Heightened security at Tulsa International Airport means longer waits

Friday, December 21st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Nearly 54 million people will be traveling for Christmas and New Year's. 11.5-million of them will catch a plane to their holiday destination. With heightened security, many of us may be confused about what's acceptable and what's not when boarding that plane.

Round and round they go, what's inside, only security knows. Millions of bags will be loaded onto planes this holiday travel season. Security is checking those bags, and in some cases, checking them twice. Passenger Judy Burd, "On the way here, I forgot to take out the extra battery for the cell phone, so my purse went through a few times. It was very long lines."

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, airport security confiscated just about anything that might be questionable. That's slacked off since then, but travelers should be aware of what's okay to pack, and what isn’t. Here are some common items that will pass the security test for carry-on bags. Nail clippers, syringes, safety and disposable razors, tweezers, walking canes and umbrellas. Some things you may want to leave at home or check with your luggage, any kind of knife, box cutters, metal scissors, corkscrews, metal nail files, golf clubs and ski poles.

Southwest Airlines tells us the most common items that security has to remove from carry-on bags are pocketknives and mace. There are some options if security finds a forbidden item among your belongings. You can have security dispose of it, make arrangements to mail it to your destination, include it with your checked luggage or have security keep it until you return.

Passenger Mark VanHaverbeke has had some experience with the new security measures before. "I had a nail file on a nail clipper. They broke it off. A little gold nail clipper and they broke it off. "Same trip, they took a couple of jewelers' screwdrivers out of it that I need for work." And, you know those Christmas gifts you're taking along? You'll want to wrap them later.

Whether it's in a checked bag or a carry-on item, any wrapped package can be unwrapped and searched by security or the airline. But, most passengers say it's worth it. "I think they have to do what they have to do and it's alright with me. It's a pain, but better that." A few other things to remember before you head for the airport. Airlines will allow only one carry-on item and a smaller personal item, including that bag of gifts. Three is the limit when it comes to checked baggage, plus one piece of sporting equipment.

And, be prepared to show your ID at the ticket counter as well as at the gate before boarding.