Avoid long lines, full body scanners at Columbus Airport

By Chuck Leonard  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Believe it or not, there is a way to avoid long lines at the major airports. Fly out of a smaller one.

Mark Oropeza thinks that is an excellent idea. You'd expect that from the manager of the Columbus Metropolitan Airport, but Oropeza has the proof to back it up. "We still have the x-ray machine, the baggage check, the hand-wanding and the alarms go off, but the point is you're not going to have 110 people in front of you."

We watched the passenger screening for an American Eagle flight to Dallas, Texas, and it took less than 10 minutes.

Among those boarding the flight are Mike and Geri Regnier, of Columbus. They're headed to Oklahoma for a holiday visit with their children.

The Regniers have found the extra cost to fly from Columbus, $42 on this trip, outweighs the hassle of driving to Atlanta. "It's just much more convenient," says Mike Regnier, "You don't have to drive to pay for the parking and the hectic pace up there for security's much worse than here."

As far as security is concerned, the Columbus Airport doesn't have a full-body scanner yet, but one has been ordered.

That doesn't mean the place is any less safe. If you set off the alarms, Mark Oropeza says you will be searched. "You're going to be patted down, just like at the big airports. But our people are going to tell you exactly what they're going to do, why they're going to do it and how they're going to do it, so there isn't any of this touchy-feely gropey stuff."

And in light of the pictures we've seen of overzealous screeners, that's comforting to know.  

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