Sept. 11, 2001 and its effect on travel security

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The human and emotional costs of Sept. 11, 2001, on America will never fully be measured, no matter whether it be 10, 20, or 30 years later. A tragedy that was national in its scope was at the same time most stinging to individuals and families directly affected by the terrorist attacks. Hundreds of thousands of people still deal with the loss of a close friend or family member; an irreplaceable part of their life is gone.

Related to these more intimate tolls on Americans are the tangible changes in everyday life for millions who endeavor to travel safely. The typical experience of an airline passenger has dramatically changed and the travel industry has suffered through a major shakeup during the last 10 years.

The post 9/11 changes in travel still affect BYU student-athletes traveling to games, students who study abroad and even professors who travel domestically to conferences, according to Brian Marks, manager of strategic sourcing Operations at BYU Purchasing and Travel.

“Everybody who travels knows you have to spend more time at the airport,” Marks said. “From a travel perspective there are [also] additional taxes and fees you have to accommodate for, so it is expensive.”

Marks, who worked with JetBlue before being hired at BYU, said that there are ways for the university to plan in advance and make travel as hassle-free as possible even with all the airport security.

“We work closely with airports, develop relationships with vendors such as Delta Airlines,” Marks said. “You can save a lot of money with the relationships we’ve developed with our vendors.”

Even on domestic flights, however, BYU professors and students unfortunate enough to forget their passport or driver’s license will pay a dear cost: not going. The previous policy allowed students to present a BYU ID in place of a license or passport in order to get on the plane when the flight was within the U.S. Such identification is considered unacceptable now.

Another inconvenience frequently confronting travelers is the Transportation Security Administration’s policy disallowing liquids, aerosols and gels in excess of 3.4 ounces from being carried on to the plane. Many passengers tend to forget this detail, resulting in large amounts of their toiletries being thrown away at the airport.

The TSA released a statement defending the policy decision on its official website.

“The ban on liquids, aerosols and gels was implemented after a terrorist plot was foiled. Since then, experts from around the government, including the FBI and our national labs have analyzed the information we now have and have conducted extensive explosives testing to get a better understanding of this specific threat. These changes are intended to enhance security and balance human needs,” the statement said.

Many people within the travel industry appreciate that the new security measures are designed to prevent future terrorism, but still see the added hassle as a necessary evil.

Lorie Andersen, supervisor for corporate travel at BYU Purchasing and Travel, is one such person.

“Security at the airport has become a lot more difficult,” Andersen said. “They’re more invasive now than they used to be.”

Senior Mariah Hill, a philosophy major from Orem, finds a big difference between security protocol at U.S. airports as compared to procedures in other countries.

“It’s interesting to see the difference; we’re all taking off our shoes and gung-ho about it, but the security guards are looking at us like ‘why are you taking off your shoes,’” said Hill, who has traveled to Europe and the South Pacific.

Andersen said a major problem arising from post 9/11 travel is theft of belongings under the pretense of security. She said this occurs most primarily at airports in less developed countries.

“There’s more fraud that goes on now; [a lot of the time] they go through your bags and take what they want,” Andersen said. “Anything that they can put on the black market, they’ll steal.”

Senior Brittany Dalton from Mesa, Ariz., acknowledges added hassle comes with flying in a post 9/11 world, but believes people too often forget the magnitude of what U.S. airport security aims to prevent.

“I think at first we realized there were things worth defending and things worth fighting for and we gained that fire again and it’s slowly died,” Dalton said. “For the most part the higher security doesn’t bother me. I think they’re doing a great job actually.”

 

 

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