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September 09, 2011

9/11: Coping with airport security a permanent part of air travel

There were no body scanners at airports on Sept. 11, 2001.

No rules about liquids in 3-ounce containers. No taking off shoes and walking barefoot through a guarded checkpoint.

But after 9-11, airport security changed dramatically and rapidly. At Dallas/Fort Worth Airport alone, $300 million has been spent on security upgrades in the past decade.

Today, passengers must show government IDs that match boarding passes and undergo different types of screening before heading into the gate area.

Many have complained that their privacy has been compromised either by overaggressive pat-downs or invasive body scanners. Yet even as security systems continue to evolve in response to passenger complaints and ongoing threats, coping with airport security has become a permanent part of life for U.S. air travelers.

“There is the hassle factor in the airport experience,” said Bill Swelbar, an airline researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Security is tighter, lines are longer and we now have the TSA that is not going away, and that is a cause from 9-11.”

As part of the Star-Telegram's 9/11 tenth anniversary coverage, I took a look at airport security and how much it has changed in the past decade. Click here for the full story in Friday's edition.

-Andrea Ahles


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The TSA is a modern Gestapo that treats all people like terrorists and answers to no one. I know from personal experience that many of them get off on jerking people around and harassing them for no reason. Most couldn't make it through police department psychological screening, so they became TSA bullies.


Totally agree with you, ACitizen.

And the irony is that aggressive patdowns, body scanners and liquid and shoe restrictions would not have changed a thing on 9/11. The boxcutters and small knives weren't the weapon the hijackers used. Fear and surprise were their weapons of choice.

I wonder how much business the industry has lost because of our mis-reaction to the threat?

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