Nation's Airports on Orange Alert

The nation's airports are on orange alert and passengers in Houston are responding positively to the delays and tight security measures. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports.

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Passengers arriving at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport today were greeted with this message.

"Due to heightened security measures, passengers may not have liquids or gels of any size at the screening checkpoint or in the cabin of the aircraft. Thank you for your cooperation and patience while these security measures are in effect."

The restriction on liquids and gels applies to everything from hand lotion to bottled water. For many passengers, it meant repacking some bags and removing items from carry-on luggage. Melyn Bates is flying to Trinidad today. She arrived at the airport more than three hours before her flight and says she has some apprehension about flying.

"I am concerned and I'm trying to take precautions by obeying what they're saying about, you know the liquids not in your suitcases and stuff like that. I saw the news this morning and my liquids I took out, my make-up I took out. I am concerned."

It's unclear how long the orange alert will be in effect or how long the restriction on liquids will be in place. Houston Airport System Deputy Director of Public Security Mark Mancuso says they have staffed up airport security personnel, law enforcement and the federal law enforcement contingent at the airport.

"Our airport security officers are positioned on the departure ramps and are meeting and greeting passengers as they get out of their cars, asking them to take their liquids and anything like that and put it into their checked luggage where it's perfectly safe."

While lines at security have been longer than normal and security measures are amped up, most passengers weren't upset by the changes. Trey Denmon and his family were preparing to leave for Nassau. He says it's comforting to see the extra security efforts.

"I think everybody appreciates what's being done to fight terror."

Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...