Tennessee airport authorities expect delays for a time - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tennessee airport authorities expect delays for a time

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Officials at Tennessee's two major airports reported some minor delays Thursday while passengers found some unexpected inconveniences to flight security tightened in the wake of discovery of a terrorist plot.

British authorities arrested 21 people suspected of plotting to blow up as many as 10 airliners flying from the United Kingdom to the United States.

Leslie Foley, 40, of Dubuque, Iowa, was at Memphis International Airport Thursday afternoon awaiting a flight home after her training conference was cut short to give attendees more time to get through security.

"We had to search through our purses to figure out what we couldn't carry on," she said.

As Foley talked with a reporter, a friend came up to tell her she had to get rid of her lipstick, too. "All of it? Oh, man," Foley said.

Emily Finn, 38, also of Dubuque said the new carryon rules brought an unexpected expense. "Many people had to buy bags," Finn said. "Most of us would have carried our things on board. But we all have shampoo and stuff that can't be carried on."

Big blue trash cans were placed in the Memphis concourse next to signs explaining what items could no longer be carried into the airplane cabin.

A road sign on the way into the airport warned "Security Level Increase - Check with Airline."

Lu-Anne Duckworth-Clark, 45, of Carruthersville, Mo., said she knew from TV reports that new restrictions were in place before she took her flight to Memphis from Jacksonville, Fla.

"We repacked in the hotel room. We packed everything - shampoo, toothpaste, everything - in one bag to make it easy. We just checked everything," she said. "I had a little anxiety at first, but once we got to our gate, I felt better," Duckworth-Clark said.

At Nashville International Airport, spokeswoman Lynne Lowrance said Thursday is typically the heaviest weekday and officials had prepared for lines longer than usual.

"So far, it's actually been more what we'd expect on a typical Thursday. Passengers have moved very quickly," she said. "It went remarkably smooth, considering this happened overnight and people woke up surprised."

Lowrance said some flights from other airports have been delayed because of the increased security, which caused some flights to leave Nashville late.

Memphis airport spokesman Larry Cox said that facility's status as a Northwest Airlines hub means many passengers arrive there after being screened elsewhere.

"About 70 percent of our traffic doesn't come through the front door," Cox said.

However, the acknowledged screening delays at other airports could affect departures, if arriving planes were late.

Renee Campbell, who traveled to Nashville from Philadelphia on an early morning flight, said that airport security officials there confiscated her prescription medicine and showed "no compassion, no understanding."

She said passengers should have been told earlier that they needed to put the forbidden items into checked baggage.

"Criminals would have more rights than we had this morning," Campbell said.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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