Armed National Guard troops have been deployed to most major airports, and travelers can expect longer lines as airport officials have stepped up security measures -- including more thorough screening of passengers and luggage.
Students planning to fly should be aware of the new rules when packing bags, planning the time of their arrival at the airport and going through security checkpoints, airport officials said.
New luggage restrictions allow for only one carry-on item and one "personal" bag, such as a purse or a briefcase, said Mirinda Kossoff, communications director at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Sharp instruments of any kind, including nail clippers, Swiss Army knives, ski poles and knitting needles are prohibited in carry-on baggage, Kossoff said.
Curbside check-in has been reinstated at RDU after being suspended for several weeks, but all checked luggage could be subject to random searches.
Kossoff said passengers' pockets and other belongings will be examined. "If you're carrying a laptop, you'll have to take the laptop out of its case, and it will go through separately," she said.
Kossoff stressed students should arrive about two hours before departure time for domestic flights and three hours for international flights -- especially during the early morning and the late afternoon. "If at all possible, try to fly during the middle of the day," she said. "(And) bring a book."
Kossoff said finding parking spots at RDU should not be a problem, but passengers should remember that curbside parking at the terminals is not allowed.
She said unattended cars parked curbside will be towed, and people sitting in cars at the curbside will be asked to move.
UNC students planning to travel during the week have had mixed reactions to the increased security regulations.
Junior Chris O'Connor, who plans to fly to London during Fall Break, said he is not afraid. "It's probably safer to fly now than at any other time," he said. "Security's so tight now, (it would) be a lot harder for anyone to pull off an attack or anything."
But a longer wait at the airport will be a definite inconvenience, said O'Connor, whose flight departs from Charlotte. "I have a midterm at 2 (p.m.), and the flight leaves at 7:15 (p.m.) -- it's going to be really tight getting there early," he said.
Carla Gellert, a UNC graduate student from Germany, said she is nervous about flying to Canada to visit a friend during the break.
"I'm kind of anxious after the terrorists announced more flight hijackings," she said. "But I doubt it will be my flight from Raleigh to Toronto with Air Canada. But my mom doesn't really want me to fly."
Despite some students' concerns, Kossoff said air travel is still a reliable and safe form of transportation.
"If you think about it logically, it's still far safer to fly than it is to drive anywhere," she said. "The risk that you are going to be on a flight with a major problem is very, very low."
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