Albany airport tightens security

ALBANY -- Officials with Southwest Georgia Regional Airport said Monday that travelers planning to fly out of the Albany facility should not fear long delays because of new security measures after the failed attempt by a terrorist to down a jetliner in Michigan on Christmas Day.

"Our seats were half full this holiday," said Yvette Alehle, Southwest Georgia Regional Airport director. "People will notice subtle changes in security, but nothing too drastic in the airport."

She said frequent fliers out of the airport, such as business people, will be impacted more by the security changes than will casual travelers.

"We are doing everything we can to comply with TSA's (Transportation Security Administration) guidelines," Alehle said, adding she could not discuss specific security measures that are being taken. "We ask for people's patience."

Tougher airline security measures were imposed Friday after a man flying from Nigeria to Amsterdam then to the U.S. on a Northwest Airlines flight tried to ignite an explosive as the plane prepared to land in Detroit.

The procedures, including more extensive pat-downs of passengers and examination of baggage, led to longer lines at many airports, and security personnel were extra diligent.

"The best way to avoid long lines and unnecessary wait items is to prepare beforehand," said Alehle. "People still think that you can show up 15 minutes before you flight and be able to board the plane."

Knowing what items can be brought on board the plane is essential to avoiding long waits or possibly missing flights, airport officials say.

"They change the items frequently, so it's good to check TSA's (TSA.gov) Web site before you pack," said Alehle.

The airport director said many travelers were accepting of the tighter security measures and were very cooperative.

"They understand that it is for security," she said of the passengers. "They pretty much go along with it. I think they feel it is better to be safe than sorry."

Alehle said the airport did not experience any significant delays or long lines like other larger airports, such as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, were reporting.