Airlines Take Precaution Following Foiled Alleged Terror Plot
The terror threat level has been elevated to its highest levels Thursday. British authorities say they foiled terrorists' plans to blow up planes headed to the U.S. from London's Heathrow Airport. Airline passengers have to throw out or repack some of their carry-on items by order of the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration.
People traveling by plane have been told they can not carry any liquids, gels or creams past security check points. This includes all beverages and items like shampoos, hand lotions and toothpaste. Those with prescription medicines matching their ticket are allowed, and breast milk or formula only if a child is present.
Patrick Kreiser is from Athens, Ohio, and had not heard about the terror level increase. Kreiser, who recently had laser eye surgery, tried to explain to a TSA worker why he needed to carry on eye drops. The explanation failed.
"They're over the counter, so the only thing I could think of is to call the doctor and have him tell them. But I don't know if that would really work. No I don't have any notes or prescriptions. It's an over the counter medicine," Kreiser said.
Kreiser was not the only passenger having to forgo personal items. Boxes were placed at the start of checkpoints. One box held a woman's arthritis cream, eye drops, hand lotion and nasal spray. One man, who was trying not to miss his flight, was throwing away his aftershave, cologne and contact lens solution.
Gloria Williams, a business traveler from Dallas, Texas, is a veteran flier. Williams said this flight was not much out of the ordinary.
"I did make sure that all of my liquids and toiletries were in one bag that I had to make sure was checked. But that was really the only major difference for me. I did arrive earlier so that I could not be held up by any longer lines by those that are not accustomed to traveling. But I do see the heightened security and I think it's great," Williams said.
Lines were running smoothly, and it appeared to be business as usual. Timothy Brown, from Columbus, says check-in was no different than any other flight.
"We were able to get right in and get right out. I saw a little sign up there about some different things. You can't carry any gels, toothpaste, that kind of thing. I saw that sign up. That's the only thing I've seen," Brown said.
And Brown said the increased threat level did not make his nervous about flying.
Deborah Tanaka, from Richwood, Ohio, also said she isn't frightened about flying with a heightened terror threat.
"I don't listen to the news so I can't get worried about it," Tanaka said.
Tanaka was more worried about her barbeque sauce being confiscated by TSA agents.
"Well now I don't know if my barbeque is supposed to go through now or not. Nobody's told me," Tanaka said.
Tanaka's barbeque sauce was allowed to be checked.
More security personnel patrolled the airport. Bomb sniffing dogs were brought in. TSA Federal Security Director at Port Columbus, Thomas Rice, said some of the security personnel in training were also at the airport. Rice is unsure how long the heightened security will last. He said people planning to fly in the upcoming days should arrive at the airport two hours before their flight.