Airport security increases for holidays

Over the past several weeks, airport incidents have caused many travelers to be delayed in airports throughout the nation, which may hinder thousands of students flying home next week.

A box cutter was found last month aboard US Airways Flight 177 as it prepared to depart the Philadelphia International Airport.

Transportation Security Administration Spokeswoman Ann Davis said that the blade was found by a passenger in a seat pocket in front of him as the plane prepared to leave, according to a CNN article.

On Oct. 20, Nathaniel Heatwole, a South Carolina college student, was charged with carrying a concealed weapon aboard an aircraft.

According to an FBI affidavit in a CNN report, Heatwole admitted to planting box cutters aboard airplanes and even sent messages to the TSA.

Before the 9-11 tragedies, carrying box cutters, toenail clippers and pocket knives were generally accepted by airport security without question. To ensure travelers of their safety, TSA has banned these items from getting past security.

Although these items have been banned from getting past security checkpoints, some people are managing to beat the system, evident in the recent incidents involving weapons.

As the holiday season is approaching and many students return home to be with their family and friends, travelers should be aware of possible situations that may occur as they prepare to board the aircraft.

“I travel frequently, and I often have flight delays,” said business administration student and Los Angeles native Samantha Greer.

Because of the recent breaches in security, passengers have been delayed for several hours and some have even had their flights cancelled, forcing them to stay the night in local hotels,

“Airport security is doing a good job, but when you have people who get a thrill out of making their jobs even harder, we (travelers) must stay calm,” said Greer, who often travels by plane.

Jim Durwin, airport operations supervisor at Tallahassee Regional Airport, is aware of the possibilities that may arise during this busy time of the year.

“Getting to the airport early is very important to ensure any problems that may arise while going through security,” Durwin said.

Tallahassee Regional Airport has experienced similar incidents that have made the news lately, but they have had some minor situations, Durwin said.

“We have had situations where professionals have left the office, were heading to the airport, and had forgotten that they were carrying a concealed weapon,” he said.

Travelers should get to the airport early and be prepared for the worst because this is the time of the year when people travel the most, Durwin said.