By GAIL MAHOLICK

gmaholick@tnonline.com [1]

After reading horror stories in the newspaper and hearing about the prolonged security checks on television, I steeled myself for a bad time at the airport on Wednesday.

Our arrival time at the Wilkes-Barre airport was slightly after 4 a.m. and our flight was supposed to take off at 6 o'clock for Newark Airport, where we would change planes for our final destiny - Las Vegas.

What we encountered at Wilkes-Barre were some of the friendliest people I have ever met. The time spent going through security was slightly under three minutes and that was because I had to take off my boots and jacket and put them in the containers for scanning and then put them back on.

There was no frenzy. There were no crazy people. There were no intimate pat downs and no full body scan that would show off my physic. Worry was for nothing.

I can't tell you how many times I heard about the proposed madness on television as I packed my bags on Tuesday night. I feared that we would be detained - that they would take away my hairspray because I couldn't find the travel size.

I worried about whether the way I packed my medication would meet their standards.

Instead I found friendly people just doing their job so that we would all have a safe flight.

I was merely one of the 1.62 million holiday travelers who flew safely over the long weekend.

I had heard about the proposed protests at airports organized against additional security procedures, including the dreaded body scan, but when we arrived at the airport, we were actually first in line at Wilkes-Barre. I remember a friendly face taking my ID and boarding pass and a friendly reminder to have "a Happy Thanksgiving."

After we were though security, I thought, wow, that was easy. Not only were the airport security people friendly, so were all the passengers on the tiny plane that took us into Newark.

Since we were already through security, I knew that boarding the plane at Newark would be easy. Not only were the airline staff friendly, so were the passengers.

I also know that my daughter and her husband, and her in-laws also had no complaints about the their flights to Las Vegas.

I feared that while going through security at a fairly small airport might not be the same as Las Vegas airport for the return flight, but my fears were unwarranted again. We arrived at the airport early, more than two hours before our 8 a.m. flight and since it is a bigger airport, it did take a few minutes longer simply because there were more people, but once again, not once were we accosted by security wanting to perform a pat down. In all, our time spent at the airports was happily uneventful.

I realize that flying has changed over the years, but with some careful planning, following the rules and having a good attitude goes far. And don't believe everything you hear.