Did you pack your bags yourself?

Did anyone ask you to carry anything on board?And, by the way, whom should we notify in case of an "incident"?

Starting today at the Salt Lake International Airport and other U.S. airports that handle international flights, all U.S. citizens traveling to or from America will be asked extra questions similar to those above.

They must give their full names to the airlines and they have the option of providing the names of their next of kin or somebody to contact in case the plane crashes.

While raising this scary specter isn't exactly a welcome development for an industry that euphemistically refers to such things as "water landings," airlines are taking the new law in stride.

Each has been permitted to come up with its own language to inform passengers about the new rules.

United Airlines tested its questions earlier at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., with good results, said United spokesman Joe Hopkins.

"It has worked well. People just get used to this. It's just like the safety announcements we make," Hopkins said. "It's going to be routine."

The Aviation Security Act of 1990 took eight years to make its way through Congress and at one time there were plans to request travelers' Social Security numbers, but that particular proposal was dropped.

The law and its rules, enforced by the Department of Transportation, now apply only to international flights. But the measure could be expanded in the future to include domestic flights.

Some airlines are getting this information at the time reservations are made, but others are asking passengers to fill out forms at the gate - which some fliers might see as just one more hassle.

Tracey Bowen, spokeswoman for Delta Airlines, said Delta will collect the information three ways: at the time reservations are made, or at the airport where passengers can fill out information cards, or in the case of charter flights, by modifying the charter flight manifests to make room for next of kin information.

She doesn't anticipate any problems with passenger delays.

"Right now, since we've changed our check-in process to stop at the gate to show a photo ID, this is just one additional item for them to do as they check in," Bowen said.

United Airlines' Hopkins said the law requires U.S. citizens flying internationally to provide their first names and middle initials as well as their last names. Often, the airlines have this information anyway, but in the past not every traveler used full first names.

The other measure is voluntary on the passenger's part: list a relative or friend not traveling with you, that person's address and telephone number on the back of a boarding pass.

The information can be written down at the gate or ticket lobby.

White-knuckle fliers can simply refrain from filling out the back of the boarding pass if they choose. However, airline employees are required to bring the next-of-kin concept to the attention of travelers.

The idea for this was prompted by the explosion of Pan Am Flight 102 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, which killed 259 people. U.S. government agencies and the airline made many missteps in notifying families but said that the plane's manifest didn't include adequate information.

That situation has been repeated several times in recent years including such crashes as TWA's Flight 800, which exploded off Long Island and plunged into the Atlantic in July 1996, killing all 230 people aboard. That particular situation produced outrage among many bereaved relatives who endured long and emotionally wrenching delays before discovering whether their loved ones were involved.

"It is going to be useful to have the information in the event there is some kind of an incident. It will be easier to contact people. There is some logic behind it," Hopkins said.

For United Airlines, this will affect about 200 of the airline's 2,300 daily flights.

However, that could change dramatically if the government extends the rule to include domestic flights.

Linda Hamilton, corporate site manager for Murdock Travel's main office, doesn't see the new federal rules as that troublesome.

Some other, new airline policies that are coming down the line could be more problematic.

For example, as of Thursday, KLM and Northwest Airlines will require the names on tickets to be identical to those on passports for international travelers. Frequently, people are casual about the names they provide for buying tickets and don't check what is listed on their passports. Making a last-minute change to coordinate the two could be rough.