Local News

Extra Security Makes Flying With Children Extra Difficult

Posted December 24, 2003

— Authorities say North Carolina is not a known target. But they are still taking extra precautions here this holiday season -- just in case.

Extra security is most visible in the Triangle at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. And parents traveling with children could be the most-visibly upset about theairport's tighter security measures.

Flying with small children is no picnic. But in this time of ├╝ber security, a lot of parents say taking their kids on an airline flight is not worth the hassle.

"They made me take him out of the carrier," Angel Terzian said, cradling her small son. "He was crying and screaming.

"I had all this luggage. They were losing my stuff. We almost missed our flight."

When parents travel with small children, the Transportation Security Administration requires parents to take their children out of their stroller or carrier, put the stroller or carrier on the conveyor belt along with any bag and coats, and sometimes their belt and shoes.

As one can imagine, it is almost impossible for someone to do all that while holding a child.

Although the TSA provides assistance to elderly and disabled passengers, it has a policy preventing its personnel from assisting parents in any way. They can not hold the child or even the child's hand while a parent complies with security procedures.

Given the security issues, many parents say it is impossible to travel alone with kids.

When asked if she would travel alone again with small children, traveler Maria Granados said: "No ... No. No. No."

One mother walking through RDU on Tuesday had her young daughters on leashes to make her travel experience less stressful -- though she agreed that nothing can take the place of an extra set of hands.

"I wouldn't recommend (using a leash)," Brandy Icard said. "But I didn't have a choice, so I did it."

Said Terzian: "It would be very nice if they would have a separate line for people with children because it takes so long to go through security with a child."

Passengers may ask for a gate pass at the airport to allow another adult to help them with their children through security. Gate passes are given out by the airline at check-in time. But policies differ from airline to airline and airport to airport.


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