Increased security includes Southwest GA Regional Airport too - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Increased security includes Southwest GA Regional Airport too

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Tighter airport security guidelines are being called into question.

The head of the TSA said he understands the privacy concerns being raised by travelers, but says the government needs to provide the best security. Senator Johnny Isakson expressed concerns today about full body scanners and enhanced pat downs.

The increase in holiday travelers is already evident at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in Albany. Flights are nearly full and so are the security lines thanks to increased Transportation Security Administration safety measures.

"Even if it took me extra time I would still be okay with it," said Georgia Bouie, a traveler.

Most travelers we talked to support the recent changes the TSA's made adding enhanced pat downs and full body scanners.

"It's a necessary thing that has to happen. That's the world that we live in," said Pam Calhoun, a traveler.

Watch what happens when this woman sets off the scanner. A TSA agent fully explained the security process as she begins, checking the woman's back and the collar of her sweater.

"The enhanced pat down is very evasive from what people say, but is a necessary thing to do if we're going to keep our airplanes safe," said Yvette Aehle, Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Director.

The agent continued checking the front of the sweater, explaining even as she checked the area where the sweater met her skirt. The agent doing the pat down will always be of the same sex and opting out in Albany isn't really a choice.

"The TSA said, there's not negotiation on this they said submit to the enhanced pat down or use the full body scanner well, since we don't have the full body scanner they must do the enhanced pat down or they will not be able to fly," said Aehle.

While Albany doesn't have the full body scanner yet, they will get one. Passengers we talked with seemed willing to endure the scan.

"I would go through the machines. I would rather take the safety precaution and make sure I've done my part as a good citizen and the person that I sit next to is a safe person to sit next to," said Calhoun.

"I don't think I'd have a problem with it," said Bouie.

Most said ultimately because it makes them feel secure. "I feel safe because they're doing all the necessary steps to make sure the flight is safe," said Charles Calhoun, a traveler.

You can help speed up the security process by taking as little through security with you by putting most things in a checked bag.  For-go a belt or put jewelry that might set off the scanner in your carry-on and waiting until you're through security to put it on.

Whatever you do airport officials say give yourself plenty of time.

Senator Johnny Isakson requested the TSA explain the changes to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.


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