Woman in underwear makes flight in Oklahoma City

Tammy Banovac, who was denied access Tuesday to the secure area of Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, successfully passed through security Wednesday wearing only her underwear and using a wheelchair.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Modified: December 2, 2010 at 9:43 am •  Published: December 2, 2010

For the second straight day, Tammy Banovac arrived at an airport security checkpoint Wednesday wearing only a bra and panties and sitting in a wheelchair with a small dog on her lap.

This time, she was able to board her Southwest Airlines flight to Phoenix.

The 52-year-old woman said her scanty attire wasn't a call for attention or a protest, but merely her way of efficiently getting through the Transportation Security Administration's enhanced screening process.

“I just want to make it easier on myself and on TSA,” Banovac said by phone from Phoenix. “They can see the parts of my body they would want to search.”

‘There are legitimate

reasons' for nitrates

She missed her flight Tuesday after TSA found traces of nitrates on her possessions.

According to a U.S. Department of Energy fact sheet, nitrates are used primarily to make fertilizer, but they also are used to make glass and explosives. Nitrates are naturally present in soil, water and food.

“It (the wheelchair) tested positive and TSA could not resolve the source,” Will Rogers World Airport spokeswoman Karen Carney said. “There are legitimate reasons why there could be nitrate found. Some medications have it. The issue here was that they couldn't resolve the source of it.

“If they say, ‘I'm a farmer and I've been planting, or I take heart medicine,' there's a way that they could resolve a source of the nitrate.”

Carney said the issue was resolved Wednesday morning, and Banovac boarded her flight at 7 a.m. after going through screening without incident. Banovac put on more clothes after clearing security.

Banovac said her screening Tuesday was unnecessarily long and thorough and that a TSA supervisor told her she would not be allowed to fly out of the airport that day.

“During the screening process, the passenger's bags alarmed and she was referred to local law enforcement,” regional TSA spokesman Luis Casanova said in a statement. “Law enforcement officers escorted the woman out of the checkpoint as she was denied access to the sterile area because of the unresolved alarms.”

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