9/11 Airport anxieties

Hugo Grégoire, a Santa Monica College student, loves to travel to a new place at least once a year. The upgrade to high-level security at airports has not changed his mind about traveling, nor does the chance of hijackers on a plane affect his love for going places. As for Grégoire's family, they are still concerned every time he boards a plane because of the frightening chance he could be on the plane that crashes. But they were even more worried about his safety the first two years after the Sept. 11 attacks, he said.

"I think security was a lot crazier a few years after the attack," said Grégoire.

Though 9/11 still haunts the minds of many Americans 12 years later, students like Grégoirehave decided not to let painful airplane reminders stop them from traveling.

Fredrick Douglas, a photography major at SMC, lived in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, and vividly remembers the devastation that struck that day. But he has still traveled throughout the years for photo opportunities, opting to drive or take rail transportation whenever feasible to avoid the ordeal of flying.

"Flying has certainly changed," said Douglas. "Gone are the days of hassle-free travel. Security is at an all-time high with armed guards throughout the airport."

In 2001, President George W. Bush passed the Patriot Act to improve machines, tools, security, and help prevent terrorism in the U.S.

Heightened airport security was instituted after 9/11 for protection, but it can be off-putting to uneasy travelers.

"If we choose not to subject ourselves to radiation we have to be patted down," said Douglas. "I feel sometimes they can be pretty intrusive."

The Transportation Security Administration has recently changed security rules, removing the Rapiscan System's "backscatter" body scanners. Also, people who are age 12 and younger, age 75 and over, or members of the military, will no longer have to remove their shoes or light jackets.

Recent reports from the TSA's official website state that the organization is currently working on technological improvements. These include continuing to expand paperless boarding passes, bottle liquid scanners, biometric technology, explosive detective systems, threat-image projection, and better imaging technology.

"I'm interested in being a part of the new TSA pre-check program, starting this fall," Grégoire said. "It will make traveling a lot more comfortable, timely, and advantageous."

The new pre-check program will allow eligible passengers to use a quick lane during the screening process, which allows you to keep your shoes on, light jackets, belts, and not have to pull out your laptop or carry on liquids, according to the TSA's website.

Douglas said he believes that with improvement of technology and attention to detail, flying will become more of a trustworthy and safe operation for passengers, flight attendants, pilots, and TSA employees.

For 12 years, both Grégoire and Douglas have changed their perspective on the convenience of flying, rather than the fear.

Belle OwenComment