural Curly Hair, And We Love It

Ariana Grande’s sky-high ponytail is almost as famous as Ariana herself, so it’s easy to forget she didn’t come out of the womb like that: scraped-back hair, winged liner and manicured talons clutching at a tiny microphone. But this weekend, the singer Tweeted a picture of her curly-haired self aged five, captioned: “If I’m honest this is still exactly what I look like without lashes and my pony,” adding “the only difference now is that hand now says bbq grill finger”, in reference to her recent tattoo mishap.

Grande then followed up on a fan’s request for pictures by posting a video – complete with Snapchat filter – showing off shoulder-skimming curls and a curly fringe. Her Twitter audience erupted with calls for her to “bring back” her natural style, to which Grande responded: “They gotta grow first! That blonde last year… tarnished. BUT they’re like halfway back.”

Is the end of the iconic ponytail nigh? For anyone concerned, it was less than 24 hours before Grande was back on Twitter showing off a bouncy pony reaching past her waist. But if she or her scalp did ever fancy a break, the world would welcome curly Ariana just as they did blonde Ariana when we placed her on the July 2018 cover of Vogue last year.

Ariana Grande Skipped The Grammys, But Still Dressed Up For The Occasion

The BBC Just Teased 5 Mind-Blowing Wildlife Series – Including David Attenborough’s Latest

Just weeks after David Attenborough’s Dynasties concluded on BBC One, a teaser for the icon’s next project, One Planet, Seven Worlds, just dropped. “Each one-hour episode will transport viewers to a single continent and tell the story of its spectacular wildlife and iconic landscapes,” the BBC shared at the end of January. As with Blue Planet II, the most-watched programme in the UK in 2018, there will also be a distinct focus on the lasting impact that humanity is having on wildlife around the globe.

One Planet: Seven Worlds is just the first of five major wildlife series that will debut on the channel in the next three years. In addition to the latest instalments of Frozen Planet and Planet Earth, stay tuned for the premieres of Green Planet – described as the “first immersive portrayal” of the world of plants – and Perfect Planet, a five-part docuseries showcasing the various ways in which the forces of nature support life’s diversity, from the “white wolves of Ellesemere Island to bears in Kamchatka; vampire finches of the Galapagos to golden snub-nosed monkeys of China”.

The news of Attenborough’s next BBC series comes after months of speculation that the 92-year-old would fully decamp for Netflix, which dropped the initial trailer for Our Planet, their first partnership with the British icon, during the Super Bowl on February 3. Created in partnership with the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) and due out on April 5, the landmark programme was filmed across 50 countries with more than 500 members of crew. All in all, it’s going to be a good year for television.

From The Archive: When Vogue Met Sir David Attenborough

Mulberry Launches Sunglasses Inspired By John Lennon And Kate Moss

Eight Mulberry sunglasses styles inspired by eight British style icons: it’s fair to say that Johnny Coca has drunk the Kool-Aid since joining the house from Céline in 2015. The Spaniard has been waiting to launch lenses for some time – and, accordingly, workers in the company’s West Country factory have been sporting John Lennon and Kate Moss-inspired sunnies around Somerset to ensure the creative director succeeds in his mission to make a pair to suit everyone.

“I have been designing sunglasses for the last 15 years so it’s part of my process when designing a season,” Coca tells Vogue ahead of the February 13 launch. Eagle-eyed fashion fans will have spied opticals on Mulberry’s models in past catwalk shows, as Coca has used the accessory “to complete the silhouette and give the attitude of the season”. It was not until a license agreement with Italian eyewear specialist De Rigo was signed, however, that a production process began in earnest.

The frames fall into categories that each complement the ’60s-inspired spring/summer 2019 collection. “This was an era when distinctive eyewear silhouettes became synonymous with their wearers,” Coca shares of his sojourn to the Mod mood of the decade when researching the ready-to-wear. “We also looked at modern icons and the attitude that comes with wearing sunglasses. The bold styles add a fresh, playful edge to these retro influences.”

The 11 Definitive Accessories Trends Of Spring/Summer 2019

The Kate, Jane, Emma, Charlotte and Gian styles come in chunky acetate, while Tony and Lenny are shaped from a lightweight metal wire. Enyd, a hybrid silhouette, also borrows the colour palette from the mainline collection and comes in hibiscus red and sorbet pink, as well as sensible blacks and metallics.

Is Coca confident he has created something different from the myriad sunglasses collections in the competitive accessories market? “They reinforce Mulberry’s statement and DNA,” he states matter-of-factly of not creating a flash-in-the-pan product. Consumer response to his reinvigorated accessories – leather goods have thus far been a priority – has been positive. “I think our customers can see a consistency across all the categories, which aim to keep the Britishness, protect the heritage and progress with modernity”. Tapping into Mulberry’s quintessential country roots again will no doubt appeal to an international audience too. Coca, from Spain via Paris to Somerset, is a savvy businessman indeed.

Mulberry’s New London Store Is A Paean To The British Landscape

Priced from £190-£220, the sunglasses will be available to purchase at Mulberry.com from February 13 and from an immersive installation at the Regent Street flagship store during London Fashion Week.

Why Miley Cyrus Attended Liam Hemsworth’s Latest Premiere On His Behalf

Miley Cyrus stepped up for her husband Liam Hemsworth, while stepping out in a striking red Valentino gown for the premiere of his latest film, Isn’t It Romantic in Los Angeles last night.

Cyrus – who paired her ruffled gown with matching rouge lips, a high ponytail and a cluster of heavy diamond rings – represented her husband as he was unable to attend due to health issues. “He’s down. He’s not feeling well right now,” Cryus told Variety on the red carpet. “He just had some health things, and I think that’s the most important [thing] – that [as] entertainers, we have a really hard time taking care of ourselves… This movie is the most important thing to him so I had to be here to represent it.”

Miley Cyrus And Liam Hemsworth Make First Public Appearance As Husband And Wife

Cyrus later took to Instagram to shout out to Hemsworth: “So proud of my hunky hubby Liam Hemsworth and his latest movie Isn’t It Romantic. He, unfortunately, wasn’t able to attend due to health reasons… but he is recovering and taking time to rest/heal,” she wrote.

Hemsworth also took to Instagram to praise his wife for attending the premiere without him. “Sorry I couldn’t make it to the Isn’t It Romantic premiere tonight guys. Been dealing with some pretty annoying health stuff the last couple of days. Lucky I have the best girl in the world to represent for me!” he wrote.

Cyrus and Hemsworth married in private in December after dating on and off for 10 years. Since then, they have made only one public appearance together at the 16th annual G’Day USA Gala in Los Angeles.

The rom-com, which follows the life of Natalie, a New York-based architect who finds herself in an alternative universe after being mugged, comes just in time for Valentine’s Day, airing in the UK on February 28 on Netflix.

Miley Cyrus Marries Liam Hemsworth In Vivienne Westwood

The 5 Denim Styles To Invest In This Season

If there’s one thing you can rely on every season, it’s denim. In jeans, in jumpsuits, in skirts, in jackets, this hardy fabric is the ultimate wardrobe pillar. A support act as fabulous as Rachel Weisz in The Favourite, that can be worn any which way for a multitude of moments.

While it can be easy to fall in love with one pair – and then wear them every day for the foreseeable future – there is so much more to be had by embracing all the styles that are trending today.

The 5 Items Real Parisians Are Wearing This Winter

For the summer ahead, there’s a retro feel to denim. Whether it be a skinny in an ’80s bleach wash or a pair of baggy boyfriends that could be straight out of an NSYNC music video – there’s a nostalgic mood in the way to wear jeans right now.

Make these five pairs your starting point.

The Wide Leg

The pair to reach for on easy Sundays. The wide leg jean is an easy option that works best with oversized layering and chunky shoes that add to the oversized luxe of this silhouette. Wide leg jeans, £29.99 at Zara.com.

The Baggy Jean

Here’s a new shape to try this season. Don’t let the proportions intimidate here, but instead embrace the louche fit that should slip over the body and then graze along the ankle. The waist will fall lower than perhaps you’re used to so team it with your existing favourites before upgrading to a sheer long-sleeved top in the spring. Balloon boyfriend jeans, £42 at Topshop.com.

The Mom Jean

A wardrobe classic now that is probably already a part of your collection of denim. Wear now with the tie-dye trend that dominated the SS19 catwalks for a fresh take on a well-loved pairing. Slim Mom jeans, £35.99 at Mango.com.

The Skinny Jean

Back in bleach, the skinny jean is making a triumphant return this season. Don’t wear in the day, instead think of this second-skin silhouette as your going out go-to, best worn with a frilled blouse or Bardot neckline for the ultimate in ’80s referencing. Good American slim-fit skinny jean, £160 at Selfridges.com.

The Straight Jean

This is the pair you’ll struggle to take off. The looser fit here adds a contemporary edge to the usual T-shirt and jeans look we all enjoy. Try wearing with barely-there kitten heel sandals and a jaunty handbag all summer long. Straight leg jeans, £40 at Topshop.com.

The 11 Best Designer Items Under £800 To Buy Now

Will No Deal Brexit mean your passport is out of date? 

Will a No Deal Brexit mean your passport is out of date? Here are the key facts for holidaymakers

  • HM Passport Office has issued a warning for Britons to check their passports
  • The service checks if passports will be valid if Britain leaves the EU with no deal
  • Home Office admits a pre-Brexit rush may trigger delays for passport renewals

Neil Simpson For The Mail On Sunday

Were you one of the thousands of people who received a text message from HM Passport Office last week? Many believed it was a scam but it was, in fact, a Government warning for people to check that their passports will be valid if we crash out of the EU with no deal.

The texts direct people to a new ‘passport-checker’ service on the official Gov.uk website. Fail the test and fail to renew your passport in time and you could be turned back at the border of any of the EU’s Schengen Zone countries this summer – including holiday destinations such as France, Greece, Spain and Portugal.

And while most of the focus of the Government’s publicity is on those whose passports expire in the next six months, a little-known rule means you can be affected even if the expiry date comes much later.

Genuine warnings: One of the Passport Office texts

Genuine warnings: One of the Passport Office texts

Key facts holidaymakers MUST know now

1. The alerts are worst-case-scenario warnings that apply if we leave the EU without a deal. If this is the case, it’s likely passports must be at least six months from their expiry date to be valid for travel in the Schengen Zone. At the moment (and if we strike an exit deal before March 29), you can have a week in Europe even if your UK passport expires the following month.

2. The Schengen Zone’s six-month rule will assume that the passport lasts for the standard ten years. But some British passports last for almost 11 years – because in the past the Government added up to nine months to a new passport if you renewed your old one before you needed to. That means a passport issued on April 1, 2009, could have an expiry date of January 1, 2020. But for Schengen entry, it will be treated as if it expires on April 1, 2019. To get a clear picture of how the EU will treat your passport, add nine-and-a-half years to its issue date rather than deducting six months from its expiry date. Or use the official checker at passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.

The text directed people to a new ‘passport-checker’ service on the official Gov.uk website

The text directed people to a new ‘passport-checker’ service on the official Gov.uk website

3. The Home Office admits a pre-Brexit rush may trigger delays for passport renewals. If you apply online, it costs £75.50 to get a new adult passport (£49 for under-16s) and in normal times you should receive it, by post, within three weeks. Apply at a post office and it costs £85 for adults and £58.50 for children and the same three-week target is applied. If No Deal looks likely, issue times could double. In a real emergency there’s also a one-week service for £142 (£122 for children) or same-day services from £177. Get official info at gov.uk (search for passports) at post office branches or at postoffice.co.uk/passport-check-send.

4. Pet passports and UK driving licences may also become invalid in Europe after a No Deal Brexit – and drivers are likely to need an International Driving Permit (£5.50 from post offices). Go to gov.uk and search for ‘pets’ or ‘driving licence and Brexit’ for the latest official advice.


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