What Will the New Airline Security Procedures Be?

Federal officials are still deciding how to adjust travel security rules.

ByABC News via logo
December 30, 2009, 7:23 AM

Dec. 31, 2009— -- Federal officials are still deciding how to adjust air travel security rules following an attempted terrorist plot on Christmas Day, leaving passengers confused about security procedures at airports and aboard planes.

Officials had discussed amending rules such as what items passengers are allowed to keep on their laps during the flight. But that idea was tossed aside and put back in the hands of the airlines.

At one point the government appeared to be considering forcing passengers on short flights to remain seated for the entire trip.

Officials are scrambling to revise security procedures that Obama deemed "systemic failures" following Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's alleged attempted terrorist attack on Detroit-bound Northwest flight 253.

But the shifting approach to changing rules has not comforted holiday travelers.

"[I'm] absolutely anxious about flying again for the first time in my life because I now believe the system is terribly, terribly broken," said one passenger.

"That's why we're here early," said another woman. "We came like three hours early."

The rules are clear for international flights bound for the United States. Today airlines are required to pat down all passengers boarding these flights and have asked travelers to arrive at the airport early.

"It if takes a little bit longer it's kind of the price you have to pay for safety," one passenger said.

Transportation safety officials are rolling out full-body scanning machines, or "naked scanners," which are able to see through clothes and detect if someone is trying to hide explosives in undergarments, as accused attempted bomber did.

There are currently 40 of these machines at 19 airports across the country, with 150 additional machines expected to be in use by the summer.