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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 2:26 p.m., Thursday, August 10, 2006

Long waits at airport security check points

Video: Increased security measures at Honolulu International Airport

By Dan Nakaso
and Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writers

Inter-island airline passengers waited 45 minutes and longer just to get into the first of two security check points today because of heightened security precautions from the foiled London bomb plot.

"It's an inconvenience. It's a little nerve-wracking, waiting, knowing the situation," said Danny Latourneau, of Boston, who was traveling to Maui with his family. "It's a red alert. I understand why we are going through the line and I'd rather be safe."

Like others, Latourneau and his family hastily moved newly banned items like water bottles and suntan lotion out of their carry-on bags and into their checked luggage after Homeland Security officials raised the U.S. airport threat level to orange — or high alert — when terrorists used liquid explosives to try to blow up several U.S. bound commercial airlines.

As many as four lines of passengers snaked out of the inter-island terminal today as people like Starr Kalahiki, a 30-year-old singer from Honolulu waited to board her Hawaiian Airlines flight to San Jose.

"It's kind of a harsh thing," Kalahiki said. "You have to go through your bags and think about what you're going to pack. I waited until this morning. I'm a procrastinator."

Kalahiki, knowing that she couldn't bring water in her carry-on bag, made sure to hydrate herself before.

Hawai'i tourism officials are urging departing passengers to arrive at Island airports at least three hours before their international and domestic flights and two hours before inter-island travel.

Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the state Transportation Department, said all liquids and gels are not being allowed but there are some exceptions. Formula, breast milk and juice are OK for passengers traveling with young children. Prescription medicines also will be cleared provided the names on bottles match up with passenger IDs.

The first large group of passengers at Honolulu International Airport affected between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when outgoing flights were scheduled to depart, said Marsha Wienert, state tourism liaison. The next crush will occur from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., she said.

At about 10 p.m. last night, state officials activated a telephone, fax and e-mail network to notify hotels and tourism officials to begin alerting visitors of the heightened security precautions, Wienert said.

Airport workers this morning posted and passed out fliers telling passengers that they cannot bring in:

  • Liquids or gels of any size, including beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, toothpaste, hair gel.

    But passengers may have:

  • Baby formula, breast milk, or juice if a baby or small child is traveling; Prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger's ticket, insulin and other non-prescriptive medicines.

    Beverages purchased in the "sterile area" after screening must be consumed before boarding the aircraft.