MAUI STEPS UP TO AIRPORT SECURITY CHALLENGE

Editorial

The Maui News

MAUI, Hawaii (August 12) – The world is shrinking. A plot to carry the makings of bombs on to airliners is uncovered in England. The effects reach all the way to Maui.

Uncovering the plot is being hailed as a victory in President Bush’s declared war on terrorism. Even so, federal officials declared a Condition Red for trans-Atlantic flights and a Condition Orange for all commercial flights in the United States.

Mayor Alan Arakawa said county security agencies went into an automatic response mode. Fearing outbound tourists would leave Maui with a bad experience, Executive Director Terryl Vencl of the Maui Visitors Bureau called resorts so they could warn the tourists.

Transportation Safety Agency and airline employees handled the need for additional security checks efficiently, according to all accounts. Lines were longer than usual but moved well. Interisland fliers who normally carry everything they need onboard showed up early and checked luggage.

Travelers who spoke to The Maui News at Kahului Airport tended to be sanguine or comforted by the security measures. Even after arriving four hours before a flight home to Chicago, Linda Cygan said: "These are the times we’re living in."

For Americans and much of the world, a philosophical attitude toward what appears to be effective countermeasures is about the only rational attitude possible. Fear is a condition that cannot be maintained forever, and by this time nearly everyone who travels expects to provide photo identification, leave various items at home or in checked luggage, and go through head-to-toe inspections of various sorts.

The free-and-easy days for fliers – including the interisland habit of carrying boxes – may be gone forever, along with airport security that had to worry only about drug and alien species smuggling. The annoyance factor is mitigated when security personnel are as efficient and courteous as the crews at Kahului Airport.

Security measures have to be accepted as normal, even when they are heightened due to events on the other side of the world.

August 14, 2006

The Maui News: www.mauinews.com

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