Expect delays at major airports as security reacts to threat

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Officials at Tennessee's two major airports expected at least temporary delays today as travelers adjusted to higher security in the wake of discovery of a terrorist plot.

The federal government raised the level this morning after British authorities arrested 21 people in what investigators say was a plot to blow up as many as ten airliners leaving Great Britain for the United States.

Memphis International Airport spokesman Larry Cox says about 70 percent of the airport's passenger traffic "doesn't come through the front door," but are passengers being flown to Northwest Airlines' passenger hub. Those passengers have already been screened at other airports.

However, Cox says delays in flight from those airports could effect departures from Memphis International.

Cox says he expects a couple days of long lines while travelers get used to packing lightly and not packing any liquids or gels in carry-on bags.

At Nashville International Airport, spokeswoman Lynne Lowrance says travelers should expect longer lines today because of the additional security, but says more baggage screeners have been called to work.

Lowrance said this afternoon the delays were not as bad as they had expected. She said the airport had long lines but passengers were moving quickly and smoothly through the lines.

She says Thursday is the heaviest weekday for travel and some flights were delayed in arriving at the Nashville airport, causing some delay in take-off times. Lowrance says other tips for travelers are posted on the TSA website.

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