Friday, March 21, 2003

Random checks of all vehicles approaching the terminals at Honolulu Airport are part of the new security measures that went into effect late Wednesday. A motorist's car was examined yesterday by security.

Pre-flight wait
grows to 3 hours

Spring break travelers can
expect long lines for new security
checks at Honolulu Airport

By Craig Gima

New security measures and the beginning of spring break will mean longer lines at Honolulu Airport today through next week.

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Passengers traveling in the peak airport hours of between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. should allow for at least three hours to check in, get through security and board their flights, transportation officials said.

"Not three hours you leave your house, three hours at the lobby," said Davis Yogi, state airports administrator.

New security measures that went into effect Wednesday night at Honolulu Airport include random checks of all vehicles approaching the terminals. That includes people who are picking up passengers as they circle the terminal.

The new measures were "no problem as long as you cooperate," said Warfe Pasicaran, who was picking up relatives who arrived from Las Vegas yesterday. "Some people got mad when they had to open the trunk, but it's all for your safety," he said.

Jamie Chillingworth said she and her mother worked out a system to avoid her driving and circling the airport until her mother got out of baggage claim. Chillingworth said she waited nearby but outside the airport until her mother called her cell phone and was able to pick her up on the first go-around.

Both Hawaiian and Aloha airlines expect travel to pick up today through next week as students go on spring break.

Lines at the airport yesterday were already long, and could get longer today.

"I feel sorry for the ones who woke up late," said passenger Lupe Lozano, who had been standing in line for more than an hour to get through a security checkpoint for a mainland flight.

The line for the security checkpoint in the main terminal stretched longer than a football field about 12:30 p.m. yesterday, and passengers said it took anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half to get through it.

"I'm looking forward to a mai tai and to get off my feet," said Dayton Torrence, who was near the front of the line for the security checkpoint. He said he was thankful he arrived four hours early for his flight to San Francisco.

At the interisland terminal, the lines stretched out the door and along the sidewalk at about 1 p.m. Passengers said the wait to go through security was about 45 minutes.

"It tends to be more the case lately that lines are longer at security than for check-in," said Keoni Wagner, spokesman for Hawaiian Airlines. Wagner recommends that passengers arrive more than 90 minutes early for interisland flights and more than two hours early for trans-Pacific flights.

"They said they'd pull us out of line if our flight was going to leave without us," said Alexis Quinn, who admitted she arrived at the airport less than an hour before her flight.

Sydney Hayakawa, Hawaii director for the Transportation Security Administration, said lines at the airport vary depending on the time of day and the terminal.

For example, he said the peak time for the international terminal is in the morning, and the peak time for the interisland terminal is Friday afternoons.

A long-term solution to shortening lines would be to widen the security checkpoints to allow more lanes, Hayakawa said. However, that would mean spending construction money to remodel the airport.

Yogi said the state is looking at several options to lessen lines.

"We'll work it out. It will get more efficient," Yogi said.

State Department of Transportation
Hawaii military links and information

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