Safety of Air Travel

Aircrafts have improved our way of traveling over the years. They get people to and from places faster than any other method of transportation, but it is worth the negative outcomes that many people have had to suffer? A once safe and astonishing invention has become a threat to many lives. From missing planes to terrorism and unfocused TSA security, something must be done to improve traveler’s safety.

Kailey: It’s fascinating to see where the aviation realm has come in the last hundred years, with this year marking the 100th anniversary of the first commercial flight (‘first commercial flight’ be the link to the article). USA Today asked CEO of major airlines their thoughts about where we are then headed and many had fantastical ideas about cleaner airplanes etc etc, but no one mentioned anything about or concerned for airport security. Some folks talked about mobile passports and all these ‘self’ things that will hopefully be implemented in the future but where does that leave security? Hopefully security won’t become a thing of ‘self’ and have people going through security with just robots or computers as the new TSA. Security is one of the major things impacting peoples’ outlook of air travel. No matter how advanced or green the planes get, air travel safety will be first on peoples mind.

Morgan: Yes, security is one of the major things impacting people’s outlook on air travel. People need to feel safe in airports and unfortunately many U.S. airports are lacking in all aspects. Vice President Joe Biden spoke out against the LaGuardia airport in New York, saying “feels like it’s in some third world country.” He even questioned the country’s credibility to dominate world economics when we have airports like this.  After collecting data in 2013 about U.S airports and security the conclusion article called them “awful” with “surely security and endless queues.” The standards for security need to be higher if airports want travelers to return.

Kailey: Also within that realm of safety, security scanners in airports are always something that is a hot topic and people are talking about. The careful balance between safety and privacy is something many people are concerned about. The intense screening makes sense as a secondary precaution but I think sometimes is necessary for safety. I know some people may think it an invasion of privacy but wouldn’t you rather be safe and possibly uncomfortable for a second than just walk straight through security. Every one thinks it’s annoying because “they would never be the one who would do something” to harm someone but there can not be exceptions with things like this. I think this aspect of air travel is what some people have the biggest problem with. I think a major problem with TSA hatred is that Americans are really good at feeling entitled and that everyone owes them something, so by this “invasion of privacy” they’re loosing control. No one likes taking off their shoes and unloading bags and possibly being padded down but better to be safe than sorry. There is actually a surprising amount of fun that gets poked at TSA among all the hatred- search for that at your own risk. And I know that TSA has much room for improvement in handling things but they’re getting there.

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Morgan:I agree that people find scanners annoying, especially having to take your shoes and belts off just to put them back on five minutes later.  Kip Hawley makes a great point when he says security efforts should be focused on weapons like knives, explosives, and other toxins that can be used in a harmful way on the aircraft instead of how many ounces of liquid are in the flyer’s bottles; it is a misuse of resources. I believe the TSA spends too much time focusing on the little things such as makeup or baby formula when a recent law was passed saying passengers can carry pocket knives and pool cues. They are making people throw away anything more than 3.4 ounces of liquid and letting other carry on items that could potentially become a weapon. Something needs to be done about the efficiency of inspections and rules about what can and can’t be carried onto a plane need to revised. For instance, instead of focusing on how many ounces in the bottle, test the liquid for toxins and make new restrictions.

Kailey: Exactly. Misuse of resources is a common thing in America. Focusing on the wrong areas while leaving others wide open. I agree with Kip that the bigger issues are the ones that need to be addressed and there is a much better way than how TSA is doing it to do so. But I’m not sure that I agree that the smaller “weapons” or things like knives should be ignored either. Kip admits that these things could still be used on individuals but wasn’t worried about that because that wouldn’t commandeer the whole vessel. Isn’t the passenger safety important though? Don’t they say something about ‘we are concerned for your safety’ when you board airplanes? Those things should still be a concern, but maybe changing things like the weird liquid size rules and such strange things would allow for TSA to focus more on bigger issues.

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Kailey: Something that has also added to how travelers view flying is things such as the missing Malaysia flight, which is a sad event for sure and the ambiguity of the situation is a little terrifying. The Missing Malaysian Airlines flight conspiracy theories are getting pretty interesting. The first theory that people began to speak about what that the two men from Iran, traveling on stolen passports had hijacked the plane. Of course America would, which as well falls back onto TSA security. Would the flight have had a different outcome if TSA operated differently, same with 9/11, or other flights gone wrong? The most logical theory going now is the alien abduction. No one has found anything, there’s no trace…it kind of makes sense. This incident, and ones such as 9/11, has a huge hand in changing how people view air travel and not wanting to be apart of that. Personally I was only in second grade during 9/11 but the next time I flew after I was pretty terrified, and I know many people who felt the same. I am still scared to fly, although I do.

Morgan: I agree the conspiracy theories behind catastrophic events such as 9/11 and the missing malaysia plane greatly impact traveler’s decisions on flying. I was also scared to fly after 9/11, I was only in third grade so I couldn’t fully understand what was happening but the multiple stories that came out after the event made everything much worse. When situations like these happen Airlines need to change the way they handle the outcomes. They think more about the money and the lawyers rather than the passengers; when the flight from Malaysia went missing the airline sent text messages to the families of each passenger, assuming that everyone on the plane died. The texts said “everyone drown in the ocean,” without any sort of proof.  Completely unacceptable. People lost their lives dues to errors and their families deserved much more respect.

Kailey: People in the air profession need to recognize these things that affect the way that people view air travel and how they can work to improve them. I am sure there are many other things than just looking at security that affect how people view and participate in aviational things. Being tens of thousands of feet in the air allows for many different things to potentially happen without out of our control, but one thing that can be controlled in what and who comes aboard a flight. TSA  may be invasive and they have room for change to help the traveler feel more comfortable but I’d rather have TSA there and searching for something than for that something to be overlooked.

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Morgan: Yes, these jobs can not be taken lightly, instead of complaining something needs to be done to improve travel. Senator Jon McCain reveals “our security procedures have basically not changed in the past twelve years.” Since 9/11 all sharp and point objects have been banned and taken at security but a former TSA Chief wants to change this rule. “They ought to let everything on that is sharp and pointy. Battle axes, machetes, bring anything you want thats pointy and sharp because you will not be able to commit an act of violence, you will not be able to take over the plane. It’s as simple as that.” Yet very violent things have happened on planes so the ban of sharp objects should not be revoked.


Morgan: Many of the attempts to change security and make people feel safer seems like a joke. Snow globes were banned from airplanes when the TSA feared they were filled with explosives. Also, letting children keep their shoes on but stopping a man with dread locks because he might have dangerous weapons in his hair. In Dallas, a woman was stopped and frisked because TSA thought her afro seemed dangerous, these restrictions are not consistent in any way and ridiculous rules need to be eliminated from security check points. Why are people getting stopped for having big hair when pilots and flight attendance go though security untouched?

Kailey: This link reveals some other ridiculous things TSA has done to make themselves look even better. There is a lot of subjective matter with airport security also that allows for this type of stupidity as some would say. If there is a legitimate reason then the safety of others is put over but, some stuff is just ridiculous. What is allowed or seen as suspicious through TSA’s eyes is very peculiar but I’m sure there is a legitimate reason deep down some where. Better safe than sorry.

Morgan: So many people are outraged and upset about the TSA allowing knives on planes, and I agree with them. Although the knives have length restrictions: no longer than 2.36 inches, and the blade can not be wider than 1/2 inch, its still not safe. Weapons of any kind should not be allowed anywhere near an aircraft. When planes are filled with children and families, who is going to be stuck next to the passenger carrying a knife? Air marshals are upset as well, how are they supposed to protect the passengers on the plane when anonymous people through out the plane can carry knives? Weapons should not be allowed not planes. It’s as simple as that. Have we learned nothing from the past?

Kailey: Slowly but surely maybe we will.                                                                                                                                                             From missing planes to terrorism and unfocused TSA security, something must be done to improve traveler’s safety. Nothing will ever be perfect but there is much room for improvement. The safety of travelers is always the most important thing to remember but after that privacy is a close second. Safety is on the forefront of all travelers minds and cause them to questions our current way of doing things through the airways. If improvements are mad in this area then peoples views on air travel will increase significantly.




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