PHOENIX - So much has changed involving air travel since the September 11 attacks nearly 10 years ago.
Although, it’s still cramped, sounds the same and planes have become more crowded, the time leading up to boarding has changed significantly.
“I remember going down there (to the gate) during people’s layovers and hanging out with them while they changed planes, I remember doing that and not even needing a ticket,” said Katie Pointer, a passenger flying out of Sky Harbor.
The biggest change people agree on is security at the airport. Remember not having to take off your shoes or your belt and carrying a drink through security? Not anymore.
“It is a pain in the neck to travel these days but you put that on the back burner when you realize the people who lost their lives that day,” said Michael McGivney, a New York resident passing through Sky Harbor.
Other passengers said they remember seeing the cockpit door open during flight before the attacks.
It wasn’t uncommon for children to be called to the cockpit to get a glimpse of the controls.
Now it’s known the cockpit door is locked and often times a flight attendant will stand guard in front of the door at times during the flight.
Something else that wasn’t necessarily heard of a decade ago was in-flight undercover armed officers.
“We didn’t have thousands of federal air marshals that we do today,” said TSA Spokesperson Nico Melendez. “We didn’t have pilots with guns in the cockpit as we do today.”
Ten years ago, Nico’s employer, the Transportation Security Administration didn’t even exist.
“In that first year of the TSA we had to hire 55,000 people and put technology in 450 airports,” said Melendez while standing near the security checkpoint at Sky Harbor.
Melendez admits, security 10 years from now, may look different as it does today in an effort to stay ahead of terrorists.
“They caught us by surprise and now we’re doing anything to protect ourselves from any possible threat,” said Melendez.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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