Weather, protest may cause airport delays

November 24, 2010 8:18:44 AM PST
Today is one of the busiest travel days of the year, and it could be worse than usual. First, there's a nationwide protest planned to slow down security lines. And then there are the severe weather systems in various parts of the country, including tornadoes in some areas, and snow or ice in others.

The weather could impact flights in and out of Houston, and that's not the only problem that could significantly slow down an already busy travel day.

The crowds are picking up at airports, including Bush Intercontinental Airport, but travelers coming from or going to certain parts of the country may see delays.

Most of the flights are arriving on time but there are some delays coming from parts of the country experiencing severe winter weather.

From Tacoma to Minneapolis, a storm is pushing across the northern part of the country and could affect more areas later in the week.

While many travelers will go through those new advanced imaging scanners for the first time, opponents of the new security measure will be at Bush Wednesday afternoon; it's part of a National Opt-Out Day to protest the new screening procedures. Those opposed are telling passengers to opt out of the body imaging machines and submit to a pat down.

The Houston-area organizers say they will distribute information at various locations but their goal is to be professional, non-disruptive and to educate travelers on their rights.

"The TSA will ultimately be held accountable in a court of law; people are not going to shut up about this," the organizer of the Opt-Out event, Jay Stang, said. "We are going to lobby Sheriff Garcia, the Houston Airport Authority, whoever we have to, to get the TSA investigated."

"I think it might affect travel but I would imagine that people really want to get home or where they need to be for the holidays, so I'm not sure how effective it will be," traveler Camille Jones said.

The head of TSA says a very small percentage of passengers are being given the pat downs at airports and urged passengers unhappy with the policy not to "tie up people who just want to go home and see their loved ones."


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