- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Many air travelers, given the opportunity to once again bring toothpaste, shampoo and other toiletries aboard flights, yesterday decided instead it was more convenient to forgo their new rights.

“I stuck to my old routine, it’s just easier,” said Laura Zlomek of Frostburg, Md., who was flying from Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to attend a wedding in Hilton Head Island, S.C. “This way I don’t have to say I have any liquids.”

Many passengers coming or going from Washington-area airports yesterday echoed Miss Zlomek’s rationale.

“We were scared to bother to even try,” said Donna Joule, 43, of McAllen, Texas, at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. “When I learned of the ban a few weeks ago I thought, ‘Oh, now we can’t bring liquids anymore.’ But then I realized we really didn’t need that stuff anyway.”

At BWI, “I just got in the habit of checking my bags, it’s just easier that way,” said Kia Baskerville, 34, of Annapolis, before boarding a flight. “I appreciate the security measures, and I accept the rules as they are.”

Lauren Harvard, 18, of Olney, said she has no plans to take any liquids on board in the near future.

“I’ll just have to wait and see,” said Miss Harvard while waiting for a United Airlines flight to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. “I knew the ban was being lifted, but I didn’t want to take any chances.”

Beginning yesterday, liquid, lipstick, and gel and cream toiletries in 3-ounce containers or smaller were allowed on commercial flights if they are in a clear, plastic, quart-size or smaller reclosable bag. Only one plastic bag per passenger is allowed.

Some items are permitted in any amount: saline solution, eye drops and prescription and nonprescription medicine, the Transportation Security Administration said.

Drinks, liquids and gels bought in airport stores inside security checkpoints can be carried into passenger cabins; baby formula is allowed but will be inspected.

Some passengers said it was too confusing keeping up with rules, particularly because the Homeland Security Department just announced them Monday.

Irene Riker of Marietta, Ga., sat sipping a can of Coca-Cola before a flight at BWI yesterday after being told that she couldn’t bring it past the security checkpoint.

“I heard about the new rules last night, but I didn’t have time to read any papers,” Mrs. Riker said. “I don’t have a problem with [the rules] as long as they keep us informed. It would’ve been nice if they could’ve e-mailed ticket-holders about it.”

Terry Townsend, 56, of Chattanooga, Tenn., said he applauds the tighter security but is frustrated because of inconsistencies among airports.

“I fly a lot, and some airports let you take some stuff on and others wouldn’t — you just wouldn’t know,” he said at Reagan Airport. “That’s the biggest frustration I have.”

Patricia French, 55, who arrived at BWI yesterday from Atlanta, successfully carried small bottles of hair spray and contact lens solution on board a flight from the Georgia capital. But some of her fellow passengers weren’t as fortunate.

“They were very strict about the size of the bag — I saw them make people throw some away because they were too large,” Mrs. French said.

Security lines generally moved briskly at Washington-area airports. That wasn’t the case, however, in Atlanta, Mrs. French said.

“I’ve never waited in security lines as long as I have today in Atlanta,” she said. “If they would’ve asked me one more time about my bag, I would’ve thrown it away.”

Passengers weren’t the only ones getting used to the new rules. Transportation Security Administration officials at Reagan Airport regularly deferred to clipboards with the updated regulations. And a sign outside an hourly parking garage at the airport still informed passengers that all liquids were banned on board flights, ignoring the updated rules.

Teresa Usher, 44, of Bel Air, Md., said the relaxed rules almost seemed too good to be true. So just in case they weren’t, she wasn’t going to risk losing any expensive cosmetics while going through security at BWI.

“I just took my lipstick; put it in my pocket so if they told me I couldn’t take it, I could just throw it away,” she said before boarding a United Airlines flight to see her mother in Portland, Ore. “Everything else I left at home. I just didn’t want to take any chances.”

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