U.S. Travelers Adjusting to New Airport Rules

'Things are running very well for a Friday' at O'Hare, said United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski.


After a day of long lines and confusion, travelers arriving at U.S. airports Friday were better prepared for new rules, tighter security and bans on liquids of all types.

Rather than filling trash cans at security checkpoints with now-banned bottles of makeup, perfume and suntan lotion, travelers were packing those items in their checked luggage instead.

That helped shrink security check lines for domestic flights to lengths closer to normal Friday morning at Miami International Airport, spokesman Greg Chin said. Operations at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport were back to normal, with security line waits between 30 and 60 minutes, said Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lara Uselding.

"Things are running very well for a Friday" at O'Hare, said United Airlines spokeswoman Robin Urbanski.

The new rules were hastily added early Thursday after British authorities arrested 24 people in an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound planes by using explosives disguised as common liquids. It wasn't clear how long they would remain in effect, though Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., said the situation "eliminates the days of carry-on baggage."

Security was tightest on flights to and from the United Kingdom, with more items banned and additional luggage checks for passengers. Some long lines formed ahead of Miami's early international departures Friday, but they quickly cleared out, Chin said.

Kingsley Veal, 35, a geologist from England, said his Continental flight from London's Heathrow airport to San Francisco was "long and boring" because, under British flight restrictions, he couldn't bring any books or music on board. But he thought the no-carry-on policy should always be in effect.

"If no one's allowed anything, then you'd know, right?" Veal said.

Incoming flights from London were delayed about 50 minutes at O'Hare, Urbanski said.

But she said people also didn't appear to be ditching their upcoming travel plans. "We are not seeing any change in bookings ... nothing out of ordinary," she said.

At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, about 3,700 of an estimated 51,000 travelers missed their flights because of lines and delays on Thursday, when 164 flights were delayed, said airport spokesman Bob Parker.

Traffic was moving more smoothly at New York's major airports on Friday, where the morning flight delays were generally no more than 15 minutes, said Tiffany Townsend, a spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

From London to Los Angeles, travelers on Thursday had found themselves unpacking carry-on bags on the floor in the terminals. Some tried to squeeze makeup, sunscreen and other toiletries into their checked baggage, where liquids were permissible. Others filled up the bins at security checkpoints, abandoning everything from nail polish to a bottle of tequila.

"I literally lost about $50 or $60 worth of things we were told to throw out," said Terry Asbury, who flew into Cincinnati from Albuquerque, N.M., and found herself dumping all her cosmetics.

At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Kristin Reinke, of Champlin, Minn., complained to her husband, Mike Reinke, "I just threw out $34 worth of hand lotion."

He was sympathetic, but accepted the Transportation Security Administration's reasons for the ban.

"What are you going to do?" he said. "I guess you have to be safe."

Amanda Volz, a TSA screener in Minneapolis, said she hoped more travelers would take that attitude Friday.

"There's some moaning and groaning, and a few people who get angry, but once you explain it to them, they are more lenient about giving it up," Volz said. "You just try to make them understand that it's for their safety."

The ban on liquids and gels covered such things as shampoo, toothpaste, contact lens solution, perfume and water bottles. The only exceptions were for baby formula and medications, which had to be presented for inspection at security checkpoints. Liquids are allowed in checked bags because those suitcases are screened for explosives and are stowed in the cargo hold beyond passengers' reach.

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