Passenger Under Magnifying Glass

From Nowy Dziennik — Polish Daily News

January 16, 2002

By Bozena Chojnacka

The new airport security regulations will be in effect this Friday. While Poles in Greenpoint accept the new airport check-in procedures, they doubt their effectiveness.

The new airport code requires that all bags and suitcases be inspected, both manually and with the use of special devices. In addition, each luggage must be matched with the carrier, and any unidentified bag will not be put on the plane. Bomb sniffing dogs will also be used as an extra measure of protection.

Some experts believe that the new rules are meant to restore people’s confidence in the airline industry. They say that the regulations not only can prevent the industry from bankruptcy, but they can also save the American economy from another blow.

"The last time I flew to Poland was with SAS Airlines. I saw no major changes in the airport security, except for the fact that now people have to take off their shoes, which is an inconvenience especially for the obese," said Zdzislaw Pawlikowski. He also mentioned that his carry-on luggage was thoroughly inspected. Pawlikowski thinks however, that even the strictest rules can’t prevent a tragedy from happening. "There is no way to stop people who are determined to do evil. They will always find a way to blow up an airplane," said Pawlikowski, sharing his fears.

Janusz Seweryn, an owner of a travel agency in Greenpoint expressed similar opinion. "My initial reaction to the stricter airport regulations was rather negative," said Seweryn. However, he has come to realize that we should accept every rule. It’s better to wait in line longer, than feel insecure, he said.

Tadeusz Wroblewski thinks the devices that are supposed to detect explosives will not be effective. "It all depends on the people who are checking the luggage. I understand that after eighth hours of work they can be really tired, and it’s possible that a passenger with a knife can slip through the inspection procedure without getting caught," said Wroblewski. "It’s dreadful, but we are living in such uncertain times. This has to change," he added. Wroblewski agrees that stricter airport regulations are necessary. He is planning to travel to Poland in the next few months, and he wants to feel safe when he flies.

Mira Wotawa, who owns a grocery store in Ridgewood, believes that people must accept every decision made in regard to airport security. However, Wotawa says that such changes may lead to bankruptcy of many airlines. She also thinks that small businesses like hers will be negatively affected by the changes in airport regulations. The grocery products that Wotawa sells in her store are all made in Europe. Since the transport of commodities will now be prolonged, the products may not arrive fresh.

Aleksandra Trzcinska thinks that we live in uncertain times and therefore tightening of airport security is necessary. "I haven’t traveled in a while, but from what I hear from people — their opinions are really mixed," she said. "Some of them think the new airport regulations are burdensome, but necessary. Others criticize the new changes and say they are an exaggeration," said Trzcinska.


(Translated from Polish by Joanna Sufin)

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