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Alleged Plot Prompts Delays at U.S. Airports

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Alleged Plot Prompts Delays at U.S. Airports

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Alleged Plot Prompts Delays at U.S. Airports

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Here in the U.S. the terror plot has had an immediate impact at airports. Passengers, unaware of the new regulations, have to get rid of everything, from perfume bottles to shampoo before boarding.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

We're going to check in at several airports around the country.

We'll start with NPR's Chris Arnold. He's at Boston's Logan Airport.

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney there is calling in the National Guard for added security.

Chris, what can you tell us about the governor's decision to bring in troops to patrol the airport?

CHRIS ARNOLD reporting:

Well, Alex, we haven't seen any troops here yet. There's a lot of state police with very serious looking guns.

Actually, there was some feeling you got around the media room earlier today when their governor's decision was being announced, that at least some here seem to feel that it might not be necessary, that they had things under control. But now that that decision has been made and the Guard is on its way, the official word from the airport is that that will help free up some of the state police to do other types of security, rather than just standing in a very visible place.

As far as the airport right now, the lines have actually gone down a lot. This morning it was, you know, as you might imagine, total gridlock with everybody trying to get onto the shuttles that leave in the morning.

Some passengers were nervous. More that I talked to weren't. I mean they said, look, you know, with the security like it is today, it's probably the safest day to travel. That seems to be kind of the general consensus. They were bringing kids and families on vacation.

CHADWICK: Okay, great. NPR's Chris Arnold at Boston's Logan Airport.

Chris, thank you.

ARNOLD: Thanks a lot.

BRAND: And now at Chicago's O'Hare Airport is Chicago Public Radio's Jay Field.

And Jay, I understand there, also security lines are starting to ease up?

JAY FIELD reporting:

Yeah, just as Chris was reporting in Boston, here in Chicago the lines are easing up. This morning they were quite bad. There were people, you know, lined up around the corner at every American Airlines checkpoint in the American Airlines terminal, terminal number three here. But people were really non-plussed. You know, I mean there were a few people who seemed nervous but most of the people - for instance, I met an elderly woman who was on her way to Denver, Colorado to see the Chicago Cubs play the Colorado Rockies. Now, that's dedication. If you know anything about the Cubs season, the fact that you travel to see the Cubs and then put up with all of these extra security restrictions, that says something. But things have - excuse me - really settled down here.

BRAND: All right. Chicago Public Radio's Jay Field reporting from O'Hare Airport. Thank you, Jay.

FIELD: Thanks, Madeleine.

CHADWICK: Now to Los Angeles International Airport and NPR's Carrie Kahn. Carrie, we hear that governor Schwarzenegger here in California has also activated the National Guard. Any sign of troops?

CARRIE KAHN reporting:

No, there hasn't been yet, but there is a large police presence here and every TSA official has been called into work. A lot of cops you see on bikes, you see the canine squads here, a big presence. But no National Guard yet, they're going to all California airports.

CHADWICK: The security lines at LAX can be brutal on just normal days. How are conditions there now?

KAHN: I was at the Delta terminal for most of the morning and nothing was moving. There was - nobody was going through security and there was some sort of security breach there that complicated problems even more. Police would not comment about it, but we saw a lot of police and canine walking into the security area. Most people that were in line had missed their flights and were just waiting to see what would happen. Delays were up to three to four hours.

CHADWICK: NPR's Carrie Kahn as LAX. Thank you, Carrie.

KAHN: You're welcome.

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