Video: Tighter security slows travelers

  1. Closed captioning of: Tighter security slows travelers

    >> matt, thank you. with the new security measures put in place, if you're flying any time soon, you should expect the unexpected. nbc's kevin tibbles is at the detroit metro airport with more on that. kevin , good morning.

    >> reporter: good morning, amy. you know, airport officials tell me that some passengers are so anxious about the new security measures, they are showing up four, five, even six hours ahead of time. lengthy lineups have been the order of the day since christmas day's failed terror attack . from chicago o'hare --

    >> been standing in line for about an hour now, waiting to check my bags. it's moving real slow because of security and stuff.

    >> reporter: to detroit metro, passengers were anxious about increased security .

    >> a lot of different folks i've talked to in line told me my flight's not for six hours, but we didn't want to waste any time.

    >> reporter: airport officials tell passengers to be prepared for added, often random, security checks that may include being patted down or having luggage hand searched. this is especially the case for international travelers headed to the u.s.

    >> they had to check everybody, one per one, just to frisk them and open all the bags, get everything out of the hand luggage.

    >> reporter: security sources now say on flights bound for the united states , the tsa is allowing pilots to use their discretion and decide whether passengers must remain seated for the last hour of the flight, whether they can access carry-on luggage or even have a blanket or pillow.

    >> on the plane it was quite different because we couldn't go to the toilet one hour before landing and we couldn't even read magazines.

    >> reporter: some question the severity of the new rules.

    >> there's a difference between being unpredictable and being silly. airport security needs to be unpredictable so the bad guys don't know exactly what they're going to run into. but some of the measures that have been put in place this week are just downright silly.

    >> reporter: airport officials are advising travelers to arrive 90 minutes ahead of domestic flights and between two and three hours ahead of international flights. and for many passengers, the extra hassle is worth it.

    >> it means some personal sacrifices, but it also means that we get a chance to land with all the wheels rather than landing after the plane explodes. so, i'm okay with that.

    >> reporter: clearly, in the interests of safety, these new safety measures have to be an accepted part of airline travel these days, but obviously, here in detroit metro this morning with the long lines, even outside in the subzero temperatures and around the world, people are going to have to get used to waiting and waiting. amy?

    >> all right, kevin tibbles. thanks so much.

updated 12/29/2009 11:46:22 AM ET 2009-12-29T16:46:22

Canadian officials have banned most carry-on luggage for U.S.-bound passengers following a failed Christmas Day plot to blow up a plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Transport Canada said Monday that passengers may only carry medical devices, small purses, cameras, laptop computers, canes, walkers, diaper bags, musical instruments and bags containing "life-sustaining items."

Travelers headed for the United States have been allowed to carry on only one bag since Saturday, following 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's alleged attempted to bring down a Northwest Airlines flight as it prepared to land in Detroit on Friday.

Transport Canada said it is trying to alleviate backlogs at security checkpoints, after passengers complained of chaos and long lines at Pearson International Airport in Toronto over the weekend and Monday morning.

Police are now helping with security at four of Canada's biggest airports after Transport Canada requested assistance. Police are performing a secondary search of passengers after they pass the main security check point at airports in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. About 40 Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers are doing searches at Pearson.

Transport Canada spokesman Patrick Charette said the measures are expected to remain in place for at least several days.

"We hope the restrictions on those carry-on baggage will help to assure the effectiveness and efficiency of security screening," Charette said.

At the Toronto airport Monday morning, every U.S.-bound passenger was subjected to a pat-down and luggage was inspected by hand. Getting through the checks took about three hours, with some information boards citing the security measures for several delays and cancellations.

Video: Screeners may have detected underwear bomb

Trish Krale of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority said Monday went somewhat more smoothly at Pearson after a very difficult weekend. More than 130 flights were canceled.

Air Canada and its affiliate Jazz canceled several short-haul flights to the U.S. due to security delays. Air Canada consolidated flights and operated larger aircraft on some routes — particularly from Toronto to destinations in the Northeastern U.S.

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"We appreciate the cooperation and understanding of our customers during this challenging time and ask them to assist us in getting them to their destination faster by bringing as little carry-on as possible," Duncan Dee, Air Canada's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement. "Air Canada is doing everything it can to maintain its schedule, despite the delays caused by security screening issues outside its control. However, our number one priority remains the safety and security of our customers and staff."

One woman said the lines are the worst she's seen during her family's annual Christmas trek to Canada.

"This is probably five times the lines we've ever experienced," said Christin Grand, who was traveling home to Atlanta with her three children and husband. "We come up every Christmas and never experienced lines like this. We usually show up an hour and fifteen minutes before our flight and we're two plus hours before and it's still crazy."

Andre Belanger, a Montreal resident flying to Fort Lauderdale from Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, didn't mind that he was sent back to check in a carry-on bag.

"I'm not frustrated at all because I know that security commands things like that, so I will comply with the instructions," Belanger said. "It's a question of lives, you know."

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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