Passengers were up in arms in Beijing when they were suddenly told they would have to remove their shoes and belts in order to pass through Level 2 security checks at the capital's airport. At Shanghai's Pudong and Hongqiao airports and other airports around the country the story was the same.
A number of the nation's airports were quietly instructed to implement Level 2 security checks starting on the morning of August 28.
Chengdu Shuangliu Airport was among them, and local media apparently didn't find out about the change until passengers started microblogging about it.
A staff explained that each check could take up to a minute with the new rules, compared to just a few seconds per passenger previously. However, the staff member added, with the hot weather, many passengers are wearing shorts and sandals, rather than jeans and boots, which take longer to pass through inspection.
In order to prevent bottlenecks, all security check gates were open on August 29, when a Chengdu Evening Post reporter went to investigate the scene. Nearly 200 passengers were in line to pass through at 3 p.m. On average, three passengers passed through per minute. There were conflicting reports as to whether any passengers missed flights due to the new security checks on that day, with Chengdu Evening Post saying none had and Chengdu Morning Post saying some had, and that some flights had been delayed.
A security personnel at the Shuangliu Airport told the Chengdu Commercial Daily that the Level 2 security checks will continue for "several days" and likely end on Sept. 7.
A Level 2 security check requires passengers to remove their shoes and belts before passing through the security check. Additionally, some checked luggage will be inspected manually. Normally, Level 3 security checks are carried out at airports across China. Level 1 checks involve x-rays and all items being manually checked by security personnel.