Holiday travelers not deterred by increased airport security
Published 5:14 pm, Thursday, December 2, 2010
Despite widespread concern over new security protocols at airports and the potential for holiday protests, many travelers had positive experiences.
"The security lines went very quickly," Troilo said. "The only unpleasant part was the people who don't know the rules and would set off the alarms with a belt buckle or had cosmetics in their bags."
Troilo said both of the flights he was on were completely packed and the terminals were very busy. However, even with news reports saying there would be possible protests taking place on the busiest travel day of the year, Troilo said he didn't see anyone protesting.
"The whole situation with flying for me is that the cost is very, very high," Troilo said. "The services on board have deteriorated to the point where it's almost nothing."
One of the bigger hassles for Troilo was not dealing with crowded terminals or security; it was trying to order tickets online.
"Trying to order the tickets online was very interesting because they kept trying to get you to buy different things before you could even get to the point where you order the tickets," Troilo said. "The airline kept trying to upgrade us."
Troilo said he doesn't fly as much anymore but one of the highlights for him was a chance to watch the Bears beat the Eagles with Chicago fans during an hour and a half delay.
"That was a lot of fun," Troilo said. "I also saw a man who was flying in the privilege one section and he was standing in a different section and the flight attendant made him walk around even though he was the only one."
Democratic Selectman Callie Sullivan who traveled with her family to South Carolina for Thanksgiving said she didn't experience any issues with security.
"I have to say that we all thought that the security changes were a non-even," Sullivan said. "There was no difference that we could see apart from there being more `focused' TSA workers."
Two websites, optoutday.com and wewontfly.com posted statements and press releases before and after the holiday weekend. Optoutday.com described its movement to get people to not fly as a success.
"Despite claims to the contrary, National Opt-Out Day was a rousing success" the statement said. "The entire point of the campaign was to raise awareness of the issues of privacy and aviation safety at TSA checkpoints, with the ultimate goal of influencing policy -- to ask the question `are we really doing this right?"
The site listed three steps for a plan that was developed to protest the use of X-ray scanners and more invasive pat-downs as the airport. The first part of the plan tells travelers that if they have to travel they should opt out of the scanners to protect their health and privacy. The second part encourages people not to fly at all if they can avoid it in order to "hit the airports in the pocketbook until the scanners and gropers are gone." However, the TSA is a government agency. The last portion of the plan encourages travelers to "raise holy hell" and complain to public officials and airlines to educate the community.
In a press release, the website stated it had received multiple reports of the Transportation Security Administration shutting down full body scanners, selecting fewer travelers for secondary screening, less invasive pat downs and friendlier and more helpful TSA workers.
AAA of Southern New England predicted that travel would increase about 11.4 percent this year for Thanksgiving with around 94 percent of people traveling by car. The increase in travel from 2009 was attributed to improved financial positions for many families as well as the desire to see family and friends.
Recent gas prices compiled by gasprices.com show that the price of gasoline dropped an average of 1.7 cents to $3.12/gallon.
People traveling by car would increase 12.1 percent in New England while air travel would increase 3.6 percent from last year, according to AAA.