Extra Security Measures at Airports

The nation's airports are on heightened alert after yesterday's liquid bomb threat was uncovered. As Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports officials at Bush Intercontinental Airport are trying to send the message that security is under control and passengers should not be alarmed.

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The extra security measures at Bush Intercontinental Airport are front and center. Security personnel in bright yellow shirts can be seen at every entrance and roaming the walkways of the airport, creating the sense of a beehive teeming with busy workers. Houston Airport System Deputy Director of Public Safety Mark Mancuso.

"We have staffed up our airport security personnel, law enforcement personnel and the federal law enforcement contingent at the airports."

Many passengers yesterday were caught off guard when told to remove all liquid or gel items from their carry-on luggage. But Mancuso says people have quickly adapted to the new rules and are showing up to the airport with the proper items removed from carry-ons.

"What we're finding right now is that people are meeting this with a positive attitude. Patience, understanding and compliance is what we found, and I might add, appreciation. We believe that the last five years have taught us a number of lessons, among which is that we now have learned how to respond to these situations instead of reacting to them."

Some passengers arriving for international flights were still unclear on all the restrictions. Most everyone knows about the no liquids rules, but there's still some confusion over what exactly can go on the aircraft.

[Passenger]"What about cell phones?" [Airport Employee]"Cell phones are fine. If you can pump it, squeeze it or pour it out of a container, check it in."

The only liquids allowed on flights are prescription medications belonging to the individual who is boarding as well as baby formula, breast milk or juice if the passenger is accompanied by an infant. Mancuso says the airport system is encouraging people to continue to fly and not to skip flights based on fear.

"We think these precautions are positive in nature and we think that the nature of airport security is improved in the last five years. I believe what you can ask yourself today is 'are we more secure today than we were five years ago?' and the answer is 'yes.'"

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...