Hawaii air travelers adjust to new rules
Passengers find ways to cope with a ban on carry-on liquids and gels
As new signs prohibiting lighters and liquids go up at Honolulu Airport, many passengers are arriving earlier and checking more luggage to avoid long security checks.
"I'm here four hours before my flight," said a 25-year-old woman who was headed to New York yesterday evening after a week in Waikiki.
"I'd rather check in, get through security and spend my time in the lounge than a huge, long line."
The woman and her friends said they used to carry everything onto an airplane to avoid baggage claim. For their home flight, they each bought new luggage for the check-in.
Many passengers are changing their flying habits after the Transportation Security Administration enacted tighter restrictions Thursday in the wake of a thwarted terror plot to blow up several airplanes simultaneously as they flew from London to destinations in the United States.
The ban is on everything from saline solution and perfume to hair gel and liquid lip gloss. Baby formula is allowed in small amounts only to passengers traveling with a baby. One mother told the Star-Bulletin that, fearing confiscation, she brought powdered formula measured out in several bottles rather than formula mixed with water.
TSA screeners searching carry-ons are also checking to make sure the name on a prescription bottle matches the name on the airline ticket. Diabetics who require certain medications that come in gel and liquid form are being limited to eight ounces in their carry-ons. Nonprescription medications are being limited to four ounces.
The terrorists, according to some British accounts, planned to combine a liquid in a British-brand sports drink bottle with a peroxide-based gel. Authorities have said the explosion could have been triggered with a lighter, an automatic car key or even an iPod.
"This is a changed world," said one Northwest Airlines customer service representative as she stood near the security gate yesterday afternoon. She spoke on condition of anonymity.
"This has changed the way of air travel: No more carry-ons," she said, adding, "This is a new mind-set, and people need to get used to it."
Days earlier, as the new restrictions came into play at the airport, passengers tried to get bottles of favorite perfume past TSA agents who found them in hand inspections of carry-on bags. The Northwest employee said she watched some passengers slurp the last of a vodka or beer bottle before chucking it into the trash barrel at the security gate.