A winding lineup of U.S.-bound travellers inched along at the Edmonton International Airport yesterday afternoon, abuzz with debate after the announcement new security features will soon reveal air passengers’ most private parts.
Federal transport officials confirmed scanners at security checkpoints at Canadian airports — including Edmonton’s — will be installed by spring.
The decision follows an apparent attempt to blow up a plane over Michigan on Christmas Day.
Since the bomb scare, new federally imposed security amendments have forced EIA staffers to ease frustrated travellers through extended wait times, longer lines and carry-on restrictions. EIA spokeswoman Traci Bednard said most are resigned to the measures, as they are in place for passenger safety.
“It’s inconvenient, but I’d rather be secure,” Arizona-bound flyer Pam McLean said.
Passengers are no longer allowed any carry-on items except diaper bags, laptops and purses no bigger than a sheet of paper.
Roughly 40 US flights depart from the Edmonton International Airport daily. Airlines are now suggesting U.S. passengers arrive at least three hours prior to flights, Bednard said.
Travellers who spoke with Metro yesterday were prepared for and accepting of new procedures, but held varying opinions on soon-to-come scanners, which will reveal 3-D outlines of the naked body.
“That’s just not right. I would feel uncomfortable about (scanners),” Nevada-bound Edmontonian Leigh Holts said. “I don’t know if they’ll impact my travel decisions, but they’ll definitely make me think more.”
The scanners will be used only on those selected for additional screening, though uncomfortable passengers can opt out for a traditional pat-down.
That’s good news for flyer Sylvia Pirnak, who will choose a scan if offered the option. “I would rather (be scanned) than have someone I don’t know touching me,” she said. “They can look all they want, I have nothing to hide.”