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Air travelers came in from the cold

November 16, 2002

Laura Sturza

Many passengers at Burbank-Glen- dale-Pasadena-Airport still refer

to its old-fashioned charms, but recent construction is one of

several projects that have kept the facility up-to-date.

"You would check in at the gate, which was out of doors," Burbank

Airport Commissioner Don Brown said.

"People would get their ticket inside and stand outside ... there

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would be [agents] there to get your ticket.

"You'd walk outside out on the tarmac and you'd board the

airplane."

It has been 16 years since the Federal Aviation Administration

required the airport to put more distance between parked airplanes

and the runway, which "gave rise to building the east concourse a

year later," Airport Authority spokesman Victor Gill said.

The airport is working on a 40,000-square-foot security

enhancement project, with the passenger-screening area and

luggage-detection systems expected to be finished by the end of the

year, Gill said. The $25-million project is designed to meet federal

security guidelines by providing space for added security equipment

and personnel.

Travelers used to check in at the terminal and walk 300 feet under

a covered walkway to a pair of connected trailers with "90 molded

chairs," Gill said. Passengers then walked up to 800 feet to board

their planes.

"It was a very colorful boarding procedure -- especially on a

rainy day," Gill said.

Today's passengers wait in an indoor holding area and step outside

where their aircraft is parked.

Burbank was not alone in its passenger processing, with John Wayne

and Ontario airports offering "equally primitive" or worse

circumstances, Gill said. John Wayne's holding space was so sparse

that "they would literally put passengers on airplanes as holding

rooms."

Improvements were made at the Orange County terminal in 1990 and

at Ontario in the late 1990s, Gill said.

Security checks today are also quite different from those used in

the late 1980s.

"It was much faster then because all you did was hand them a

ticket and board the plane," Brown said. "There was no security, no

terrorist threat. So in those days, all [they] did was check to see

if you had a ticket, and you got on the plane."

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