How Covid-19 Has Changed Where Californians Live


Since the earliest days of the pandemic, we’ve been hearing about Californians abandoning their usual way of life for greener, cheaper pastures.

There are the San Franciscans who weathered lockdown orders in Lake Tahoe, and the Angelenos with new desert cabins in Joshua Tree. Tales abound of Silicon Valley types moving home to Miami and Seattle, or renting acres of land in Idaho.

The story goes like this: The coronavirus and the ability to work remotely have fundamentally reshaped where we want to live — and large California cities, particularly Los Angeles and San Francisco, are not on the list.

But is any of that actually true?

I’ll start with the short answer. There hasn’t been an exodus from California, but pandemic forces have shifted where people reside within the state. Those patterns of relocation mirror what we were already seeing before Covid-19, but on overdrive.

Here’s how this shakes out.

California’s population declined slightly in 2020, but it wasn’t because of a mass migration to other states. To blame are coronavirus deaths, a lower birthrate and fewer international arrivals.

In fact, 82 percent of Californians who moved last year stayed in the state, according to a report from the California Policy Lab. That figure has been basically stable over the past five years.

“A lot more people are moving around within the state than they are out of the state,” Eric McGhee, a senior fellow with the Public Policy Institute of California, told me. “That movement tends to be within a certain metropolitan area, and a lot of that is people moving to suburbs and exurbs.”

Californians are likely to move from Los Angeles to the Inland Empire or from San Francisco to the fringes of the Bay Area or the Sacramento region, McGhee said. That’s because they want cheaper housing but don’t want to end up so far away that they need to change jobs.

It’s been that way for a long time. These were the largest county-to-county net migrations in California between 2015 and 2019, according to census data:

  • Los Angeles to San Bernardino (20,809 people)

  • Los Angeles to Riverside (13,949)

  • Los Angeles to Orange (11,879)

  • Alameda to Contra Costa (9,246)

  • Orange to Riverside (8,282)

  • Los Angeles to Kern (6,032)

  • San Diego to Riverside (5,892)

  • San Francisco to Alameda (5,469)

  • San Francisco to San Mateo (4,239)

  • Alameda to San Joaquin (4,134)

With the emergence of the pandemic in 2020, some of these trends kicked into high gear.

The Inland Empire tied Phoenix in 2020 for the biggest gain in households from migration nationwide, The Wall Street Journal recently reported. The flow of humanity into Riverside and San Bernardino Counties increased by 50 percent compared with the previous year.

This reflects Californians’ desire to escape the exorbitant home prices of more coastal regions. In Riverside County, the median single-family home price in August was $570,000, compared with $830,070 in Los Angeles County and $1.85 million in San Francisco.

As my colleagues noted in a recent analysis, pricey San Francisco experienced one of the most significant exoduses of the pandemic. While “migration patterns during the pandemic have looked a lot like migration patterns before it,” that wasn’t the case for San Francisco, they wrote.

In the city, net exits — the number of people leaving minus the number of people arriving — increased to 38,800 in the last three quarters of 2020, compared with 5,200 during the same time the previous year, according to the California Policy Lab report. The city lost one-eighth of its total households last year by some estimates.

But perhaps this is good news for those us of fighting the myth of a California exodus: Two-thirds of San Franciscans who fled landed in other parts of the Bay Area and 80 percent stayed in the state.

For more:

Today’s travel tip comes from Curtis Ridling:

“For natural beauty I never get enough of Yosemite during the fall, when colorful leaves add to the experience. The winter with snow puts a different twist on the park with a sense of quiet not available at other times. Summer with its crowds is difficult but the views are still there as you look up and see climbers on El Capitan.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.


Has your child been vaccinated against Covid-19?

Share stories of your children receiving their coronavirus shots and how it has affected your holiday plans. Please include your child’s name, age and city of residence — and even a photograph, if you’d like.

Email me at CAtoday@nytimes.com and your submission may be included in a future newsletter.


One lucky Californian is about to become a multimillionaire.

All six numbers drawn in Saturday’s Super Lotto Plus matched a ticket sold at a gas station in Santa Clarita, KCAL9 reports. The winner will claim $38 million.

Happy holidays, indeed.




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Let us know if ‘omicron’ has changed your travel plans


A traveler arrives at RDU International Airport in Morrisville, N.C. on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021.

A traveler arrives at RDU International Airport in Morrisville, N.C. on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021.

jwall@newsobserver.com

We’re interested in hearing how or if your travel plans are changing with Friday’s news of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization deemed omicron a “variant of concern” and several countries, including the United States, are imposing restrictions on travel to and from countries in southern Africa.

Are you changing your travel plans? Keeping them? Tell us more in the form below. A reporter might reach out to you.





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COVID-19: Travel rules have changed again – what are they now? | Travel News


Holidays have been made a fair bit cheaper just in time for half-term, with PCR tests scrapped for fully vaccinated passengers arriving in England.

It’s the latest change to the UK government’s travel rules, aimed at making trips easier and more accessible.

What’s the latest?

The latest change concerns testing and ties into recent tweaks to the traffic light system.

The old traffic light system of red, amber and green countries has been replaced with just a red list and a “rest of the world category”.

People who are fully vaccinated will not need to take a pre-departure test before they arrive back in England from anywhere in the “rest of the world” category.

From 24 October, the PCR test taken on the second day after arrival is replaced with a cheaper lateral flow.

Grant Shapps said of the changes: “With half-term and winter sun around the corner, we’re making it easier for families and loved ones to reunite, by significantly cutting the number of destinations on the red list, thanks in part to the increased vaccination efforts around the globe.”

The transport secretary added that they were designed to “restore people’s confidence” and “rebuild our economy”.

Experts say they are worried about the risk of variants infecting UK travellers in Europe this year
Image:
Only seven countries remain on the red list

Which countries are on the red list?

As of 4am on Monday, 11 October, only seven countries remain on the red list. They are:

Panama

Colombia

Venezuela

Peru

Ecuador

Haiti

Dominican Republic

Testing

Residents who are fully vaccinated no longer need to take a pre-departure lateral flow test before they return to England from a non-red list country.

They will still need to take a lateral flow test, purchased from one of the private providers listed on the gov.uk website, on the second day they are back.

The government has confirmed people will be able to take pictures of their negative lateral flow results and booking reference to prove they have not contracted COVID.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid previously told Sky’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday: “The cost that generates for families, particularly families just trying to go out and holiday, you know we shouldn’t be keeping anything like that in place for a second longer than is absolutely necessary.”

Those who are unvaccinated still need to take a pre-departure test before travelling back to England, and still have to purchase a PCR for their day-two test.

A 10-day home quarantine is also still mandatory for people who are unvaccinated – regardless of where they have travelled from.

They can pay for a PCR test on day five if they want to end their quarantine early as part of the government’s Test to Release scheme.

Recognised vaccines

From 11 October, the government increased the number of countries whose vaccination programmes it recognises.

Fully-vaccinated arrivals from 37 new countries, including Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey, will be treated the same as double-jabbed Britons.

This means they will not have to quarantine or take a day five PCR test – just a test on day two.

What happens if you come back from a red list country?

Anyone returning from a red list country is still required to pay £2,285 to quarantine for 11 nights at a government-approved hotel.

What happens if a traveller tests positive when returning to the UK?

Anyone who tests positive needs to isolate and take a free confirmatory PCR test.

This would then be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.

Will the new rules apply to the whole of the UK?

The travel changes only apply to England.

Wales has announced that it plans to make the same changes from 31 October, while Scotland and Northern Ireland have indicated that they could do so at a later date.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on 28 September that she would make the changes “with some reluctance”, but added: “We have also considered the practical consequences of not having an aligned position.

“In particular, we have to be realistic about the fact that people living in Scotland could decide to return here via airports based in England, if different rules are in place for Scottish airports.

“The result of this would be a disadvantage to our aviation and travel sector, but without any significant public health advantage.”

Are the rules the same for leaving the UK and returning from other countries?

The rules only apply to those flying back to the UK.

Towards the end of October, passengers who change flights or international trains during their journey will be able to follow the measures associated with the country they originally departed from, rather than the countries they have been through as part of their journey.

However, a date for this has not yet been confirmed.

Passengers should continue to check GOV.UK travel guidance to keep up to date with entry requirements into the UK here.



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What hasn’t COVID changed? Airline and hotel service


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Some things never change. Even in travel. Yes, even during a pandemic.

You’re probably a little weary of all the headlines proclaiming that COVID-19 has changed our lives forever. So maybe it’s comforting to know that the travel industry is the same as ever – for better or worse.

By “better” I mean that some of the positive aspects of travel have also remained constant. And by “worse,” I mean that some parts of air travel and hotel accommodations have stubbornly stayed the same, despite all the promises. Taking inventory of these permanent aspects could help you plan your next trip.

Airlines lose some fees but keep the bad service

Airlines made a big deal when they dropped some – but not all – of their ticket change fees at the start of the pandemic. They didn’t mention that these fees were unconscionable to begin with, or that the airlines were receiving generous federal aid ($80 billion and counting). 

Rick Versace, a frequent air traveler who is the CEO of an airport limousine service, says that while he appreciates the removal of airline fees, flying remains a “cattle call.”

► You matter to us:  Southwest is (quietly) doling out ‘we’re sorry’ vouchers to travelers caught in cancellation chaos. Here’s how to get one

“Airports are jam-packed, and the flight attendants and ground crew are overworked and exasperated,” he adds. 

Sounds a lot like flying before the pandemic, doesn’t it? 

By the way, don’t take your eye off the airlines. It won’t be long before they quietly reintroduce all those fees. It’s a heck of a way to say “thank you” for all that taxpayer support during the pandemic.

Hotels aren’t ‘COVID clean’

Hotels would like you to believe that their rooms are cleaner than ever, thanks to their new sanitation protocols. But in conversations with hotel insiders and guests, it’s clear that these cleaning initiatives are mostly just promotional campaigns designed to attract more bookings. 

“The whole ‘COVID clean’ thing is B.S.,” says Chloé Cohen, a real-estate investor from New York. “I’ve seen stickers that say ‘self-sanitizing’ on an elevator keypad in a New York hotel, that was not backed by tech to emit the UV pad sanitation. So basically, it was just a sticker. Same goes for door handles and key cards. There was no evidence of virus-related cleaning.”

All that talk of UV robots and extra-clean hotel rooms will probably soon fade. And what will we be left with? Hotels will start charging for daily housekeeping. Thanks for nothing!

► Hotel housekeeping:  Here’s how to know if your room is really clean

► Where are the housekeepers?  COVID-19 guidelines, labor shortage affect hotel housekeeping service

Car rental companies: Older cars, higher prices

Here’s a complaint as old as the car rental industry: Travelers griping about overpriced, high-mileage vehicles. But they got more of the same during the pandemic as the rental-car industry struggled to adjust to the new normal

If anything, the situation turned worse after the outbreak. And the outlook is more of the same, as car rental companies struggle to manage their fleets and meet customer demand. Complaining about the old cars and high prices will remain.

► A $750 car rental for three days?   Don’t wait to book a rental car and other tips to avoid sticker shock

Road trips are still in fashion

Not all of the consistency is bad. Road trips, which were already big before the pandemic, became even more popular after the outbreak. Of course, they did: They offered the promise of safer travel within your family pod, and the opportunity for plenty of social distancing. 

“Millions of Americans went on a road trip,” says Tim Hentschel, CEO of HotelPlanner. “What also hasn’t changed is people’s desire to visit friends and family.”

Road trips never went out of fashion, even when record numbers of Americans were flying. And if you took a road trip last summer, you know why, and also why that’s great. 

They don’t call it the great American road trip for nothing!

► We’ve been nomads for almost a year:  Here’s what I’ve learned about taking an extended road trip

Travelers still use advisors

Travel advisors are still here, too. A recent survey by Internova Travel Group found 4 out of 5 Americans prefer working with a human being over an online travel agency to plan an important trip.

Why? They like the personal attention, the extra perks, and getting access to deals they can’t find online. Also, agents are more relevant than ever in the age of COVID, helping travelers navigate the world of PCR tests and ever-changing travel requirements.

► From vaccines to testing:  What travelers need to know before the new US travel system on Nov. 8

“Travelers can expect consistency from their travel advisors,” says Angie Licea, president of the Global Travel Collection. “Why try to figure this out on your own when this industry was built on support and service for travelers?”

A sharp advisor has always been one of the most effective travel tools. And that’s true now more than ever.

► How to stay COVID-free on your fall vacation:  Plan – and then plan some more

And yes, people still love to travel

Another thing that hasn’t changed: People still love to travel. Even at the height of the pandemic, they booked trips and remained optimistic. A recent survey by Generali Global Assistance found that 41% of travelers expect a return to normal in 2022, with no masks or other COVID-19-related precautions.

“Given the lingering impacts of the pandemic, it’s reassuring that Americans are optimistic for travel normalizing in 2022,” says Chris Carnicelli, CEO of Generali Global Assistance.

Maybe one reason they’re so optimistic is that no matter how much people talk about change in travel, so little actually changes. That familiarity – at least on the positive side of the travel experience – is reassuring and comforting.

How have you changed since the pandemic?

The travel industry hasn’t changed that much, but travelers have. Here’s how – and what it means for you.

Travelers are planning their trips at the last minute. More than half of hotel bookings happen 7 to 14 days in advance. That’s a big switch from before the pandemic when lead times were often measured in months. “As hotel occupancy continues to increase, you should plan,” says Michelle Russo of hotelAVE, a hotel consulting firm. “If you’re unsure about what the future could mean when planning, select destinations that will offer more flexible cancellation policies.”

They’re taking shorter vacations.  Another change: Trips are shorter than in the past. John Gobbels, chief operating officer of Medjet, an air medical transport and crisis response program for travelers, blames that shift on continuing uncertainty. “People are taking a series of smaller, more easily canceled trips this year instead of one longer one,” he says. But if you have your vaccines and don’t mind staying out for a few weeks, this could be the time to plan a lengthier vacation. You might save some money, too.

Travelers are buying more insurance.  Amid all the uncertainty, more travelers are buying insurance. And with good reason, says Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications at Allianz Partners USA. “Our claims volume has been up 75% over last year, and we’re hearing from customers that they never expected to have to cancel their trip, but they are glad they purchased travel insurance.” You have a limited amount of time to buy insurance and receive the maximum benefit. 

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.



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The 2 big ways Americans’ travel habits changed during the pandemic






The 2 big ways Americans’ travel habits changed during the pandemic






















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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.

Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

“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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How 9/11 changed air travel: more security, less privacy   | News


DALLAS (AP) — Ask anyone old enough to remember travel before Sept. 11, 2001, and you’re likely to get a gauzy recollection of what flying was like.

There was security screening, but it wasn’t anywhere near as intrusive. There were no long checkpoint lines. Passengers and their families could walk right to the gate together, postponing goodbye hugs until the last possible moment. Overall, an airport experience meant far less stress.

That all ended when four hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

The worst terror attack on American soil led to increased and sometimes tension-filled security measures in airports across the world, aimed at preventing a repeat of that awful day. The cataclysm has also contributed to other changes large and small that have reshaped the airline industry — and, for consumers, made air travel more stressful than ever.

Two months after the attacks, President George W. Bush signed legislation creating the Transportation Security Administration, a force of federal airport screeners that replaced the private companies that airlines were hiring to handle security. The law required that all checked bags be screened, cockpit doors be reinforced, and more federal air marshals be put on flights.

There has not been another 9/11. Nothing even close. But after that day, flying changed forever.

NEW THREATS, PRIVACY CONCERNS

Here’s how it unfolded.

Security measures evolved with new threats, and so travelers were asked to take off belts and remove some items from bags for scanning. Things that clearly could be wielded as weapons, like the box-cutters used by the 9/11 hijackers, were banned. After “shoe bomber” Richard Reid’s attempt to take down a flight from Paris to Miami in late 2001, footwear started coming off at security checkpoints.

Each new requirement seemed to make checkpoint lines longer, forcing passengers to arrive at the airport earlier if they wanted to make their flights. To many travelers, other rules were more mystifying, such as limits on liquids because the wrong ones could possibly be used to concoct a bomb.

“It’s a much bigger hassle than it was before 9/11 — much bigger — but we have gotten used to it,” Ronald Briggs said as he and his wife, Jeanne, waited at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for a flight to London last month. The north Texas retirees, who traveled frequently before the pandemic, said they are more worried about COVID-19 than terrorism.

“The point about taking shoes off because of one incident on a plane seems somewhat on the extreme side,” Ronald Briggs said, “but the PreCheck works pretty smoothly, and I’ve learned to use a plastic belt so I don’t have to take it off.”

The long lines created by post-attack measures gave rise to the PreCheck and Global Entry “trusted-traveler programs” in which people who pay a fee and provide certain information about themselves pass through checkpoints without removing shoes and jackets or taking laptops out of their bag.

But that convenience has come at a cost: privacy.

On its application and in brief interviews, PreCheck asks people about basic information like work history and where they have lived, and they give a fingerprint and agree to a criminal-records check. Privacy advocates are particularly concerned about ideas that TSA has floated to also examine social media postings (the agency’s top official says that has been dropped), press reports about people, location data and information from data brokers including how applicants spend their money.

“It’s far from clear that that has any relationship to aviation security,” says Jay Stanley, a privacy expert at the American Civil Liberties Union.

More than 10 million people have enrolled in PreCheck. TSA wants to raise that to 25 million.

The goal is to let TSA officers spend more time on passengers considered to be a bigger risk. As the country marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks, the TSA’s work to expand PreCheck is unfolding in a way privacy advocates worry could put people’s information at more risk.

At the direction of Congress, the TSA will expand the use of private vendors to gather information from PreCheck applicants. It currently uses a company called Idemia, and plans by the end of the year to add two more — Telos Identity Management Solutions and Clear Secure Inc.

Clear, which recently went public, plans to use PreCheck enrollment to boost membership in its own identity-verification product by bundling the two offerings. That will make Clear’s own product more valuable to its customers, which include sports stadiums and concert promoters.

“They are really trying to increase their market share by collecting quite a lot of very sensitive data on as many people as they can get their hands on. That strikes a lot of alarm bells for me,” says India McKinney, director of federal affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group for digital rights.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske, though, sees Clear’s strategy as helping TSA. Says Pekoske: “We have allowed the vendors to bundle their offerings together with the idea that would be an incentive for people to sign up for the trusted-traveler programs.”

The TSA is testing the use of kiosks equipped with facial-recognition technology to check photo IDs and boarding passes rather than having an officer do it. Critics say facial-recognition technology makes errors, especially on people of color.

TSA officials told privacy advocates earlier this year that those kiosks will also pull photos taken when the traveler applied for PreCheck, McKinney says. That concerns her because it would mean connecting the kiosks to the internet — TSA says that much is true — and potentially exposing the information to hackers.

“They are totally focusing on the convenience factor,” McKinney says, “and they are not focusing on the privacy and security factors.”

‘SECURITY THEATER’?

Despite the trauma that led to its creation, and the intense desire to avoid another 9/11, the TSA itself has frequently been the subject of questions about its methods, ideas and effectiveness.

Flight attendants and air marshals were outraged when the agency proposed in 2013 to let passengers carry folding pocket knives and other long-banned items on planes again. The agency dropped the idea. And after another outcry, the TSA removed full-body scanners that produced realistic-looking images that some travelers compared to virtual strip searches. They were replaced by other machines that caused fewer privacy and health objections. Pat-downs of travelers are a constant complaint.

In 2015, a published report said TSA officers failed 95% of the time to detect weapons or explosive material carried by undercover inspectors. Members of Congress who received a classified briefing raised their concerns to Pekoske, with one lawmaker saying that TSA “is broken badly.”

Critics, including former TSA officers, have derided the agency as “security theater” that gives a false impression of safeguarding the traveling public. Pekoske dismisses that notion by pointing to the huge number of guns seized at airport checkpoints — more than 3,200 last year, 83% of them loaded — instead of making it onto planes.

Pekoske also ticked off other TSA tasks, including vetting passengers, screening checked bags with 3-D technology, inspecting cargo and putting federal air marshals on flights.

“There is an awful lot there that people don’t see,” Pekoske says. “Rest assured: This is not security theater. It’s real security.”

Many independent experts agree with Pekoske’s assessment, though they usually see areas where the TSA must improve.

“TSA is an effective deterrent against most attacks,” says Jeffrey Price, who teaches aviation security at Metropolitan State University of Denver and has co-authored books on the subject. “If it’s security theater, like some critics say, it’s pretty good security theater because since 9/11 we haven’t had a successful attack against aviation.”

This summer, an average of nearly 2 million people per day have flowed through TSA checkpoints. On weekends and holidays they can be teeming with stressed-out travelers. During the middle of the week, even at big airports like DFW, they are less crowded; they hum rather than roar. Most travelers accept any inconvenience as the price of security in an uncertain world.

Travel “is getting harder and harder, and I don’t think it’s just my age,” said Paula Gathings, who taught school in Arkansas for many years and was waiting for a flight to Qatar and then another to Kenya, where she will spend the next several months teaching. She blames the difficulty of travel on the pandemic, not the security apparatus.

“They are there for my security. They aren’t there to hassle me,” Gathings said of TSA screeners and airport police. “Every time somebody asks me to do something, I can see the reason for it. Maybe it’s the schoolteacher in me.”

THREATS FROM WITHIN

In 2015, a Russian airliner crashed shortly after taking off from Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. American and British officials suspected it was brought down by a bomb.

It was, however, the exception rather than the rule. Even outside the United States, terror attacks on aviation since Sept. 11, 2001 have been rare. Is that because of effective security? Proving a negative, or even attributing it directly to a certain flavor of prevention, is always a dicey exercise.

And then there are the inside jobs.

— In 2016, a bomb ripped a hole in a Daallo Airlines plane shortly after takeoff, killing the bomber but 80 other passengers and crew survived. Somali authorities released video from Mogadishu’s airport that they said showed the man being handed a laptop containing the bomb.

— In 2018, a Delta Air Lines baggage handler in Atlanta was convicted of using his security pass to smuggle more than 100 guns on flights to New York.

— The following year, an American Airlines mechanic with Islamic State videos on his phone pleaded guilty to sabotaging a plane full of passengers by crippling a system that measures speed and altitude. Pilots aborted the flight during takeoff in Miami.

Those incidents highlight a threat that TSA needs to worry about — people who work for airlines or airports and have security clearance that lets them avoid regular screening. Pekoske says TSA is improving its oversight of the insider threat.

“All those folks that have a (security) badge, you’re right, many do have unescorted access throughout an airport, but they also go through a very rigorous vetting process before they are even hired,” Pekoske says. Those workers are typically reviewed every few years, but he says TSA is rolling out a system that will trigger immediate alerts based on law enforcement information.

With all the different ways that deadly chaos could happen on airplanes after 9/11, the fact remains: Most of the time, it hasn’t. The act of getting on a metal machine and rising into the air to travel quickly across states and countries and oceans remains a central part of the 21st-century human experience, arduous though it may be.

And while the post-9/11 global airport security apparatus has grown to what some consider unreasonable proportions, it will never neutralize all threats — or even be able to enforce the rules it has written. Just ask Nathan Dudney, a sales executive for a sporting goods manufacturer in Nashville who says he occasionally forgets about ammunition in his carry-on bag.

Sometimes it’s discovered, he says, and sometimes not. He understands.

“You can’t catch everything,” Dudney says. “They’re doing things to the best of their ability.”





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How 9/11 changed air travel: more security, less privacy   | News


DALLAS (AP) — Ask anyone old enough to remember travel before Sept. 11, 2001, and you’re likely to get a gauzy recollection of what flying was like.

There was security screening, but it wasn’t anywhere near as intrusive. There were no long checkpoint lines. Passengers and their families could walk right to the gate together, postponing goodbye hugs until the last possible moment. Overall, an airport experience meant far less stress.

That all ended when four hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

The worst terror attack on American soil led to increased and sometimes tension-filled security measures in airports across the world, aimed at preventing a repeat of that awful day. The cataclysm has also contributed to other changes large and small that have reshaped the airline industry — and, for consumers, made air travel more stressful than ever.

Two months after the attacks, President George W. Bush signed legislation creating the Transportation Security Administration, a force of federal airport screeners that replaced the private companies that airlines were hiring to handle security. The law required that all checked bags be screened, cockpit doors be reinforced, and more federal air marshals be put on flights.

There has not been another 9/11. Nothing even close. But after that day, flying changed forever.

NEW THREATS, PRIVACY CONCERNS

Here’s how it unfolded.

Security measures evolved with new threats, and so travelers were asked to take off belts and remove some items from bags for scanning. Things that clearly could be wielded as weapons, like the box-cutters used by the 9/11 hijackers, were banned. After “shoe bomber” Richard Reid’s attempt to take down a flight from Paris to Miami in late 2001, footwear started coming off at security checkpoints.

Each new requirement seemed to make checkpoint lines longer, forcing passengers to arrive at the airport earlier if they wanted to make their flights. To many travelers, other rules were more mystifying, such as limits on liquids because the wrong ones could possibly be used to concoct a bomb.

“It’s a much bigger hassle than it was before 9/11 — much bigger — but we have gotten used to it,” Ronald Briggs said as he and his wife, Jeanne, waited at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for a flight to London last month. The north Texas retirees, who traveled frequently before the pandemic, said they are more worried about COVID-19 than terrorism.

“The point about taking shoes off because of one incident on a plane seems somewhat on the extreme side,” Ronald Briggs said, “but the PreCheck works pretty smoothly, and I’ve learned to use a plastic belt so I don’t have to take it off.”

The long lines created by post-attack measures gave rise to the PreCheck and Global Entry “trusted-traveler programs” in which people who pay a fee and provide certain information about themselves pass through checkpoints without removing shoes and jackets or taking laptops out of their bag.

But that convenience has come at a cost: privacy.

On its application and in brief interviews, PreCheck asks people about basic information like work history and where they have lived, and they give a fingerprint and agree to a criminal-records check. Privacy advocates are particularly concerned about ideas that TSA has floated to also examine social media postings (the agency’s top official says that has been dropped), press reports about people, location data and information from data brokers including how applicants spend their money.

“It’s far from clear that that has any relationship to aviation security,” says Jay Stanley, a privacy expert at the American Civil Liberties Union.

More than 10 million people have enrolled in PreCheck. TSA wants to raise that to 25 million.

The goal is to let TSA officers spend more time on passengers considered to be a bigger risk. As the country marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks, the TSA’s work to expand PreCheck is unfolding in a way privacy advocates worry could put people’s information at more risk.

At the direction of Congress, the TSA will expand the use of private vendors to gather information from PreCheck applicants. It currently uses a company called Idemia, and plans by the end of the year to add two more — Telos Identity Management Solutions and Clear Secure Inc.

Clear, which recently went public, plans to use PreCheck enrollment to boost membership in its own identity-verification product by bundling the two offerings. That will make Clear’s own product more valuable to its customers, which include sports stadiums and concert promoters.

“They are really trying to increase their market share by collecting quite a lot of very sensitive data on as many people as they can get their hands on. That strikes a lot of alarm bells for me,” says India McKinney, director of federal affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group for digital rights.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske, though, sees Clear’s strategy as helping TSA. Says Pekoske: “We have allowed the vendors to bundle their offerings together with the idea that would be an incentive for people to sign up for the trusted-traveler programs.”

The TSA is testing the use of kiosks equipped with facial-recognition technology to check photo IDs and boarding passes rather than having an officer do it. Critics say facial-recognition technology makes errors, especially on people of color.

TSA officials told privacy advocates earlier this year that those kiosks will also pull photos taken when the traveler applied for PreCheck, McKinney says. That concerns her because it would mean connecting the kiosks to the internet — TSA says that much is true — and potentially exposing the information to hackers.

“They are totally focusing on the convenience factor,” McKinney says, “and they are not focusing on the privacy and security factors.”

‘SECURITY THEATER’?

Despite the trauma that led to its creation, and the intense desire to avoid another 9/11, the TSA itself has frequently been the subject of questions about its methods, ideas and effectiveness.

Flight attendants and air marshals were outraged when the agency proposed in 2013 to let passengers carry folding pocket knives and other long-banned items on planes again. The agency dropped the idea. And after another outcry, the TSA removed full-body scanners that produced realistic-looking images that some travelers compared to virtual strip searches. They were replaced by other machines that caused fewer privacy and health objections. Pat-downs of travelers are a constant complaint.

In 2015, a published report said TSA officers failed 95% of the time to detect weapons or explosive material carried by undercover inspectors. Members of Congress who received a classified briefing raised their concerns to Pekoske, with one lawmaker saying that TSA “is broken badly.”

Critics, including former TSA officers, have derided the agency as “security theater” that gives a false impression of safeguarding the traveling public. Pekoske dismisses that notion by pointing to the huge number of guns seized at airport checkpoints — more than 3,200 last year, 83% of them loaded — instead of making it onto planes.

Pekoske also ticked off other TSA tasks, including vetting passengers, screening checked bags with 3-D technology, inspecting cargo and putting federal air marshals on flights.

“There is an awful lot there that people don’t see,” Pekoske says. “Rest assured: This is not security theater. It’s real security.”

Many independent experts agree with Pekoske’s assessment, though they usually see areas where the TSA must improve.

“TSA is an effective deterrent against most attacks,” says Jeffrey Price, who teaches aviation security at Metropolitan State University of Denver and has co-authored books on the subject. “If it’s security theater, like some critics say, it’s pretty good security theater because since 9/11 we haven’t had a successful attack against aviation.”

This summer, an average of nearly 2 million people per day have flowed through TSA checkpoints. On weekends and holidays they can be teeming with stressed-out travelers. During the middle of the week, even at big airports like DFW, they are less crowded; they hum rather than roar. Most travelers accept any inconvenience as the price of security in an uncertain world.

Travel “is getting harder and harder, and I don’t think it’s just my age,” said Paula Gathings, who taught school in Arkansas for many years and was waiting for a flight to Qatar and then another to Kenya, where she will spend the next several months teaching. She blames the difficulty of travel on the pandemic, not the security apparatus.

“They are there for my security. They aren’t there to hassle me,” Gathings said of TSA screeners and airport police. “Every time somebody asks me to do something, I can see the reason for it. Maybe it’s the schoolteacher in me.”

THREATS FROM WITHIN

In 2015, a Russian airliner crashed shortly after taking off from Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. American and British officials suspected it was brought down by a bomb.

It was, however, the exception rather than the rule. Even outside the United States, terror attacks on aviation since Sept. 11, 2001 have been rare. Is that because of effective security? Proving a negative, or even attributing it directly to a certain flavor of prevention, is always a dicey exercise.

And then there are the inside jobs.

— In 2016, a bomb ripped a hole in a Daallo Airlines plane shortly after takeoff, killing the bomber but 80 other passengers and crew survived. Somali authorities released video from Mogadishu’s airport that they said showed the man being handed a laptop containing the bomb.

— In 2018, a Delta Air Lines baggage handler in Atlanta was convicted of using his security pass to smuggle more than 100 guns on flights to New York.

— The following year, an American Airlines mechanic with Islamic State videos on his phone pleaded guilty to sabotaging a plane full of passengers by crippling a system that measures speed and altitude. Pilots aborted the flight during takeoff in Miami.

Those incidents highlight a threat that TSA needs to worry about — people who work for airlines or airports and have security clearance that lets them avoid regular screening. Pekoske says TSA is improving its oversight of the insider threat.

“All those folks that have a (security) badge, you’re right, many do have unescorted access throughout an airport, but they also go through a very rigorous vetting process before they are even hired,” Pekoske says. Those workers are typically reviewed every few years, but he says TSA is rolling out a system that will trigger immediate alerts based on law enforcement information.

With all the different ways that deadly chaos could happen on airplanes after 9/11, the fact remains: Most of the time, it hasn’t. The act of getting on a metal machine and rising into the air to travel quickly across states and countries and oceans remains a central part of the 21st-century human experience, arduous though it may be.

And while the post-9/11 global airport security apparatus has grown to what some consider unreasonable proportions, it will never neutralize all threats — or even be able to enforce the rules it has written. Just ask Nathan Dudney, a sales executive for a sporting goods manufacturer in Nashville who says he occasionally forgets about ammunition in his carry-on bag.

Sometimes it’s discovered, he says, and sometimes not. He understands.

“You can’t catch everything,” Dudney says. “They’re doing things to the best of their ability.”



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9/11 changed air travel as we knew it


WORLD. AND THERE HAS BNEE SOME SORT OF EXPLOSION THE WORLD AS WE KNEW IT CHANGED ON 9/11 PERHAPS NONE MORE SO THAN THE WAY WE FLY JUST 20 YEARSGO A A TIME WITHOUT SECURITY LINES SCREENING THE REMOVAL OF SHOES AND BELTS. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY AREHE T MOST SIGNIFICTAN SECURITY CHANGES THAT HAVE HAPPENED AFTER 9/11? IT’S AN AIRPORT. NOT QTEUI HONESTLY, I THINK THE WHOLE CREATION OF TSA AND AND HOW THEY’VE EXPANDED. I CAN REMEMBER FLYING AN AIRPLANE WHERE YOU WOULD FLY IN THE FRONT. YOU COULD LKOO UPFRONT YOU COULD SEE THROUGH A CURTAIN. YOU CAN SEE THE PILOT’S FLYING. OF COURSE THOSE DAYS ARE GONE. NOW. WE HAVE LOCKED DOORS FBI, MILWAUKEE SPECIAL AGENT. ROBERT HUGHES SAYS IN ADDITNIO TO THE CREATION OF TSA SEPTEMBER 11TH CHAEDNG HOWHE T FBI OPERATES WE TRANSFORMED FROM A MAINLY A CRIMINAL TYPE INVESTIGATIVE AGENCY TO WHAT I CONSIDER THE MTOS ETELI INTELLIGENCE GATHERING AND COUNTERTERRORISM COUNTERINTELLIGENCE AGENCY IN THE WORLD. THWI THE FBI GATHERING INTEL WORLDWIDE OVER THE YEARS TSA. TRAINING AND UPGRADED TECHNOLOGY, WHICH USED TO BE JU ST METAL DETECTORSN I AIRPORTS. NOW WE HAVE SO MANY MORE ADVANCED TOOLS TO DETECT THREATS TO LOOK IN. UM, AND I THINK THAT IS THAT’S A BIG CHANGE IN A WAY THAT TSA CONTINUES TO REMAIN ONHE T CUTTING EDGE TO STAY AHEAD OF THREATS JUST THIS WEEK TSA AGENTS AT MITCHELL INTERNATIONAL SPOTTED THIS HANDGUN AND CARRY-ON LUGGAGE. THESA T HAS THE EXPEDITED SCREENING PROGRAM. ANDSA T PRECHECK, WCHHI THEY SAY PROVIDES ANOTHER LAYER OF SECURITYNE O FLYING THAT GESIV US MORE TIME AND RESOURCES TO DEVOTE TO THOSE OTHER PASSENGERS THAT WE HAVE LESS INFORMATION ABOUT IF WE’RE THE TECHNOLOGY IN 2001 THAT WE HAVE NO W.THINGS MIGHT HAVE B

9/11 changed air travel as we knew it

“If we had the technology in 2001 that we have now, things might have been different,” FBI Special Agent Robert Hughes said.

Saturday marks 20 years since the worst terror attacks on U.S. soil.Nearly 3,000 people were killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and the world as people knew it, changed — perhaps none more so than air travel.”What would you say are the most significant security changes that have happened after 9/11?” WISN 12 News reporter Hillary Mintz asked FBI Milwaukee Special Agent Robert Hughes.”In airports quite honestly, I think the creation of the TSA and how they’ve expanded. I can remember flying on airplanes, where you could look upfront and see through a curtain, see the pilots flying. Those days are gone now. We have locked doors,” FBI Special Agent Robert Hughes said.Hughes said in addition to the creation of the Transportation Security Administration, 9/11 changed how the FBI operates.”We transformed from mainly a criminal type investigative agency to what I consider the most elite, intelligence gathering, counter-terrorism agency in the world,” Hughes said.With the FBI gathering intel worldwide, over the years TSA increased training and upgraded technology, which used to just be metal detectors in airports.”Now we have so many advanced tools to detect threats, to look in bags, and I think that’s a big change in the way that TSA remains on the cutting edge to stay ahead of threats,” said Jessica Mayle, of the TSA.Just this week, TSA agents at Mitchell International Airport spotted a handgun in carry-on luggage.The TSA also has the expedited screening program, TSA pre-check which it says adds another layer of security when flying.”That gives us more time and resources to focus on those other passengers that we have less information about,” Mayle said.”If we had the technology in 2001 that we have now, things might have been different,” Hughes said.

Saturday marks 20 years since the worst terror attacks on U.S. soil.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and the world as people knew it, changed — perhaps none more so than air travel.

“What would you say are the most significant security changes that have happened after 9/11?” WISN 12 News reporter Hillary Mintz asked FBI Milwaukee Special Agent Robert Hughes.

“In airports quite honestly, I think the creation of the TSA and how they’ve expanded. I can remember flying on airplanes, where you could look upfront and see through a curtain, see the pilots flying. Those days are gone now. We have locked doors,” FBI Special Agent Robert Hughes said.

Hughes said in addition to the creation of the Transportation Security Administration, 9/11 changed how the FBI operates.

“We transformed from mainly a criminal type investigative agency to what I consider the most elite, intelligence gathering, counter-terrorism agency in the world,” Hughes said.

With the FBI gathering intel worldwide, over the years TSA increased training and upgraded technology, which used to just be metal detectors in airports.

“Now we have so many advanced tools to detect threats, to look in bags, and I think that’s a big change in the way that TSA remains on the cutting edge to stay ahead of threats,” said Jessica Mayle, of the TSA.

Just this week, TSA agents at Mitchell International Airport spotted a handgun in carry-on luggage.

The TSA also has the expedited screening program, TSA pre-check which it says adds another layer of security when flying.

“That gives us more time and resources to focus on those other passengers that we have less information about,” Mayle said.

“If we had the technology in 2001 that we have now, things might have been different,” Hughes said.



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20 years on: How 9/11 changed air travel forever


NEW DELHI: “Normal security procedure.” This is how erstwhile Continental Airlines had responded to the outrage over frisking of former President APJ Abdul Kalam before boarding a US-bound flight from India in April 2009. This “new” normal, in place following the September 11 attacks in New York exactly 20 years ago, has forever changed travel experience for both commoners and dignitaries alike in terms of security checks.
Being asked whether you have packed check-in bags yourself and if someone had access to them afterwards, to taking off belts off and removing anything remotely suspicious from cabin bags, are only the visible tip-of-iceberg changes that passengers experience.

Subsequent security scares continued to add to the checks and restrictions. Flyers were asked to take off shoes at security checks after “shoe bomber” Richard Reid tried to target a Miami-Paris flight in late 2001. Restrictions on the quantity of liquids and gels being taken onboard came in 2006 after the UK uncovered a plot to blow up flights from London Heathrow to the US. Full body scanners began being introduced at airports after the “underwear bomber” attempted to detonate an improvised explosive device concealed in his underwear in December 2009.

The 9/11-induced changes, in fact, begin from right when you apply for a US visa in your home country and continue till the immigration officer quizzing you on arrival there.
Pre-travel: “Documentation for US visas became way more elaborate after 9/11 in terms of seeking information. Passenger profiling has increased. Advance passenger information system was introduced since then under which complete details of all passengers headed to the US are sent the moment after check in closes. This list is examined closely as the plane heads to the US and then suspicious arrivals are quizzed in detail on arrival,” said top airline officials.
At departure airport: After 9/11, the US made it mandatory for airlines to frisk passengers yet again at the boarding gate and then make them sit in an enclosed area where they don’t come into contact with passengers headed for other destinations.
Also, passengers and baggage need to be completely checked at the port of departure for US. This meant that till Air India got its first Boeing 777 in 2007 (which fly direct to and from North America) and operated one-stops to the US like Delhi/Mumbai-London-New York and Delhi-Frankfurt-Los Angeles, everyone and every bag on board got off at the stopover for checks.
Inflight: Cockpit doors got armoured locks and cameras. Pilots are required to see who is knocking to enter the flight deck before unlocking. Access to jump seats (extra seats behind pilots’ seats) was restricted to a very select few. “Crew watches passenger behaviour very closely and alerts for anything/anyone suspicious,” said an airline official.
On arrival: “What is the purpose of your visit and how long do you plan to stay here?” The tone in which this question is asked at immigration unnerves even seasoned travellers.
In terms of impact on travel, Covid has been 9/11 deja vu. From 2001 to 2019, it was the terror of terror. From 2020, the fear of Coronavirus leading to being masked up, sanitising hands frequently and social distancing became the new norm.
“We used to heave a sigh of relief only on exiting the airport on arrival in America. These two together have taken the fun out of travel completely,” said Ram, 17, who gets envious when hearing about the carefree pre-9/11 travel tales of his elders while cherishing his own pre-Covid travel memories.





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