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Passengers Mostly Unfazed by Dogs, Cops, Guard

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And I'm Michele Norris.

The tight new security measures at the nation's airports produced long lines of passengers and lots of delayed flights today. And in three states - California, Massachusetts and New York - governors called out the National Guard to help with airport security.

We have two reports on how air travelers coped, beginning with NPR's Ina Jaffe at LAX in Los Angeles

(Soundbite of airport)

INA JAFFE reporting:

This morning began with a two hour standstill at the Delta terminal. When the security line finally began moving again, passengers were made aware that the rules of air travel had suddenly changed.

Unidentified Man: If you have any kind of liquid, any kind of gel, toothpaste, face cream, anything like that, put it in these tubs.

JAFFE: Passenger Fern Shapiro(ph) was trying to be patient.

Ms. FERN SHAPIRO (Airline Passenger, LAX Airport): We kind of came into this thing that we were going to give it about a two to three hour trial. We're about 30 to 45 minutes away from our breaking point.

JAFFE: But as the day wore on, most passengers seem resigned to waiting and even manage to achieve some sort of optimism. LA resident Joe Shabuoy(ph) was traveling to Germany with his wife and two children.

Mr. JOE SHABUOY (Airline Passenger, LAX Airport): We just have to be more determined to go, because you cannot let a little amount of people make decisions for the whole world. So good people always win.

JAFFE: You could see the increased police presence everywhere, from checkpoints for cars entering the airport to officers with assault weapons and bomb sniffing dogs. In Sacramento, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he was deploying 300 National Guard to the state's major airports.

Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (California): I can assure the people of California that we are doing everything to keep them safe and to return our airports to normal operations as quickly as possible.

JAFFE: The travelers with the longest waits and the strictest rules were lined up at the British Airways counter. Jesse Perez got to the airport plenty early. And then -

Mr. JESSE PEREZ (Airline passenger, LAX Airport): I was supposed to leave at 5:50. I'm now leaving at 9:05.

JAFFE: Still, he felt it was a safe day to fly. The security situation didn't seem to worry Scotland bound Una Dulain(ph), either. She did have a serious concern, however. How to survive the flight without being able to bring a book.

Ms. UNA DULAIN (Airline passenger, LAX Airport): I know that we've got to be tight on the things that we do. But I think a book, you can't screen a book.

JAFFE: Facing an 11 hour flight with nothing to read, Una Dulain's greatest fear, dying of boredom.

Ina Jaffe, NPR News, Los Angeles International Airport.

CHRIS ARNOLD reporting:

This is Chris Arnold in Boston, where Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney earlier in the day was the first governor to call out the National Guard. Logan was the airport that two of the planes in the 9/11 attacks took off from. Romney said that influenced his decision.

Governor MITT ROMNEY (Massachusetts): Logan has a specific history with regards to the initiation of terrorist activity, and therefore we have a heightened degree of concern here, so there had to be additional personnel.

ARNOLD: At Logan, there was some questioning by airport staff about whether it was really necessary to call out the guard, but the official word from the airport was that the move will help.

(Soundbite of airport)

ARNOLD: And certainly this morning it looked like the airport could use all the help it could get. You needed an odometer to know how long the lines were.

Ms. TANYA O'COYNE(ph) (Airline Passenger, Logan Airport): We came in here and we had to go back about three-tenths of a mile, literally, so our day, we're not even to our terminal yet.

ARNOLD: That's Tanya O'Coyne.

Ms. TANYA O'COYNE: And I'm from Maynard, Massachusetts.

Ms. AUDREY O'COYNE(ph) (Airline Passenger, Logan Airport): And I'm Audrey O'Coyne.

ARNOLD: O'Coyne, her 10-year-old daughter and some other family members are leaving town for a short summer vacation, and like many people at the airport, they don't seem particularly worried about terrorist attacks. Tanya says with all the added security today, she thinks it's probably just about the safest day to fly.

Ms. TANYA O'COYNE: I'm not scared. I'm not frightened. If I was, I wouldn't be taking my daughter, but I feel pretty good about it.

Ms. AUDREY O'COYNE: I was nervous, and she kept telling me, it's okay, there's nothing that's going to happen, so.

Ms. TANYA O'COYNE: They're taking the right precautions. That's what they're doing. You know? Whatever.

Ms. AUDREY O'COYNE: It's their job, and it's nice to know that they're doing it.

ARNOLD: Some passengers were more nervous. One man who was flying back to his family in Japan said he was a bit scared about flying. His wife was also worried and called him this morning, eager to see him back home and safe.

Chris Arnold, NPR News, Boston.

BLOCK: You can find advice for air travelers, what's allowed in your carry-on, what you should check, at our Web site NPR.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ina Jaffe is a veteran NPR correspondent covering the aging of America. Her stories on Morning Edition and All Things Considered have focused on older adults' involvement in politics and elections, dating and divorce, work and retirement, fashion and sports, as well as issues affecting long term care and end of life choices. In 2015, she was named one of the nation's top "Influencers in Aging" by PBS publication Next Avenue, which wrote "Jaffe has reinvented reporting on aging."
NPR correspondent Chris Arnold is based in Boston. His reports are heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. He joined NPR in 1996 and was based in San Francisco before moving to Boston in 2001.
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