How 9/11 changed air travel for Americans and airport security protocols


HONOLULU (KHON) — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) travel rules that were put in place 20 years ago remain in effect to this day.

Those rules include having your bags screened and taking off your shoes before walking through a body scan. According to Lorie Dankers, TSA spokesperson for the Pacific Region, there have been major events over the past two decades that have significantly modified procedures.

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“The first one was in December 2001 when someone tried to make their shoe into a bomb and board an aircraft,” Dankers said. “That was a failed attempt, not in the United States, not someone who was trying to come into the United States.”

After nearly 20 years, she said many people forget that they were allowed to leave their shoes on.

Another rule put into action is one almost every traveler thinks about when they debate between checking in a bag or using a carry-on. 

“In the summer of 2006, there was an overseas plot to use liquid explosives on an aircraft to bring liquid onto the plane to mix them so they can cause that catastrophic damage to the aircraft,” said Dankers. “As a result, overnight TSA banned any amount of liquid from coming in your carry-on and going into the cabin of the aircraft. We could not afford to have that type of plot take place in the United States.”

Within several weeks, Dankers said they modified this regulation to allow 3.4 ounces which is also the international standard.

Dankers added that another major event that forced TSA to update their regulations was the electronics brought on to the cabin of a plane. 

“Another major event was in 2017 when we saw overseas people were tampering with their electronics. People were moving their battery compartments. They were in many ways modifying their electronics to see if they could make that into an explosive,” said Dankers. “What we said here in the United States is we are going to take a closer look at those electronics. Anything larger than a cellphone needs to come out of your bag so our officers can get a clear look at that laptop or that gaming consul or that iPad.”

Now if you are traveling with an electronic device in your carry-on, you are asked to put it in a separate bin to have an agent look at it.

Dankers agrees that these small regulations can be tedious and slow people down to getting to their gates, however, she said it’s their top priority to ensure every passenger has a safe flight.

Check out what’s going on around the nation on our National News page

“When you need to go to wherever it is you’re going — to visit your family, to visit your friends, to go on vacation, to go to your work — that you can get there at the end of the day,” said Dankers. 



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Miami International Airport Will Use COVID-19-sniffing Dogs




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This year’s Labor Day travel picks back up at SLC Airport


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The coronavirus slashed the number of travelers last year at the Salt Lake City International Airport, but this Labor Day, thousands of people are traveling once again.

Waiting for their ride home, Erik Gaona and Armando Calata told ABC4 they just got back from a weekend trip to California.

“We were in Los Angeles. Actually, went to Santa Monica and it was pretty good,” Calata said.

“Yeah, we went for my birthday and it was a good weekend for sure,” Gaona said.

Monday afternoon, Kristina Pexton said she too was just getting back from a trip out-of-state.

“It was an anniversary trip, we went to Alaska,” she said.

Holiday travel has picked back up this year. The airport reports more than 25,000 travelers, compared to last year’s 11,000 travelers.

With coronavirus cases surging across the country, travelers said increased case counts are a concern, but they made sure to do their part to stay safe and healthy.

“We were careful, I sanitized all the time,” Pexton said.

“I was a little nervous,” Gaona said. “I kept telling him, ‘put your mask, here’s some hand sanitizer, be careful.’”

“I don’t want to spread anything, and I don’t want to get anything and give it to my family,” Pexton said.

“I felt pretty safe as well and honestly, I think I’m getting used to the mask now. I had to travel last year during the pandemic, and I think you just get used to it and we might have to get used to it,” Calata said.

Masks are still required to be worn at all U.S. airports and on planes and buses. The Transportation Security Administration announced last month this mandate is now in place through mid-January.



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How the 9/11 forever changed airport security, travel industry


ROANOKE, Va. – It’s hard to believe it will be 20 years since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Since the attacks, the travel industry and airport security have drastically changed.

According to Virginia Tech’s director of hospitality and tourism management masters program, Professor Mahmood Khan, the terrorist attacks affected people’s desire to travel.

“The psychological fear that we have the security checks and so on that we have to go through,” said Khan.

Two months after 9/11, Former President George W. Busch created the transportation security administration, commonly known as TSA, forever changing the travel industry even more.

“We have to go through security checks which is not what it is nowadays. Now it is very extreme and what you have to pack in your bags, to take the liquids or not take the liquids, what toiletries we should be taking. all of those things,” said Khan.

Not only domestic travel, but international too. Khan says people are now more cautious of where they travel to or where their layovers are, and he doesn’t see any of this changing.

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“I don’t see that it is going to come back to what it was before, that you can walk in 30 minutes before your flight time, have your loved ones, family members going, your children are going to see them off as much as we used to do.”

Although TSA may cause longer wait times at the airport, most experts agree this type of security is necessary.

Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.



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Busy holiday travel expected at SD Airport


SAN DIEGO (CNS) – It was “pretty busy” Sunday at the San Diego International Airport, but not as busy as it used to be on a Labor Day weekend prior to the coronavirus pandemic, an airport official said.

“It’s definitely picking up,” airport spokesperson Pouya Abdomrasoul told City News Service on Sunday. “Today is most likely to be the busiest.”

Masks are required when inside the airport and on airplanes, the airport reminded travelers.

The weather along the coast and in some valleys on Monday was expected to be a few degrees cooler from Sunday’s temperatures, thanks to a coastal eddy forecast for Sunday night.

San Diego lifeguards and the National Weather Service were warning beachgoers of elevated surf, which can create dangerous swimming conditions, including a high risk of rip currents.

Parking lots at county beaches, such as the ones at Belmont Park in Mission Beach, were expected to fill up quickly early Monday morning. Beach parking on a holiday is usually tough to find even before noon and traffic can easily turn into gridlock later in the day.

Local Labor Day events include a one-mile swim around the Oceanside Pier at 8:30 a.m. Monday at 200 The Strand North. The event is sponsored by the Oceanside Swim Club.

At 10 a.m., a Labor Day rally will be held in support of essential workers at CVS Pharmacy, 3327 Rosecrans St. in Point Loma. The rally is sponsored by UFCW Local 135 and the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council. The union workers are seeking a new contract.

County health officials urge anyone celebrating the holiday to use extreme caution when gathering with others, to wear face coverings whenever possible and practice social distancing.





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TSA shares video of raw chicken on airport baggage carousel


(NEXSTAR) – Airline passengers are currently being urged to help stem the spread of coronavirus, but they should always refrain from causing any preventable salmonella outbreaks, too.

A shipment of loose raw chicken was recently seen circling the baggage carousel at Seattle Tacoma International Airport, the TSA revealed on social media. A representative for the agency believes the chicken was originally shipped inside a cooler, but had somehow fallen out of its container due to improper packaging.

“Somewhere between baggage and the carousel [the chicken] became free range,” the TSA joked on Instagram.

Social-media users were largely grossed-out by the footage, which showed other passengers’ luggage co-mingling with the semi-frozen block of chicken parts.

“There is not enough Lysol and Clorox to clean up after this,” wrote one user, who punctuated her comment with a vomiting emoji.

In its Instagram post, the TSA also warned travelers that raw meat, in checked or carry-on baggage, must be properly packed in ice or dry ice — and always secured.

“Meat, seafood and other non-liquid food items are permitted in both carry-on and checked bags,” according to the TSA’s official instructions for transporting fresh meat and seafood. The meat may be packed in dry ice, ice or ice packs, the TSA says — but if ice or ice packs are used, they must be completely frozen at the time of screening.

“If the ice or ice packs are partially melted and have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they will not be permitted,” read the TSA guidelines.

The TSA’s website notes, however, that on-duty TSA officers are responsible for any “final decisions” on the acceptability of the packaging.





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End of Summer Travel Brings New Amenities and Reminders for SEA Airport


SEA Visitor Pass returns along with voice assist app, new dining options and more!

The unofficial last weekend of the summer is coming fast with the Labor Day holiday and there’s more to help you speed up and enjoy your travel experience at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). New dining and retail options are now open, along with the re-start of the SEA Visitor Pass, a new voice-activated app option, plus construction updates and travel tips are easily available.

What Should I Know Now? 

  • Masks are still required as federal mask mandates continue for transportation facilities through January 2022. If you haven’t traveled recently, SEA Airport encourages passengers to check the flySEA app and FlyHealthy@SEA for healthy, safe and thoughtful travel. Testing isn’t required for most domestic travel but check on the latest for international travel and Hawaii.
  • AskSEA is a new voice-activated app to get your airport questions answered at home! Prep for your trip with a Google Assistant or an Amazon Alexa for quick answers.
  • Once you’re here enjoy two new dining and retail options with Tundra Taqueria and SEA Roast Coffee House at the new North Satellite, home of the N gates. And check out more throughout the terminal!
  • Want to meet someone at the gate or dine and watch the airfield? The SEA Visitor Pass is back for those who are not flying. Space is limited each day.
  • We’re close to being finished with the upgrades to the Cell Phone Lot, but there will be delays and limitations over the next month. Check our project page and look for alternatives to use instead. 

Make it Easier at SEA 

  • Try SEA Spot Saver! This is a free program for passengers to sign-up for reservations at the TSA general screening security checkpoints. RSVP to save your spot in line up to 72 hours in advance of travel or once at the airport. Explore other ways to .
  • Use Pre-Booked Parking as an option for contact-free travel. Pre-Booked Parking allows you to book and pay for airport parking in advance of arrival. Drive your own vehicle and scan your booking QR code on your phone at the garage entry and exit.
  • Breathe easy knowing our air filtration and ventilation system constantly circulates fresh, outdoor air through the terminal and uses a system that captures 90% of COVID-19 particles.
  • Lost & Found – One of the worst things about travel is if you lose something! Yikes! Now there’s a larger Lost & Found to help. Located on bag claim level across from carousel 13, the new office is twice the size of the old one and ready to help with an overall return rate of 89.6 percent!
  • The New North Satellite is now open! With 20 new gates, new landmark public art installations, a stage for live performances, open seating with views of the airfield and more to come with the Marketplace at N and additional retails options coming soon like Pike & Pine, and Filson.   

By The Numbers

Current projections estimate that the Thursday and Friday ahead of the holiday will see more than 47,000 outbound travelers going through the security checkpoints, which amounts to over 130,000 total passengers going through the airport (inbound, outbound, and connecting). This represents approximately 20-30% fewer travelers compared to pre-pandemic levels. The busiest day since the pandemic began was August 15 with 53,201 screened outbound travelers and over 148,000 overall passengers. In 2019, SEA Airport would reach peaks of over 70,000 daily departing passengers or more than 196,000 overall. 

Good Reminders

  • If you’re sick, stay home. If you have symptoms, do not travel.
  • Arrive two hours before domestic flights and three hours for international travel – just like we used to. This is including your entire travel experience at the airport, from parking (at the airport garage or off-site with a shuttle), if you need to check bags at the ticket counters, getting through security checkpoints, and getting to your gate on time.
  • Check travel guidance. Check with your airline regarding any rules you need to know for the state or country where you plan to travel.

Give me the Traveler Basics

The pandemic paused leisure travel for the last year. And rightly so. Now, travelers are more comfortable booking trips with the right planning and precautions to stay healthy. The CDC guidance for travelers changes depending on your COVID-19 vaccination status. We’re focused on keeping travelers and the SEA team safe. We are ready for you when you feel good about traveling.

  1. For a more efficient experience, download (or update!) the flySEA App. See checkpoint waits in real time in 5-minute increments, locate dining and retail to explore, and use the interactive map to navigate the airport.
  2. Look for the SEA Pathfinders in bright green if you have questions in the terminal or DM us and our customer care team is happy to help!
  3. Park in the airport garage. Consider picking up and dropping off passengers in the airport garage to avoid congestion. Short-term parking is only $5/hour. Pre-Booked Parking is available for a touchless transaction in advance of arrival.
  4. Be ready for security checkpoints. SEA and TSA want to help you move through security checkpoints as quickly as possible. Travelers are required to remove electronics larger than a cell phone from carry-on luggage. Also, remove foods and liquids from your carry-on luggage, prepare to hold up your boarding pass for review, and wear your mask. You can also see the latest Identification and Documentation Requirements.
  5. Need more travel hacks? Visit the Customer Service webpage for our best advice to navigate SEA like a frequent flier.
  6. SEA continues to add new services to make travel more accessible and improve the travel experience beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Check out our SEA Social Story developed for traveler with sensory sensitivities such as autism, but also great overall tips for kids. Learn more about accessibility at SEA. The interactive map on the flySEA App offers accessible route directions.
  7. Check with the City of SeaTac to see if there are any road construction projects that might hinder your access to the airport.

FlyHealthy@SEA will continue to evolve as travelers return to the airport. For more information, please visit:

Contact

Perry Cooper | SEA Airport
(206) 787-4923 | cooper.p@portseattle.org



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Gainesville Airport receives $5.6 million in grants as travel numbers more than triple


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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) – Travel is on the rise once again at the Gainesville Regional Airport. Travel numbers have more than tripled as GNV reported 40,195 passengers last month versus the 12,084 they saw in July 2020.

In addition to more travelers, the airport has also received a total of 5.6 million dollars in federal grants. While 2.1 million will be used for airport improvements, 3.5 million will help cover costs incurred during the worst of the pandemic.

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As part of the Airport Coronavirus Rescue Grant Program, the covid relief funds will help keep employees working and avoid layoffs/shutdowns, according to the airport’s public relations manager Erin Porter.

“There’s been a lot of leisure travel of families reuniting which has been nice to see. On top of that our terminal expansion has been underway throughout the pandemic,” said Porter.

With the new terminal in full use, Porter said they’re hoping the airport’s numbers can soon top their 2019 record of 558,246.

Copyright 2021 WCJB. All rights reserved. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.



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Two House members secretly traveled to Kabul airport amid hurried evacuations


WASHINGTON — Two House members issued a scathing statement Tuesday after they took a secret trip to the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, saying “Washington should be ashamed” about the effort to evacuate Americans and allies.

Reps. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Peter Meijer, R-Mich., said they traveled to Kabul, the capital, on Tuesday as part of an effort to persuade President Joe Biden to extend the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw U.S. troops, which would effectively end the effort to evacuate Americans and others who helped the U.S. over two decades of war.

“After talking with commanders on the ground and seeing the situation here, it is obvious that because we started the evacuation so late, that no matter what we do, we won’t get everyone out on time, even by September 11,” the lawmakers, both of whom are veterans, said in a joint statement. “Sadly and frustratingly, getting our people out depends on maintaining the current, bizarre relationship with the Taliban.”

The two lawmakers also criticized the support U.S. troops on the ground in Kabul are receiving. Both members served in Iraq before being elected to Congress.

“Washington should be ashamed of the position we put our service members in, but they represent the best in America,” they said in the statement. “These men and women have been run ragged and are still running strong. Their empathy and dedication to duty are truly inspiring.”

Republicans and Democrats have vocally criticized Biden’s handling of the withdrawal, which he has largely defended as necessary to ending the decades-long war.

The Taliban effectively took control of the country this month, and since then the U.S. has conducted hurried evacuations from the Kabul airport with the tacit permission of the new government. As recently as Tuesday, a Taliban spokesman warned that after the deadline, they will no longer view a U.S. presence in the country as acceptable, a position that could lead to more violent clashes if U.S. troops remain.

But U.S. officials have warned that it may not be possible to get all Americans and allies out by the deadline.

Biden announced Tuesday that he intended to honor the deadline, saying he has asked the Defense and State departments to craft contingency plans if the evacuations are not complete.

Moulton and Meijer gave House leaders and the Armed Services Committee no notice about their trip, a senior Democratic leadership aide said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration advised against Americans, whether elected officials or not, trying to travel to Kabul.

“The focus must continue to be evacuating American citizens and our Afghan partners who fought alongside us for the last 20 years, and that is best left in the hands of our the Department of Defense and the State Department,” Psaki said.

An administration official told NBC News Tuesday night that the trip was “an unhelpful distraction to the mission we are trying to accomplish. Our troops need to be focused on getting evacuees out, not hosting members of Congress who want to find a way in.”

Before the trip became public, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote a letter to tell members they could not travel to Afghanistan.

“I write to reiterate that the Departments of Defense and State have requested that Members not travel to Afghanistan and the region during this time of danger,” she wrote, saying such trips would “unnecessarily divert needed resources from the priority mission of safely and expeditiously evacuating Americans and Afghans at risk from Afghanistan.”

During her weekly press conference at the Capitol on Wednesday, Pelosi said she knew about the trip a little while before it became public but didn’t say anything because it was too dangerous.

“This is deadly serious,” Pelosi said, reiterating that leadership does not want any more members to travel to Afghanistan because there is already a strain on resources. “There’s a real concern about members being in the region.”

A trip taken by lawmakers would normally require approval by congressional committees and Pelosi said that they did not have the greenlight from the Democratic side.

Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, told MSNBC on Wednesday that he was “shocked” to hear about the trip.

“I actually think this is a pretty irresponsible thing for these two members to do,” Crow said. “The bottom line is we are just trying to secure our troops and soldiers, we’re trying to get as many people out as possible and the only thing that I thought about when I heard this is how many Afghan women and children were not able to be evacuated yesterday because they had to pull Marines off the line or out of rest to provide security for VIPs? It shouldn’t have happened.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., suggested in an interview Wednesday on Fox News that more of his fellow Republicans are trying to travel to Afghanistan to observe the evacuation for themselves.

“Other colleagues of mine are doing the same thing,” he said. “I’ve talked to a lot of my colleagues who served in Afghanistan and we’ve heard them very vocally talking about their translators that they worked with, friends of theirs that are still left behind enemy lines by President Biden. And they’re doing things to try to get people out.”

Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., a member of the Armed Services Committee, criticized the two for the trip.

“Whether it is Haiti or Afghanistan, taking up space in a disaster zone for your own ego helps no one,” she wrote on Twitter.

Meijer and Moulton pre-emptively defended their decision to travel to the country, saying they did so secretly so they would not draw attention to their presence.

“We conducted this visit in secret, speaking about it only after our departure, to minimize the risk and disruption to the people on the ground, and because we were there to gather information, not to grandstand,” they said. “We left on a plane with empty seats, seated in crew-only seats to ensure that nobody who needed a seat would lose one because of our presence.”





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