increase airport checks?

Oct 11, 1998
Has any one had any experience with increased security at commercial airline terminals recently?

I'm planning a domestic air carrier trip(Chicago to Louisanna) this week and had wanted to pack several folders in carry-on luggage. I've heard both x-ray checks and bag checks have been increased because of world affairs.

Now I'm not sure if packing the folders in baggage would be worth the potential hassel.

I'm an all-too-frequent flier & haven't noticed any increase in security. I made two trips in the past 3 weeks -- one domestic & one int'l -- w/o hassle. On each trip I had a cricket in my pocket as a money clip and a Leatherman, SAK, and Gigand Spectrum in my briefcase. None warranted even a first glance.

If your "several folders" are large or "threatening looking", I'd suggest checking your luggage. The delay in retrieving it at the other end could be more than offset by the lack of security problems.

I recently flew inside the state and put my AFCK in my carry on, stuffed under a sweatshirt. Security pulled my bag aside, unzipped it, saw that it would be more of a hassle than it was worth, zipped it up and let me go!
In contrast, I recently flew (Indy to Boston) and had a 2AA Lumilite flashlight in the carryon. Security poked through everything until they eventually found it, turned it on and confirmed it was a flashlight. I admit it was stupidity on my part not to have simply put it into the checked bag. It wasn't tactical or anything, just to prevent stumbling around a hotel room in the dark. They were pretty sure from the x-ray that it was a flashlight -- they even asked if I had a flashlight in there, but they really wanted to make sure it was a flashlight. (I put it in checked baggage on the return trip.)

The moral of the story is you can't generalize, I guess.

Paul Neubauer
I flew back from Mexico to Boston about a week and a half ago (a couple of days after we started the bombing). I had a Sure Fire 6P in my carry on along with a CD player and a camera (some airports check all battery operated items). I never had a problem, and with a conecting flight my bag was scaned several times but nobody asked me to turn it on or asked to see it. I also had a tiny SAK in my carry on and one of my friends had a "regular" size SAK in his carry on, again no problems.

I did figure with the recent bombing that security was going to be real tight. But not even customs was interested in either my carry on or checked baggage.


There was an article in the Portland Oregonian newspaper just the other day about some fancy new 3D x-ray stuff they're installing at, as I recall, 30 major airports nationwide. Portland is one of them. The new machines are NOW on-line in Portland. These are used for checked bagage only. They can actually measure the density and composition of the materials, not just image the shape. So, they can detect explosives and drugs automatically.

Now, it's perfectly legal to carry common knives in your checked bagage, so that's no problem. But, and the reason I bother to bring it up, the article said that these machines use a very powerful x-ray and WILL DESTROY undeveloped film.

With these machines going in at major airports nationwide, so I'd suggest taking all your film as carry-on and asking that it be hand inspected.

Chuck, I can attest to your warning about film.

I'm a professional writer and photographer and have ALWAYS been leary about the airport x-rays. Despite claims that "they will not fog film," the effect is culmulative! One pass might not affect slower speed films but two or more definately can fog the film.

Best advice: stick all film in clear plastic bags and show it to the clerk telling them you do not want it to pass thru x-ray. The clear bag generally goes thru without hassel.

Life is a journey, not a guided tour -- GO ARMED!

I can claim to have been in pretty much every major (and many minor) airport in the country with a small Sebenza in my computer bag. I've never even had it looked at twice.

I think because it is in a computer bag (with a computer) they tend to give the computer the most attention and don't even look for anything else.

I also have the knife clipped so that when the bag is laying on the belt you are looking down at the smallest possible profile of the knife (tip up, top, narrow profile). I don't know if all x-ray machines look straight down, but I've never had it singled out.

I've traveled for years with my AFCK mini. I'm sure that I've been through airport security at least a hundred times with that knife, all over the country. I always just drop it in the change tray openly. Sometimes they look at it. Usually not. It's never been a problem.

A couple of months ago, though, in Kansas City, they wouldn't let me through with it. I pointed out that it is well under four inches. The guard said that with the combo edge, he felt it appeared "menacing" and would not let it through. The guard has total discretion. So, I had to go back to the ticket counter and check it through. Fortunately, the KC airport is so poorly designed that the ticket counter is just steps away from the gate (it was handy in this case, but it's really a poorly designed airport overall).

As I say, that's the first time in at least a hundered passes through security that that little knife has been a problem.

My advice is always allow enough time to go back if you have to.

If Security is increased it's because of the world wide political situation. We are pounding the snot out of the Serbs. The same thing happened durring Desert Storm. All U.S. Military bases are in a steped up security profile. One of the ways to strike back at the U.S. is a cowardly act. This means a higher security profile at the airports.

Bob Taylor
Speaking from experience, recently I have not had a problem. I have a large Eagle Industries Briefcase that gets a trip to the bomb/drug machine everytime I go through DFW after it is X-rayed. I will also note that they have never bomb proofed this breifcases smaller twin which makes all the trips as well.

Due to the hassle of collecting all my change (coins), car keys, knives, multi-tool, etc. I just dump the whole mess in my carry on and continue on my way (after my "big" bag is wiped for Semtex or dope or what ever they look for).

As to the reference to the Kansas City airport, I had a very similar experience with a brain dead individual on a power trip over a sub 3 inch lock back kabar. This was coming back out of Europe. After showing him my passport with a bunch of stamps in it, the multiple pieces of baggage claim tickets and other related boarding passes from the past few days he let me through. I wasn't real impressed. If I had a black blade, a combo-edge, or anything more then a small "non-threatening" knife, I would put it in checked baggage assuming I wouldn't need my life saving tool to defend myself my physical attack or to hack my way out after a plane crash....where's a good Khukri when you need one