Travelers Forced to Throw Out Liquids
Thursday, August 10, 2006; 10:40 PM
BOSTON -- Airline passengers around the country stood in line for hours and airport trash bins bulged with everything from mouthwash and shaving cream to maple syrup and fine wine Thursday in a security crackdown prompted by the discovery of a terror plot in Britain.
U.S. authorities banned the carrying of liquids onto flights after the arrest of 24 people in an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound planes using explosives disguised as drinks and other common products.
The restrictions forced people to unpack their carry-on bags on the floor in the middle of terminals to remove the prohibited items. Some travelers tried to squeeze makeup, sunscreen and other toiletries into their checked baggage, where liquids were permissible.
But people without checked bags or those who had already given their luggage to their airline had to throw out the banned items.
"It's very frustrating. I'm no terrorist," said Alison Phillips as she struggled to repack her suitcase in Tampa, Fla., after removing all liquids for her return flight to Jamaica.
Other security measures were also ramped up at airports across the nation. Gov. Mitt Romney sent the National Guard to help patrol Boston's Logan Airport for the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks, when terrorists hijacked two planes from there and flew them into the World Trade Center. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Gov. George Pataki of New York also activated the National Guard.
"That's part of the price you pay for traveling during a time like this," said Julius Ibraheem, 26, a college counselor from Chicago, as he stared at the long lines leading toward security checkpoints at O'Hare Airport.
At Newark Airport in New Jersey, one security checkpoint line stretched the entire length of the terminal _ roughly six football fields. At Baltimore/Washington Airport, security workers opened every carry-on bag that passed through one terminal, and all morning flights were delayed.
"It's better alive than dead," said Bob Chambers, whose flight from Baltimore to Detroit for a business meeting was delayed more than an hour. "It's inconvenient, but we'll make it."
Maya Bodinson, 12, flew with her father on the first plane from Heathrow to Kennedy Airport in New York after British authorities reported the plot. She said the scariest moment came when her flight was midway across the Atlantic Ocean.
"That was when the bombs were supposed to go off, if there were any," she said.
Passengers arriving from London at Washington's Dulles International Airport were largely unconcerned about their security, even though their flight may have been a prime target.