The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Even with the knowledge that air travel is generally safer than most forms of ground transportation, flying can be daunting in the best of times.

And when the airport is continually playing announcements that the United States has raised the terror alert level to "orange," the experience can be even more stressful.

Jennifer Connoly, a student traveling from Boston with a layover in Philadelphia International Airport, said that she was a little scared by the idea of flying after war was declared last week.

"It definitely crossed my mind," she said.

For other travelers, the current military situation was less of an issue.

Anne Twomey, who was preparing to leave Philadelphia yesterday afternoon, had a practical outlook on her travel plans.

"I thought about [not traveling] and decided I would be just as likely to get run over by a bus on the way home, so why not?" Twomey said.

Airport security officers would not comment on security procedures at the facility.

For airlines, which have struggled with economic problems over the last year, news of the war was unpleasant, even if expected.

In a report, Airlines in Crisis, released by the Air Transport Association on March 11, the industry outlined the financial losses that have already occurred.

Additionally, an ATA press release explained that "airlines predicted that the pending war with Iraq will markedly accelerate the already precarious economic situation confronting the industry."

Some workers at Philadelphia International Airport have witnessed a difference in the number of travelers.

Kim Berline, an employee at one of the airport's Relay shops, thinks there has been a change.

"There has been a decrease in passengers from what I've noticed," Berline said. "Not like a real big decrease, but enough."

Travelers differed in their assessments of heightened security operations since the last time they flew. One passenger said that he felt security has been pretty standard at the airport since the Transportation Security Administration took over operations.

Some other fliers disagreed, and said they felt that airport security was particularly tight yesterday.

Connoly explained that when she was flying out of Boston, her car had been searched before she was able to park it.

Kim Robinson, manager of the Cibo Express food facilities at the airport, also mentioned that the security increase she had seen at the airport specifically had to do with monitoring automobiles.

"I haven't seen anything in Philly," Robinson said. "The only thing that they did was that they stopped cars at the top" before entering the airport.

Augusto Gonzalez, who was traveling from Philadelphia to Chicago yesterday afternoon, thought security seemed tighter in light of the recent events. He explained that though he had been slightly nervous about flying, the extra measures he saw taken at the airport helped ease his fear.

Berline did not notice increased security by her shop, though she hypothesized that things might be different in busier terminals.

"But the messages on the loudspeakers, they play out 'Look out for suspicious people and baggage' and stuff," Berline said.

Sure enough, announcements urging passengers and staff members of the airport to be exceedingly cautious and to report suspicious activity or luggage were replayed throughout the afternoon.

Still, Robinson felt that security in Philadelphia was less stringent than it had been on her recent trip to New York.

"These guys in New York had semiautomatics," Robinson said. "I actually commented on that yesterday."

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.