Security is a fact of life for airline travel and screening procedures vary from country to country … which leads to this reader mail from Gene R., from Pittsburgh, PA. Gene writes “I just flew home to Pittsburgh from Paris with US Airways, as I have done a few times through Philadelphia. When connecting through Philadelphia I hate that I have to endure security between connecting flights. Why Does The TSA Rescreen Passengers Connecting From Int’l Flights? Isn’t there a better system?”
Gene, I have connected home from international flights via Philadelphia many times, flying with US Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways and Delta. It doesn’t matter what airline you fly, all the international flights empty into the same arrivals hall at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). The reason passengers must be rescreened by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at PHL is simple, when connecting from an international flight in the United States, not just at PHL, passengers are required to pass through immigrations and customs, which involves claiming and rechecking baggage before proceeding to their next flight.
Passengers are considered to be in a “sterile” area after they have passed through an airport security checkpoint, going from the “land side” to the “airside” of the terminal. Upon collecting checked baggage, following an international flight, passengers are no longer in a sterile area as they have access to the contents of their checked baggage. Access to checked baggage gives passengers the opportunity to transfer items prohibited from carry-on from their checked baggage.
As frustrating as it can be for passengers to collect their checked baggage, recheck their checked baggage and endure TSA rescreening, it is a necessary process for inbound international passengers connecting flights, especially those connecting to domestic flights.
In many foreign countries passengers connecting from an international flight to an international flight do not need to pass through immigrations and customs, or be rescreened by airport security … however …
… passengers flying internationally connecting to a domestic flight, as you did when you flew CDG-PHL-PIT, passengers must undergo immigrations and customs at their point of entry at every airport I know of around the world. Allowing a passenger to connect from an international flight to a domestic flight without clearing immigrations and customs might make connections easier, but it would allow travelers to entirely bypass passport control and customs.
I hope this clear this up for you!