Tighter security creating delay at airports
By Brigid Gaffikin, Bay City News Service
August 10, 2006
Authorities at San Francisco International Airport are urging
passengers to arrive two hours early for all departing flights
today and are warning travelers that nobody will be allowed to
bring any liquids on board, Douglas Lyon, airport duty manager,
said this morning.
"It's going to be a very, very difficult travel day,"
The airport has introduced the additional security precautions
following the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's decision
to increase the threat level to orange on all commercial flights
operating in the U.S., including international flights, and to
red on all commercial flights from the United Kingdom to the U.S.
The threat levels have been raised in response to arrests in
the United Kingdom related to "a substantial plot to destroy
multiple passenger aircraft flying from the United Kingdom to
the United States,'' according to a statement issued by Homeland
Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
Passengers should expect delays of around an hour in airport
security lines at SFO, Lyon said.
Domestic and international flights also are delayed by up to
60 minutes, he said.
The lines are unusually long because passengers must unpack and
get rid of any liquids they have in their hand luggage.
"That's what's delaying us," he said.
No beverages are allowed onto planes. The ban also extends to
shampoo, toothpaste, hair gel, sun tan lotion and "other
items of similar consistency," according to the Department
of Homeland Security.
Only passengers with prescription medicines and liquids such
as baby formula are allowed to bring them onto flights.
Prescription medicine labels must match passenger information
and people carrying liquids for young children will probably be
asked to sample them in the presence of security, Lyon said.
Anyone traveling to the United Kingdom should be prepared for
more extensive security screening, according to the Department
of Homeland Security.
Announcements and information posted throughout the airport are
alerting passengers to the liquids ban and passengers are also
being told at check-in about the new restrictions, Lyon said.
Lyon said passengers should check with individual airlines about
the status of their flights, he said.
Travelers at Oakland International Airport are getting through
security lines fairly quickly and there are no significant flight
delays today, airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said.
But there is still the potential for setbacks because of the
need to apply the new security measures, she said.
Adding to the potential confusion at the airport, a power outage
was reported around 8:30 a.m. It has not adversely affected check-in,
security, baggage handling or flight procedures, but the airport
is operating with limited lighting and is still running on generator
power, Barnes said.
Barnes did not have an estimate of when airport power would be
"There's a lot going on here today," she said.
Mineta San Jose International Airport has increased police presence
around the airport this morning, spokeswoman Joanne Sanfilippo
According to San Jose police Sgt. Nick Muyo, airline travelers
can expect delays today due to increased police patrols and random
vehicle searches. Muyo said people might also see police dogs
and officers at checkpoints around the airport.
People using Bay Area Rapid Transit to reach the San Francisco
and Oakland airports might notice slight delays, BART spokesman
Linton Johnson said this morning. BART is conducting security
sweeps of its trains that Johnson said would result in delays
of no more than a minute or two.
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