What tighter airport security means for you
January 7, 2010 By DAVE MARCUS AND BETH WHITEHOUSE.
If you're planning to fly soon, here is a guide to what you can expect at the airport - and pointers to help you get through it with less hassle.
Marc Abbott flies about 40 times a year for his law practice in Long Beach, so he books flights after 9 a.m. to avoid the morning airport rush. Yet Eric Kaler, Stony Brook University provost and frequent flier, has his own strategy. He won't book the day's last flight. "If that flight is canceled, you're stranded till the next day." Figuring out techniques to cope with the increased security and confusion at airports has become the obsession of business and leisure travelers. Should you pay the extra fees to check bags and skip the carry-ons? Avoid wearing a belt that might trigger a metal detector? How do you beat the competing crowds to get on another flight if yours is delayed or - curses! - canceled? "Pretty soon you're going to have to fly naked if you want to be safe," said Kevin Schatzle, who is on the advisory board of Suspect Detection Systems, an Israeli company that makes airport protection technology. It hasn't come to that yet, but one thing is certain: Fliers need more time than ever to navigate through check-in lines and security screenings since the thwarted Christmas Day plane bombing attempt. While the federal government promises to tighten security at all domestic airports, experts say the real changes will come overseas.
Marie-Helen Maras, a security expert and criminal justice professor at Farmingdale State College, said the emphasis will be on screening passengers coming from 14 countries the U.S. government has linked to terrorism. "There's cause for concern but not for hysteria," said Maras, a former Navy security investigator. "If we want to be safe on a plane, we'll need to get used to being irritated or inconvenienced."
BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME
What if I can't leave my seat?
Hit the call bell. Feign having a foreign object in your eye, which will bring the staff person close enough to your face and allow you to whisper, suggests Daniel Bowe, executive vice president of operations at Arrow Security in Bohemia.
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