Local News

Passengers Return To RDU, Encounter Stringent Security

Posted September 15, 2001 12:20 p.m. EDT

— Passengers returned to

Raleigh-Durham International Airport

Friday to find much tighter security and longer waits. Many also encountered flight delays and cancellations.

As of Friday night, only about 25 percent of flights were operating out of Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The terminal is quieter, of course, and the curbside is clear. At RDU, like every other airport in the United States, it is a new day.

Air travel is now like filling out a 100 page questionnaire -- it is time consuming.

"I guess we don't have a lot of choice," passenger John Volz concedes.

RDU passengers are being subjected to extensive luggage checks which can take as much as 30 minutes.

"I left the office two hours early yesterday, in order to get to the airport to go through this, so if you put it in economic terms, it's huge," said Volz.

Dr. John Kasarda is a management professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. He said consumers will eventually foot the bill for the new security measures.

"Aviation will not be the same. The type of people that check at the security station that go into the gate areas, their standards are going to be raised. They are going to have to be paid more," Kasarda said.

Security measures extend curbside, where law enforcement officers are keeping watch. So are towtruck drivers, making sure traffic keeps moving. Also gone are the days of saying goodbye at the gates. Security, not convenience, is the priority.

"Product will not move as fast between points and overall cost will go up as result of inventory, and their may be some shortages of products when they're needed as a result of the slowdown of the movement," Kasarda said.

Kasarda also said that while the industry is in a down cycle, RDU is in a particularly good position because it is in the middle of an expansion. Planners have the ability to plan a terminal which is not only security-conscious but user-friendly as well.

If you are planning to fly in the next few days, it is best to call your airline first before heading to the airport. Also, prepare to arrive at least two hours early because of the increased security requirements.

The new security regulations are as follows:

  • No terminal curbside parking - drop off and pick up only.
  • No unattended vehicles allowed on the terminal curbs. Towing will be enforced.
  • No curbside check-in.
  • All e-ticketed and regular ticketed passengers must report to the ticket counters to check in.
  • Only passengers with tickets will be allowed beyond the security checkpoints.
  • Absolutely no knives will be allowed beyond the security checkpoints, including pocket knives.
  • Passengers may be subject to random luggage and ID checks.
  • Passengers may be subject to physical searches with their consent.
  • There are also some parking restrictions. In order to comply with the FAA security regulations, RDU has blocked off approximately 1,200 parking spaces in hourly lots for Terminals A and C and in part of the daily C lot. Signs and barriers will indicate which parking areas have been closed.