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Diana's View: The Future of Travel (9/28/2001)

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This is Diana Nyad and you're listening to The Savvy Traveler.

Even in this troubled time, hope for all things positive is echoed by so many people from so many walks of life. We believe New York City will be rebuilt. We have faith that our strong economy will come back. But the public consensus about the way we travel seems to be that it is the one aspect of our lives that will simply never be the same. The days of carefree, spontaneous travel are over.

President Bush has outlined the new Airport Security Plan. The bulletin points are basically as follows:

1) $500 million will be allocated to fortify cockpits.
2) armed air marshals will accompany most flights.
3) all 50 states will be given funding to mobilize the National Guard to help until new security measures are established.
4) and at least some of the duties of passenger and baggage security will be taken over by Federal authorities.
Airports are still pretty quiet, people still wary about flying. But most industry insiders, such as Ken Capps, the VP of Public Affairs at Dallas Fort Worth Airport, claim the return to the skies is already resurging.
Ken Capps: "We're up to 60% and we see the passenger growth gaining every day."
I find myself closing a lot of conversations these days, whether it be with loved ones or absolute strangers, with "Be Safe". Many of us are expressing a feeling of closeness to one another, as if we're all finally on the same team. It's us against the terrorists. You called in from your travels and told us over and over how very courteous people are to each other on planes, in airports. The sincere emotion of wishing each other safety is there, but we seem to be confused as to how to "be safe".

My friends are buying gas masks in anticipation of biological warfare. Short-trip travelers are driving five hours instead of hassling at the airport. People are being very cautious and alert and slowing their pace as they travel and that's quite a leap from the aggressive, frantic, manic way most of us used to get around, just three weeks ago.

But, for all the Be Safe wishes and the newfound cooperation among travelers, we have lost our unabated freedom of movement. And that loss is unsettling. This week on The Savvy Traveler, travelers talk. They lament, they commiserate, they reassure themselves, they worry, they even laugh a little bit. And, with them, we attempt to sort out the future of travel for all of us.

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