Tips to help your travel go more smoothly

November 23, 2010 7:33:16 AM PST
By now, you know the next time you go to the airport, you'll be subjected to a stricter and more invasive security screening process, but there are things you can do to possibly avoid the full body scan or the pat downs. The arrival terminal and baggage claim at Bush Intercontinental Airport on Monday night was a sign travel is already picking up and the new security is being criticized by many, but you'll be seeing it at more airports as time goes on.

Holiday travel is already underway.

"I think there may be better ways to do it," traveler Bret Dodd said.

Many passengers are going through advanced imaging screening for the first time.

"I don't know if I necessarily agree with everybody being searched from elderly to children," traveler Kevin Lenz said.

"They need to do that because idiots are trying to kill people. Why don't we do that? Safety precautions first," traveler Rita Livingston said.

Dr. John Bowen is dean of the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. He says passengers should allow 30 minutes to get through security. Pack light, arrive early and start getting yourself ready while standing in line by preparing your shoes and pulling out that laptop.

"A lot of what you see in the news tends to be from employees who just weren't thinking or weren't properly trained," Dr. Bowen said. "I think there has been a lot of reaction to that."

TSA offers the following guidelines at Bush Airport as passengers will either walk-through metal detectors or the Advanced Imaging Unit.

If you are directed to pass through a unit, you may opt out, but if you do, you will receive a thorough pat-down by someone of the same gender.

In either case where a pat-down is required, you have important options: You can request that the pat-down be conducted in a private room. You also have the pat-down witnessed by a person of your choice.

"The only time pat downs will be conducted is if you alarm a walk-through metal detector or there are anomalies as you go through the imaging unit," Bush Intercontinental Airport Federal Aviation Director Anne Testa said.

As for passengers who have already gone through the new procedures, they are offering their own advice.

"Get here early, for sure, especially on Tuesday or Wednesday when you are traveling," Dodd said.

"Everybody has a job to do to get you there safely, so if everybody just goes along and gets along, we will be just fine," Lenz said.

While advanced imaging is in place at Bush Intercontinental Airport, it won't make its way to Hobby Airport until the middle of December.


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