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September 11 Five Years Later

Part 2: Tighter Security

Five years later, the pain remains for a great many people. The terrorist attacks have had effects on more than just people's emotions, however.

First and foremost, it's a lot tougher to take a trip by plane that it was five years ago. Security lines at airports are nearly always long. The number of times that your luggage—checked or carried on—is inspected can be many. The number of things that you can bring with you on a planet flight is a lot less than it used to be. Because of one attack that happened a few years ago, most people traveling in and out of American airports still have to take off their shoes and have them X-rayed.

Also, because of a foiled and suspected set of attacks a few weeks ago, airline passengers cannot take liquids of any kind with them on the plane. No more carrying shampoo or bottled water or a host of other liquids that we never gave a thought to carrying on before.

The airline industry itself, moreso in the U.S. but also in other countries, is struggling. A handful of American airlines are in bankruptcy; one major one, United, just emerged from bankruptcy. It's not just the gasoline that powers the plants that is so expensive. The number of flights is less than it used to be. That means that the number of new planes being built is less; as a result of that, more older planes are flying these days and more of these planes need repairs simply because they have more miles on their wheels and engines and wings and other parts. Fewer new planes being built means fewer jobs for people who would normally be building those planes; repairs are necessary, but those repairs require many fewer workers than would building new planes. Every new terrorist attack that succeeds or is foiled convinces more people that it's just not worth it to fly. Though it might seem like airports are busier than ever, many airlines and airports are still struggling.

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