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Mostly Smooth Holiday Travels at Charlotte Airport

Airport.jpg
Julie Rose
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http://66.225.205.104/JR20101124a.mp3

Thanksgiving crowds appear moderate - and delays only minor - at the Charlotte Airport today, despite concerns that a boycott of new security procedures would slow down travelers. Full-body scans and intimate pat downs were clearly on people's minds as they lined up for security screening at the Charlotte Airport this morning. One security agent rattled off tips like emptying pockets of gum and tissues that might set off the scanner. "I'm trying to give you things that prevent you from having a pat down," said the TSA agent who declined to give her name. The Charlotte airport has only a handful of the advanced imaging technology scanners that have raised some privacy concerns. Passengers are being randomly chosen to receive a body scan, but the majority of travelers in Charlotte here - and across the country - are still being screened through the same metal detector and baggage screening arrangement to which they've grown accustomed. That's how Jenny Constantine found things when she flew into Charlotte from Fort Lauderdale early this morning. "It was actually just as it always has been," says Constantine. "Shoes off, laptops in a separate bin, but nothing out of the usual. I did see some people going through the scanning machines, but we didn't have to do that." Arriving in Charlotte from Pittsburgh early this morning, Steve Travanti said he was nervous after hearing reports of passengers being subjected to new, more thorough, pat downs. "Not for myself but for my kids I was a little concerned," said Travanti. "But neither of us had to do the pat down or body scan. We just went right through the metal detectors." TSA Director John Pistole said yesterday the agency is looking for ways to make those pat downs less-invasive, but still effective. Most passengers seem to be ignoring calls for a boycott of the body scanners in favor of travelling smoothly to their holiday destinations. This is traditionally one of the busiest air travel days of the year, but AAA reports a record 94 percent of Thanksgiving travelers in the Carolinas are going by car. Flying has grown less attractive because of more invasive security screening and increased airline fees.