The United States Department of Homeland Security has raised the terror alert level to Red (Severe) for the first time. The red alert applies only to international commercial flights from the United Kingdom to the United States, while the alert has been raised to Orange (High) for all U.S. commercial air travel. This after U.K. authorities uncovered a highly-developed terrorist plot to blow up U.S. airliners.

The overall U.S. terror alert level remains at Yellow (Elevated), and the United Kingdom government has raised its alert level to Critical—its equivalent of the U.S. government’s red alert.

As a result of this threat, air travelers should expect increased security screening and allow extra time. Passengers on flights out of the U.K. are currently required to check all luggage, and other restrictions may apply depending on your departure/arrival locations.

The plot, which involved smuggling liquid explosives onto flights in terrorists’ carry-on luggage, was uncovered by British authorities who arrested 24 suspected participants. According to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, the plot was in its final stages and was ‘suggestive’ of being connected to al Qaeda.

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Scott Bradford has been building web sites and using them to say what he thinks since 1995, which tended to get him in trouble with power-tripping assistant principals at the time. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University, but has spent most of his career (so far) working on public- and private-sector web sites. He is not a member of any political party, and brands himself an ‘independent constitutional conservative.’ In addition to holding down a day job and blogging about challenging subjects like politics, religion, and technology, Scott is also a devout Catholic, gun-owner, bike rider, and music lover with a wife, two cats, and a dog.