Business leaders and dignitaries joined the usual traveling crowd this (Tuesday) morning at the Des Moines International Airport to salute the resumption of direct flights from Iowa’s capital to the nation’s capital. Iowa congressman Tom Latham was at the boarding gate with a ticket to Washington, D.C.
Latham calls it “great” to have nonstop service to Washington’s Reagan National Airport. Latham made it clear he was talking about travelers besides just politicians. He said for business travel, the route and the schedule are ideal.
A person could get on this flight at 7:30 Iowa time, Latham says, arrive in Washington to do business for six or seven hours, take the return flight, “and be home for supper again.” Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell was waiting to board the plane, too, and was asked about aviation security and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
“There’s room for improvement,” he admits, but Boswell says security’s a growing process and the goal’s to make everyone safe as possible. “Terrorists are hard to deal with,” Boswell adds. Jay Brainard is the airport’s TSA director, and got orders this week to add cigarette lighters to the list of items banned from airline flights. It doesn’t go into effect till April 15, and Brainard says it’s a result of recommendations from the September Eleventh Commission.
Brainard says they try and weigh the importance of any new step they add while considering public safety, and also to let people know what’ll be expected when they travel. He says the purpose is to prevent any terrorist or troublemaker from setting off an I-E-D, Improvised Explosive Device on an aircraft. Northwest Airlines is providing the 44-seat commuter jet that will fly the route, through its airlink partner Pinnacle Airlines.