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Air Travelers Brace for More Complicated Airport Procedures

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Changes are in store for air travelers come New Year's Day.That is when airports will begin screening checked luggage forexplosives.

The methods will vary -- machine, human hands or dogs, but airline consultant Michael Boyd said the changes are bound to create problems, maybe even "total chaos."

Officials at

Raleigh-Durham International

said the airport will meet Wednesday's deadline to screen all checked baggage for explosives.

Federal screeners at RDU learned how to use new explosive detection machines over the weekend. RDU has 11 of the detectors which are located in the terminal lobby and in some parts of the airport. In other places, they are behind the scenes.

At more than 40 airports, including Wilmington and Charlotte, travelers with only carry-on bags can no longer go straight to the gate. They have to check in at the ticket counter or a kiosk to get a boarding pass.

Sixteen big-bomb detection machines are being delivered to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

The aviation director said the airport is a madhouse. Jerry Orr said he hopes the situation will not delay any airplanes.

Even with the new measures, screeners may still check bags by hand.Screeners will leave a note in bags opened during hand searches.

The Transportation Security Administration has a few packing suggestions to make thing easier:

  • Put personal items, like toothbrushes, in a plastic bag so screeners do not touch them.
  • Do not pack film, the machine will destroy it.
  • Pack shoes on top of clothing, instead of underneath, so the machine can see them clearly.
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