Checkpoint Challenges - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Checkpoint Challenges

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LITTLE ROCK -

In this era of enhanced baggage screening and security checkpoint lines, it is advised you get to the airport well in advance of your flight's departure.

One Denver man says he got to Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport four hours early on Sunday…and missed his flight anyway.

Bill Rickman arrived at the airport at 5:00 pm Sunday night for a 6:45 flight only to be told that weather delays elsewhere in the country was pushing his flight back to 9:00 pm.

Rather than wait around at the air port for four hours, he and several others went to get something to eat.

They are still in Little Rock right now.

Little Rock airport can control a lot of things, but spokesperson Shane Carter referred us to a spokesperson in Florida when we asked questions about the TSA security checkpoint.

Sunday night the checkpoint closed at 8:00 pm, causing several travelers to miss their flight.

"We asked the TSA for help, we asked an airport person for help, we asked Frontier representatives for help," Bill Rickman of Denver told us in a telephone interview from his uncle's home in Little Rock.  "And not only couldn't they or wouldn't they help us but they seemed pretty ambivalent about it and borderline uncooperative."

We checked the policies of security checkpoints at five other regional airports (Dallas/Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Shreveport and Memphis).

The last checkpoint at DFW closes 30 minutes before midnight.

All the other airports say the checkpoint closes just before or just after the last flight leaves.

"I just think the people who fly in and out of Little Rock should be given the courtesy of advisement," says Rickman.  "(Checkpoint hours are) On no web sites, no signage in the building, no information at the ticket counters…nothing that would have let us know that we needed to be past that checkpoint by 8:00 pm."

TSA spokesperson Jonathan Allen tells us in an emailed statement that "The checkpoint closes at 8 p.m.  There's a sign that notifies passengers of this as they leave the checkpoint after the screening process.  If we are notified by an airline of an operational need to keep the checkpoint open later, we can do so.  But we received no such notice yesterday (Sunday)."

Rickman and the other travelers who missed their flight left the airport after checking in but prior to going through security.  It was not possible for them to see the warning sign Allen references. 

(The broadcast version of this report stated that at news time we were still waiting to hear back from a TSA spokesperson.  The spokesperson had in fact responded via email within 20 minutes of our request but that response had not been seen).

Air date:  March 25th, 2013