9/11 forever altered air travel - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

9/11 forever altered air travel

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Osama bin Laden's death hasn't changed the security status at most airports. They were already on heightened alert.

Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Director Yvette Aehle expects it to stay that way. She says after the 9-11 attacks, airport security changed forever and with new technology, smaller airports like Albany will get more security tools.

No longer can you arrive 10 minutes before the flight here in Albany and expect to make the plane. If you're not here early to get through security even at a small airport like this you won't make your flight, and that won't change anytime soon.

Air passenger flying in to Albany don't expect to see any less security since Osama bin Laden's death.

"I don't think that's going to go away, I think that's here to stay," said Michael Dingle, who flew in from Quantico, Virginia.

Gone are the days of non descriptive security and those changes we've all come to know are the new normal.

"You can't have more than three ounces of liquids, you have to take off your shoes, you have to take off coats, you have to separate all of your bags from your laptops, your cell phones," said Yvette Aehle, Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Director.

In southwest Georgia, more changes are on the way. Enhanced pat downs were put in place late last year. Albany's new airport terminal will include a whole new checkpoint area, complete with body scanners and more security cameras.

"The al-Qaida organization is not going to take any time off they're going to look for new and interesting ways to get at us so we have to remain one step ahead," said Aehle.

Even in Albany, leaving TSA agents now managed by the FAA to look for more than just the obvious.

"There's behavioral patterns of someone who's not doing what they're supposed to be doing," said Aehle.

Forcing passengers to be more vigilant, especially at smaller airports.

"Someone had left their bag, they were talking to one of their friends at the ticket counter, but they had still left their bag about 40 feet away and of course I said who's bag is this and everyone looked at me kind of annoyed but I said no you can't leave a bag unattended at all. I look at that stuff much differently than I used to," said Aehle.

In some cases airport officials say it's taken the fun out of flying, but they claim it's a necessary evil that will continue to evolve as technology allows security to improve.

Even a janitors role at the airport has changed, they're doing more to check garbage cans on a regular basis that could be a drop spot for something more hazardous.

In January, the TSA announced enhanced security measures for passengers traveling into the United States from nations deemed by the U.S. as state sponsors of terrorism. Those countries include Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

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