Saturday, January 19, 2002

Airport lines move smoothly


New rules mandate more thorough baggage checks across nation

By James Pilcher, The Cincinnati Enquirer
and The Associated Press

        HEBRON — For all the warnings and fears that a new requirement to scan all checked airline luggage for explosives would create chaos, operations proceeded nearly without a hitch Friday at the local airport.

        Passengers both arriving and departing the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport reported few, if any, problems checking their bags or with security in general.

        One visible sign of security was airline and airport workers conducting hand searches of passengers who were picked at random — a policy in place in the weeks since Sept. 11.

        “I'd rather they do that than nothing,” said Breckie Easley of Anderson Township. She was traveling to Philadelphia to visit her grandfather when she and her mother, Ty, were pulled aside for a hand search.

        Ms. Easley's mother said that they were pulled at random after trying to check their bags curbside.

        “They were very thorough. They pulled open my compact and even unwrapped a bottle of wine that we had packed in bubble wrap,” Mrs. Easley said.

        Other than occasional hand searches, operations continued as normal in front of the counter Friday, the deadline for airlines and airports to scan all checked luggage for bombs.

        Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration said they were standing by to enforce the new regulations.

        FAA spokesman Christopher White also said that all airlines and airports were complying with the rule in the southern region, which includes the Cincinnati airport.

        Airline and airport officials were given one of four ways to screen luggage — bag matching, or making sure a bag is not loaded if its owner doesn't board a flight; bomb dogs; hand searches, or explosive detection systems. Cincinnati does not have such an electronic system.

        Nationally, the scene appeared to be the same as at the local airport. Some airports experienced further delays, especially in Boston, from where the two planes that destroyed the World Trade Center towers departed.

        “We're very hopeful we will not see chaos,” said Carol Hallett, president of the Air Transport Association, the airlines' main trade group.

       



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