Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

In Atlanta's Airport, Passengers Repack at the Ticket Counter or Face the Trash Bin; Security Lines and Delays Rival Busy Weekends

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

In Atlanta's Airport, Passengers Repack at the Ticket Counter or Face the Trash Bin; Security Lines and Delays Rival Busy Weekends

Article excerpt

Byline: BRANDON LARRABEE and WALTER C. JONES

ATLANTA - Passengers, airlines and employees at the self-proclaimed world's busiest airport grappled Thursday with the fallout of a nationwide security alert triggered by the arrest of two dozen suspected terrorists in Britain.

A spokeswoman for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport said waits as long as 2 hours at the beginning of the day were replaced by business as usual just a few hours after the public became aware of the heightened security.

"I think the traveling public is savvy now," Felicia Browder said.

Travelers were required to either ditch containers of liquids or foams in their carry-on bags or check the items or their luggage to keep them because of reports of a terrorist plan to smuggle liquid explosives on 10 U.S.-bound flights.

Early Thursday, security lines backed up and workers described the crowds as bigger than most weekends. Passengers were seen repacking their bags at the ticket counters.

Those who didn't adjust had to dump bottles and tubes of shampoo, toothpaste and perfume into large plastic bins at the start of the security-screening lines, taking a final swallow of bottled water before tossing it away.

By midday, the lines had shrunk to normal lengths, but nerves were still rattled by the constant playing of security warnings in several languages and the police leading bomb-sniffing dogs around the terminal.

Some passengers arriving in Atlanta remained shaken even as they waited for their luggage.

Sterling Caart missed his 7 a.m. flight from New York because of the confusion and longer security screenings.

"We feel scared and mad at the same time," he said, adding that he's not looking forward to getting back on a plane to go home in 10 days.

But Joy King, who returned home to Atlanta from Shreveport, La., on a flight that was delayed three hours, has no concerns about another flight.

"I figure when something like this happens, [the security officials] are 10 times more careful," she said.

Even some passengers flying to London, like John Gayner, who was on a layover in Atlanta on his return home from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, weren't shaken. …

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