New security guidelines have little impact at Columbia Regional Airport

Monday, December 28, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST
Donna Palmeter, left, and her daughter Jessica Furse, right, say their goodbyes at the Columbia Regional Airport on Sunday. Despite an attempted terror attack on a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day, Furse and her husband still chose to fly from their home in Atlanta. "They feel pretty secure," Palmeter said.

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.

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Ellis Smith December 28, 2009 | 6:17 a.m.

Perhaps the new regulations are only intended to apply to real airports.

(Report Comment)
Bryan Furse August 16, 2010 | 11:45 a.m.

You gotta love reporters! They waited until we (the travellers) left for our flight, and then asked the mom left behind for informaton. Donna had no way of knowing! lol

If the reporter had taken two seconds to turn around and take a gander (since the waiting area and security are right next to each other, with a clear line of sight between them), they would have seen us being patted down, our luggage emptied and thoroughly examined and our baby's milk being tested for explosive compounds. There was more, but I don't remember what else; it was truly intense.

A change in security? OH YES!!! They apparently didn't want to be the tiny airport that let the terrorists, cleverly disguised as a budding family (complete with actual baby), onto a small plane that wouldn't make the news, even if it was flown directly into Barrack Obama's bedroom. In other words, they were taking no chances.

This was obvious, had the reporter been paying attention. This is why I don't pay heed to any media news. It's all about getting a story; the facts really have nothing to do with anything for them... and sadly so. The news media have no interest in being informative, they only want to entertain you and satify your desire to hear certain things.

(Report Comment)

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