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Scanners not a factor for holiday travelers at Columbia Regional Airport

Monday, December 13, 2010 | 11:39 a.m. CST; updated 11:59 a.m. CST, Monday, December 13, 2010

COLUMBIA — The manager of Columbia Regional Airport is anticipating a rush of holiday travel but expects passengers will have no major problems with security protocols.

Airport Manager Andrew Schneider said he's expecting high turnout for holiday travel in Columbia.

“I suspect it will be a busy traveling season,” Schneider said. “Our numbers are way up, and people are still traveling.”

Schneider estimated more than 3,000 people will fly out of Columbia this month, and he said the total for the year should be 36,000 to 37,000.

News coverage of holiday travel this year has focused largely on the Transportation Security Administration's new policies and scanners. Schneider acknowledged there has been a lot of anger toward the TSA's new policies. 

“TSA is kind of getting a bad rap because of the new scanning technology and the pat downs,” Schneider said. “Here they’re courteous, and the line goes pretty fast.”

Schneider said there have been few complaints and no major incidents involving passengers and TSA at Columbia Regional Airport.

“We don’t have the scanning technology now, so you’re not going to run into it here,” Schneider said. “Will it be coming? I don’t know. That is really TSA’s thing.”

TSA's new scanners and pat downs have stirred controversy amid complaints that the measures are overly invasive. TSA put out a statement on Nov. 21 reminding passengers that the new policies are intended to ensure safe travel.

Schneider blames the media for the public backlash against TSA.

“I think they kind of inflated it,” Schneider said. “I’ve never talked to somebody that was violated by TSA. That to me is a rarity, if ever.”

TSA at the airport deferred comment to their headquarters, which did not respond to requests for information.

Amy Rapp, who was at the airport last week and has been traveling across the country looking at medical residency programs, is indifferent about the new body scanners.

“I got scanned with the new scanners in San Antonio,” Rapp said. “They were fast … it just scans you. You don’t really know what’s going on.”

Still, Rapp said, she'd prefer not to be scanned again.

Schneider said passengers don't consider TSA when deciding whether to fly.

“The first three things that people look at when you go to book your ticket are: What is the price? What is the price? And what is the price?” Schneider said. “That is standard because more people are price conscious.”

Overall, Schneider believes if you prepare for flights, security won’t be a problem.

“If you do a little bit of homework before you fly and make sure you’re ready, it makes things a lot easier."


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Comments

John Schultz December 13, 2010 | 1:01 p.m.

Glad to see that Mr. Schneider has adopted the "Nothing to see here" mantra, that's great customer service. Luckily I don't have to fly for business and most of my family is within Missouri, so I'll be driving on any trips for the foreseeable future.

(Report Comment)
Tom Jenks December 13, 2010 | 2:56 p.m.

“They were fast … it just scans you. You don’t really know what’s going on.”

I think this comment singles out what is wrong with the TSA and their new scanners. They don't want people to know what is going on. They just want you to shut up and move along.

Most people would be appalled to know how much detail of their naked body the TSA operators were looking at in the back room. Even their own operators got into a fist fight after one operator commented on the length of another operator's "junk". TSA lied when they said the pictures could not be stored. Millions of tax payer dollars are being spent on equipment that still can be easily circumvented. Even the Pilots Association urged their members to avoid the scanners due to radiation exposure before the TSA allowed pilots to skip the scan. The only reason the TSA is so stubborn in its ways is because of certain members of congress being on the payroll of the equipment manufacturer making all this money selling airports the scanning equipment.

Simply put, this new technology creates a bunch of serious privacy issues while not providing a significant increase in security, at a significant cost to tax payers, of which a big portion of that money goes directly in the pockets of the policy makers themselves.

(Report Comment)
Christine Carrier December 14, 2010 | 3:41 p.m.

If the Pilots Association has concerns about the safety of full body scanners, so do I. I should think frequent fliers would be even more concerned about potential health concerns.

I don't know if the incidents I've viewed on the web are a rarity or a commonplace occurrence. I only know they were intrusive and punitive, and the paying public should never be made to feel they have traded off their rights to be treated with dignity and decorum, all for the price of an airline ticket.

(Report Comment)
Chris Cady December 14, 2010 | 6:19 p.m.

I would just like to point out that the radiation dose to the passenger from the scanner is approximately equal to the increase in cosmic radiation (as a result of altitude) received in *two minutes* of your flight. If you're worried about it you shouldn't be flying at all. Fact is, people who do those risk assessments for a living have determined that it is, in a word, inconsequential.

(Report Comment)

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