Local News

TSA Marks 1-Year Anniversary At RDU With Improved Performance

Posted August 20, 2003

— There are lines out the door into the parking lot. There are huge delays, sometimes causing missed flights. There is your suitcase, open for all to see.

It is all part of air travel after Sept. 11, 2001. The Federal government says it is doing a better job keeping passengers moving a year after taking over at RDU.

They have searched you, rifled through your stuff, even made you take your shoes off. It seems like they do not let anyone slide by.

Last August, the

Transportation Security Administration

took charge at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Most passengers said the Federal screeners are doing a better job than the screeners they replaced.

But, there was that time the power went out.

"They had every single person take their shoes off," passenger Guy McPherson said. "Just to speed things up so that they didn't have to say after it beeped: 'Take your shoes off.' So a lot of people were complaining."

Then there was the time McPherson had to change terminals and go through security twice.

"Both times, they went through my entire bag," he said. "They took everything out, felt around and everything. It is a little invasive."

Nevertheless, said McPherson, passengers have to wait in line for security.

"They have to do their job, you know," he said. "It is something that you have to live with these days. I think more delays come from the airlines than actually the security."

The Transportation Security Administration started with 90 screeners at RDU just more than a year ago. Now, there are 340 working the terminals. The Federal government plans to add 45 by the end of the year.

Airport rush hours, Sunday nights-Monday mornings, still come with big delays at the checkpoints.

The Federal Security Director said the staff is trying to improve, and he is setting the bar higher down the road.

"If five years from now, we're not better than we are today," said Federal Security Director Ron Juhl, "then I hope someone has fired me."

Keep that in mind the next time you dump out your pockets, take off your shoes, open your bags and finally make it through the checkpoint.

The TSA says every checked bag is also screened using Federally mandated explosive detection equipment.


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