Airlines enforce added security

As passengers take to the air during one of the busiest traveling weeks of the year, intermittent stepped-up security measures at airports has been taken in stride.

Across the world, international airports ramped up security measures Monday in response to the failed plot by a Nigerian to ignite explosives aboard a Northwest Airlines jet as it was coming in for a landing in Detroit on Christmas Day.

So far, the three main Bay Area airports — San Francisco International, Oakland and San Jose Mineta — have not changed their security protocol in the wake of the Friday incident, although those passing through were affected in recent days.

In-cabin screens that normally show the location of the plane’s flight path were switched off during an Air France flight from San Francisco to Paris on Saturday — as a “security measure,” flight attendants said.

Though the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has not yet advised airports to change or heighten their security processes, travelers at SFO on Monday said they would be willing to face further scrutiny if it is for protection.

Domestic travelers in the SFO security line said they were willing to get to the airport even earlier than recommended — 90 minutes for domestic flights and 2 hours for international — to feel safe.

“Yes, I’m concerned,” said Anu Patel, 38, a Bay Area resident who was waiting to go through security to fly from SFO to India with her family Monday. “If it’s a matter of security then how can you say no?”

Even the idea of body-scanning technology — which has raised privacy concerns because it looks through clothing to show the body’s shape and, thus, hidden weapons — found favor among some passengers. The technology is in use at SFO and at least other 19 U.S. airports, though European officials have generally limited it to test runs.

San Antonio resident Gloria Cervantes, 52, said she likes the idea of air travelers being screened by the devices.

“I think the more the better,” Cervantes said.

But Dan Shearn, 28, who was waiting to send his girlfriend off to Stockholm, Sweden at the International terminal said increasing security is a misguided crackdown — though he’s not opposed.

“I mean it’s security. Everyone should be questioned,” Shearn said. “But it’s kind of taking it out on the wrong people. Can you imagine what [security] would be like had he succeeded?”

Also adding to the confusion of travelers was the security measures that were added — but only on certain flights. Some airline officials told The Associated Press that the in-flight restrictions had been eased and that it was now up to captains on each flight to decide whether passengers can have blankets and other items on their laps or can move around during the final phase of the flight.

A family arriving from Dubai to SFO on Monday said the restrictions were tough.

“With kids it’s a nightmare,” said Gurminder Uppal of Dublin, who was traveling with her husband and 1-year-old son. “There were a lot of kids, all screaming, on the plane. You can’t change their diapers for the last hour.”

Her husband, however, said the changes were needed.

“Whatever needs to be done, needs to be done,” Konark Uppal said.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

Wire reports contributed to this report.

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