Is Flying Still Safe?
FOUR jetliners hijacked. Four crashes. The destruction of familiar landmarks. The image of a 767 jetliner smashing through one of the Twin Towers, shown over and over on television.
The attacks of September 11, 2001, brought us into a chilling new era of terrorist aggression. Airlines became the means to a deadly objective, and aircraft became incendiary devices.
As a result, a new pattern of fearful fliers has emerged: Those who used to feel safe but are now shaken by the possibility of terrorist attacks. Moreover, a series of nonterrorism-related fatal airline accidents after September 11 has accentuated the fear of flying for many.
Admittedly, air travel is a luxury beyond the reach of millions worldwide. For others, however, flying is a routine necessity. For those with jobs that require a great deal of business travel, stepping aboard a plane is unavoidable. Christian missionaries and ministers often have to take long flights to and from their assignments. Even for poor people, an aircraft is sometimes the only suitable means of transportation during a medical emergency. And thousands of pilots and flight crews make a living by flying.
Many of these air travelers, perhaps unnerved themselves, are having to calm anxious spouses and frightened children before they leave home. And as departures that were once routine become ordeals, travelers wonder if flying is still a preferred way to travel.
To address such concerns, Awake! consulted with security experts, airport personnel, airline officials, and aircraft maintenance workers. They all seem to agree on this: Although flying has remained one of the safest means of travel, new threats call for new measures to increase the security of the traveling public.
The following articles will discuss the challenges involved and what you can do personally to increase your safety and comfort while flying.