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Delays, but no travel chaos following attack

Delays, but no travel chaos following attack

Airports across Europe reported some flight delays Monday due to heightened security imposed after an attack on a Detroit-bound airliner, but advance warning from airlines kept disruptions to a minimum.
At London's Heathrow Airport, Europe's busiest air hub, there were delays of about an hour on flights to the U.S., and small lines built up at departure gates. But most passengers took things in stride.
"It's Christmas as well, so you'd expect some delays," said Mary Lecarpentier, 45, who was traveling from London to New York for New Year's celebrations. "I've only just joined this line and it's fine. I'm nearly there."
British Airways told customers flying to the U.S. from London to limit themselves to a single item of hand luggage and expect any gifts they're carrying to be unwrapped at security. Virgin Atlantic posted a similar announcement on its Web site. Both airlines said delays had been minimal.
Marta Ostovich, a 28-year-old archaeology student returning from a two-week vacation, said the situation was "definitely not as bad as I thought it would be."
"I was worried but I think I came needlessly early, as it seems to be OK," she said.
There were similar scenes at Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris. Jason Iglesias, a 30-year-old service industry worker from New York City, said he received an e-mail Monday that urged him to get to his gate as early as possible. He did _ only to breeze through security and languish at the gate for two hours.
The Paris airport authority said security backlogs on flights to the United States early Monday had delayed overall traffic an average of one hour. But by Monday evening, the backlogs had cleared up.
The new security measures were imposed Friday after a man flying from Nigeria to Amsterdam, and then on to the U.S. on a Northwest Airlines flight, tried, according to officials, to ignite an explosive as the plane prepared to land in Detroit. Officials have not gone into details about the new restrictions, saying they don't want terrorists to know about potential security measures.
The measures have include pat-downs during secondary screenings and thorough searches of hand luggage. Passengers have also been told to stay seated on the last hour of their flight.
There were no reported problems in Italy. And while frustrated travelers struggled with canceled flights on Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, that was due to a protest by Spanish air traffic controllers _ not the new security controls.
Flights out of Frankfurt Airport, Europe's third-busiest, were largely unaffected.
Across the border in Poland, passengers were divided about the effectiveness of new security checks.
Richard Brandt, a 36-year-old resident of Ireland, said it didn't make sense to ban passengers from using the bathroom an hour before the plane landed.
"I can't see what kind of difference that would make. If it's an eight hour flight they could still have seven hours to blow up the plane if that's what they want to do," he said.
For 24-year-old Sylwia Cieplak, who was returning to Milan, the attempted Christmas-Day attack only intensified her fear of flying.
"I really hope there will be more security on my flight," she said, rushing outside for a cigarette to help calm her nerves. "They can check everything; that's no problem for me."
That sentiment was shared by Polish student Ania Pyzinska, a 29-year-old about to embark on a three-flight journey to Bangkok.
"When I board the plane I want to be sure that I will land as planned," she said.
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Associated Press Writers Jamey Keaten in Paris, Vanessa Gera in Warsaw, Poland, Harold Heckle in Madrid, Ariel David in Rome, and Matt Moore in Frankfurt contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-08-06 03:04 GMT+08:00