Tighter Airport Security Appears to Run Smoothly

New airport security procedures seemed to go largely unnoticed by travelers Thursday.

To be sure, at airports around the country, there were the inevitably longer lines of passengers, anxious to get to their holiday destinations. But the security checkpoint changes, notably the return of random secondary searches of passengers, didn't appear to cause significant backups.

Eagan-based Northwest Airlines said the changes had no discernible effect on its operations.

"It was just like usual," said Mike Weber of Norfolk, Va., who flew into Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday on his way to visit family in South Dakota.

While the Transportation Security Administration is now allowing passengers to bring small scissors and tools on planes, that didn't make any difference to Weber.

He's learned not to carry such items through security checks in the past and figures the TSA might change the rules down the road, anyway.

Passing through security was "fairly easy, as usual,'' said Paul Collins of Boston, in town to visit folks in Lauderdale.

"I know what to take off,'' he said. "I don't get flagged by the metal detectors."

Rick Mohovich of New Jersey figures he's spent about $30 in the past few years to mail nail scissors home when he forgetfully left them in a carry-on bag. He wasn't packing any Thursday, though, at least not in a carry-on. Security checks seemed rushed but thorough, he said.

Jodi Wendt of Charlotte, N.C., said the checks seemed "no different than usual."

But she wishes for more consistency in security procedures between airports.

"Mostly, what's different is what they ask you to take off. Shoes. Bracelets. Some ask you to take sweatshirts off. Some don't."

The security changes come down to this: You'll no longer be forfeiting nail scissors and other small tools — as long as they're not too big or deemed particularly dangerous. Yet you may be subject to a secondary screening, including an inspection of your shoes for explosives, additional "wanding," a pat-down search and manual bag inspection.

Random secondary screenings were dropped in 2003 because they were determined to be too much of a hassle. But the TSA says they will now take only a minute or two and restore a measure of unpredictability that can frustrate terrorists.

Knight Ridder content Copyright 2005 provided via The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.