Relaxed Security Bringing Delays

Some airline passengers are still confused about relaxed security regulations regarding liquids and gels that can be carried onto aircraft, creating delays at security checkpoints, the director at McCarran International Airport said Tuesday.

The Transportation Security Administration recently changed the rules about carry-on liquids, gels and aerosol products, allowing passengers to bring 3-ounce containers in one-quart, resealable, transparent plastic bags.

Passengers should place the bags separately with other items in the conveyer tub that passes through X-ray machines at the security checkpoint, Clark County Aviation Director Randall Walker said.

Every day, some 60,000 passengers move through McCarran, the nation's fifth-busiest airport. Even slight delays can result in lines such as those at the D gates that pushed 70 minutes Monday. The waits were the longest since a terrorist threat was discovered in the United Kingdom in August, Walker said.

"If we add two seconds for every passenger, that's 120,000 seconds a day and you start calculating the minutes, you can see how the seconds add up," he said.

Examples of liquids taken from passengers at McCarran included a 16-ounce bottle of Pom pomegranate juice and a 6.8-ounce bottle of Lancôme moisturizing cream. Though the Lancôme bottle was nearly empty, clearly less than 3 ounces, the container exceeded the size limit, Walker said.

"People are confused. They're bringing things they're not supposed to. Containers of 3 ounces or less in a sealed one-quart bag. Some people don't understand the one-quart and resealable bag," the airport director said as he showed one at a news conference. "People brought water bottles and drank them down to 3 ounces."

Bobbie Fuss of Los Angeles said she knew about the 3-ounce rule and that everything had to be in a transparent, plastic bag, but she didn't know the size of the bag. Another passenger at McCarran said he had his toiletries in separate bags because it was unclear from media reports that everything had to be in one bag.

Some individuals are carrying liquid items in other bags and in their coat pockets, said Jose Ralls, federal security director at McCarran.

Photographs of what can be taken through the checkpoints are being shown to passengers so they can better understand the rules, he said. This tactic will not only enhance security, but expedite passengers through security checkpoints, he added.

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