JG - Jamaica's passengers stick it out
Jamaica's passengers stick it out
published: Friday August 11, 2006
Ross Sheil, Staff Reporter
Departing passengers wait outside the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday after global air traffic was affected by an alleged terrorist plot to blow-up aircraft in mid-flight between Britain and the United States. - Photo by Ross Sheil
With Britain and the Untied States in a state of alert following the foiling of an alleged terrorist attack, Jamaicans at Kingston's Norman Manley International Airport were yesterday afternoon nonchalantly accepting the increased security measures.
Paul Hall, the airport's senior vice-president of operations, said extra staff had been drafted in to advise passengers and that, on the whole, they were being compliant. From outside, the queue for departures appeared to be no longer than normal and, looking inside, there was no evidence of a backlog at the security checkpoint which had for so long been frustrating for travellers before the recent recruitment of extra immigration staff, and the ongoing development of the airport.
Mr. Hall advised passengers to travel as light as possible and heed the regulations to avoid delays. Up to yesterday afternoon, there had been no delays, he said.
Speaking to The Gleaner, passengers shrugged at the inconvenience, acknowledging the precautions as a necessary evil against a potential terrorist attack. They felt they simply had to transfer certain items of carry on luggage into their checked luggage. Most of the passengers had been unaware of the new regulations issued by the United States Transport Security Agency.
"We have to open up our luggage and take it out, we do just that because we have to cooperate, it's the same everywhere (airports). I just had to put it in my bag which is a bit of an inconvenience, because I had a lot of lotion in my handbag," said Veronica Ward, who was born in Clarendon and was visiting with her elderly mother from Miami.
However, Mrs. Ward, like many other passengers, was frustrated that even water was not allowed to be carried onto the plane. For passengers who bought duty-free, arrangements were being made for their purchases to be put in the baggage hold together with their checked luggage, said Mr. Hall.
Asked if the new regulations would become permanent, Mr. Hall said he doubted it, but acknowledged it would remain the prerogative of U.S. authorities.