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Airport Security Changes Since 9/11

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In this paper, I will try to demonstrate how drastically the security in airports has changed since the attacks occurred on September 11, 2001. September 11 is a day that probably every single person on this earth either remembers or at least knows about. The airports have had some of the biggest changes in how humans travel this earth. Every country has their own way of securing their airports, but they all have made changes in some way, shape or form. The question I have recently asked myself is; are these changes actually going to keep us safe when we fly? Can anyone really answer this question with 100 percent truthfulness?

I personally do not think it is a question that can be answered with a completely correct answer.

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But regardless of how people feel about standing in line at an airport to go through security and take their shoes and jackets off, the airport has to do everything they can to make the skies safe.

You will hear people complain about the long waits and the completely stripping of luggage, but if they did not do this and the person they let through without being scanned or searched had a bomb in their bags, you would feel pretty stupid for complaining about it in the first place.

Airport Security Changes since September 11, 2001 On September 10, 2001, you could walk into an airport, go to the counter and receive your ticket and pass right through security without waiting, stripping your shoes and jackets, taking out your computer and liquids from your carry-on bag and walk straight to your gate. Within ten to twenty minutes of arriving at the airport, you would be waiting at the gate for your plane to board. You may be accompanied by your family to say your final goodbyes or your family might even be anxiously waiting at the gate for you to walk down that hall after you have landed.

In the Cleveland International Airport, your family could even go out on the observation deck and watch as you airplane took off. A terrorist attack was the last thing on anyone’s mind when flying. When you landed at your layover destination, lockers were available for you to stow your bags while you roamed the other concourses in the airport or to go have a cigarette outside. All of this was possible because the security at the time was not a big issue. On September 11, 2001, the changes started.

The attacks threw the world into a spiral and it was hard for any American to even perceive the actual devastation of what has happened. After that devastating day, the Government decided to take action to try to prevent this from ever happening again. Now in my own opinion, no one can ever prevent anything from happening, if someone is willing to try hard enough to accomplish a goal, they will succeed. The United States decided to step up the security in ways that no one could ever have imagined.

Before the TSA took over, the military was situated around airports fully armed to the teeth in case more attacks were to happen. At that time, personnel flying would get thoroughly searched as well as all of their belongings. I personally remember arriving at the Portland Airport in Portland Maine a few days after the attacks to see military personnel everywhere with a few guns a piece. It was quite scary actually. I even thought about cancelling my leave. Some of the measures TSA took were to beef up security at the airports. Metal detectors were put into place in front of the terminals.

There used to be large list of items you were allowed to take on board an airplane, including pocket knives and normal sized bottles of shampoo. Not anymore, these were all taken away. If you were at security and you had any of the banned items, you were told to throw them away or you were not flying. It was and still is as simple as that. People are made to remove their shoes and jackets, they are made to remove all liquids from their bags (which need to be in small clear containers located in a clear plastic pouch) and their computers need to be removed from the storage bags and placed in a tray entirely by themselves.

Another measure TSA took was to add body scanners to security. These scanners can see what a person is carrying underneath their clothes. There have been a few different designs to this machine due to some lawsuits in the past brought up because the TSA agents were making fun of a man’s gentile size or certain passengers would feel embarrassed because someone can see their bodies. Now what the TSA agent sees is an outline of the passenger’s body and whatever is on the body. The body scanner does not show a naked person anymore.

In certain parts of the world, a retinal scanner was added at the security area. A passenger could go through a different security line and allow the scanner to read their eyes and be sent through without being searched, taking off shoes and coats or even removing their computers from their bags. In order to be able to receive this luxurious security check, a person would have to send in extensive forms to the government. These forms would tell the government everything about the person in order to do the extensive background check. And this takes time as well.

You cannot expect for this to happen overnight. Not only does this take time and extensive checks, but it also costs money. It will cost someone about a hundred dollars to be even considered for this security check. The retinal scanner is not used in all airports. Most of them are actually located outside the United States. I have personally seen them in Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport and also in Germany. In the United States a few airports offer a different type of scanner, which is close to the guidelines of the retinal scanner.

It is just a small capsule like room you stand in and it turns around you sniffing you and x-raying you at the same time. The people that enter this room still will need to go through the metal detector, but the passenger is not required to remove jackets or shoes and can even leave their laptop computers in their bags. The type of passenger that is allowed to utilize this nice time saving detector is considered a “Trusted Traveler” by the federal government. When you are flying you will notice that there are much more security officers walking around than ever before.

These officers are not just placed there by accident and no matter what they look like they are doing, you can rest assure that they are observing. These TSA officers are trained to spot suspicious looking activity. They can look at you and your body movements and get suspicions on why you are so unhappy, why you are moving slow or fast, and why you are sweating when everyone else has a jacket on. Before the attacks, you were able to only show your identification once, and that is when you are receiving your boarding pass.

Now that isn’t so. You will need to show your identification when you receive your boarding pass, when you pass through security and right before you board the airplane. Customs has also changed when arriving in the country. Instead of a nice smile and a greeting, you are welcomed back home by an officer with multiple questions for you on what you did while outside the country, why you were outside the country and what you are doing back in the country. Through personal experience, these officers do not make coming home a very happy time.

Instead you feel like you are in a questioning room in your local police station. These officers are doing what they can to make our borders safe. If questioning us extensively could crack someone planning on attacking us or bringing drugs into the country, then they have done their jobs. As you can see there has been many ways in which airports and the federal government has changed the way we fly. We are not the only people, who are getting this treatment by the officials, it is happening all over the world.

Some countries are more relaxed on the issue and some are more extensive. An example of a more relaxed airport is in Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport, where you are not required to remove your shoes, jackets or even take your computer out of the bag. The officials in this world are doing everything they can do to make our skies safer to fly and it is up to each and every one of us that do fly to help in doing so. If you see something that just isn’t right or someone that just isn’t acting right, then you should report it. It could save thousands of lives including your own.

There have been many people, who have talked about when they came in contact with the hijackers on September 11, and they all have said that looking back, they knew at the moment of confrontation, that something was not right with these people.


  1. Jason Villemez and Dalia Mortada (September 14, 2011) Retrieved from http://www. pbs. org/newshour/rundown/2011/09/911-to-now-ways-we-have-changed. html
  2. Dan Bence (October 07, 2009) Retrieved from http://www. petergreenberg. com/2009/10/07/new-fast-airport-security-screening-

Cite this Airport Security Changes Since 9/11

Airport Security Changes Since 9/11. (2017, Jan 30). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/airport-security-changes-since-911/

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