COLUMBIA — Heightened security following an alleged attempted terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day went unnoticed by passengers who arrived at Columbia Regional Airport on Sunday.
Four passengers who flew from Memphis to Columbia on Northwest Flight 3172 on Sunday afternoon said they were not subjected to any change in security procedures at the airport.
Sonya Jagwani who was screened in Mississippi and Memphis said she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, despite news that tighter restrictions were to be imposed on domestic and international flights after an alleged attempted bomb attack Friday.
A Nigerian man on Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit was arrested and charged with trying to blow up the plane. An explosive device sewn into the man's underwear created a flash bomb that was extinguished by passengers and airline crew members, according to earlier reports.
The Transportation Safety Administration announced Sunday that passengers could expect additional security measures such as increased gate screening, pat-downs and bag searches.
TSA also noted that passengers might be asked to remain seated during the final portion of a flight without access to carry-on baggage.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also posted a statement warning airline passengers of "additional screening measures for all domestic and international flights to ensure the continued safety of the traveling public."
Napolitano advised that "these measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same thing everywhere. Due to the busy holiday travel season, both domestic and international travelers should allot extra time for check-in."
Air Canada said on its Web site that new regulations were in place to prevent passengers and crew from leaving their seats, accessing carry-on luggage or having personal items in their laps during the last hour of the flight.
Air Canada and American Airlines Web sites also noted that international passengers are allowed to bring only one piece of carry-on luggage on board and that stepped-up screening measures will be in place.
Airlines are advising passengers to show up early for international flights to compensate for the increased security.
American Airlines recommends arriving at least three hours before any international flight to the United States.