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The Daily Tar Heel

Students Find Tighter Security

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, airports have heavily increased security measures, including random searches, pat downs and constant patrolling by armed military personnel.

Despite the intimidation that could come with the weaponry and searches, many students said they felt relatively calm during their travels.

"There were military guys with big guns walking around," said freshman Bill Myers, who flew from Raleigh to Boston during Fall Break. "They had boats out patrolling in (Boston) Harbor too."

Along with the additional security staff, airports have increased the number of random luggage searches.

"Some people had symbols stamped on their tickets, and there was a certain symbol that meant your luggage would be searched," said freshman Li Li, who flew from Raleigh to Hartford, Conn., during the break. "They also called random names from the passenger list for a search of carry-ons."

Li was one of the passengers selected for a random search. She said she understood the need for the extra measures but said she found some of the searching techniques a little strange. "(The airline security staff) opened my bag and made me turn on my cell phone and calculator," Li said. "Then he asked me to do some calculations to make sure it was real."

Freshman John Newton, who stopped at four airports, said the searches conducted by security personnel were extremely thorough, which he said gave him some peace of mind. "When they searched women's bags, they would take out all the makeup, open up all the lipstick and look inside the tubes to make sure they weren't hiding anything," he said.

Many airlines are enforcing other new security measures, said Beatrice Dippy, a representative from Council Travel in Chapel Hill.

Passengers may have only one carry-on item and may not pack anything in that bag that could be used as a weapon, including scissors, nail files or knitting needles, Dippy said.

She also said passengers must have proper identification that matches the name on their ticket and arrive two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights.

With the new security rules, some UNC students decided to avoid the entire situation. Senior Rohit Patel, from Atlanta, chose to drive home for fall break rather than fly. "I didn't want to have to deal with all the waiting on security."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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