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No scanner worries at JWA

More than 130,000 are expected to fly out of the airport through Monday. Full-body scanners will not be in place there until 2011.

November 24, 2010|By Sarah Peters, sarah.peters@latimes.com
  • Loren Miller, with his wife, Cecily, daughter, Jordan, 8, and son, Hunter, 6, wait for a flight to Dallas at John Wayne Airport on Wednesday.
Loren Miller, with his wife, Cecily, daughter, Jordan,… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

John Wayne Airport travelers seemed to largely avoid the security checkpoint slowdowns and protests seen at other airports nationwide Wednesday on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

"We're not anticipating anything happening here," airport spokeswoman Jenny Wedge said amid the pre-Thanksgiving bustle. "Things have been going really smooth this morning and lines are minimal."

More than 130,000 passengers are expected to fly out of JWA from Wednesday through Monday. And none will face the full-body scanners met with both derision and support nationwide.

That's because JWA won't have the scanners until sometime in 2011, Wedge said.

However, passengers may experience pat-downs or full-body scans if their points of origin or destinations are any of the 68 airports nationwide with the new screen technology.

"I went through it," said Katie Forney, 28, who flew from Houston to JWA on Wednesday morning. "I don't know what all those people are complaining about. It's not bad at all."

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On her way to Newport Beach to visit family, Forney flew with her husband, Johnny, and their 2-year-old son.

Although eight months pregnant with her second son, Forney had no objections about going through the new full-body scanner because she was assured that the levels of radiation were minimal.

The radiation projected by a full-body scanner is thousands of times less than that of a cell phone transmission, according to the Transportation Security Administration website.

As for the minor convenience of stepping out of line to go through a scanner, the Forneys said the few extra minutes for the extra security is well worth it.

"All in all, [flying] was a pretty good experience," Katie Forney said. "Even being eight months pregnant."

However, not all passengers are comfortable with the so-called "naked" scanners.

"It's an invasion of privacy," said Seattle resident James McLain, who was traveling back to the Emerald City via the Long Beach Airport. "If they can't tell who is carrying weaponry, then my confidence in them is at an all-time low."

Passengers who do not want to go through a full-body scanner have the option of undergoing a more thorough check than a usual pat-down.

If faced with being pat down, passengers can also request the security procedure be done in a private room with a friend or family member present, Wedge said.

"It's important to note that passengers have a choice," she said.

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