Global Terror Threat Not Scaring Off Philadelphia Area Travelers
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By Syma Chowdhry, Pat Loeb, Kelly Hessedal
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A world-wide terror alert is in effect, prompting the closure of over 20 embassies and consulates. Despite the possible terror plot linked to Al-Qaeda, many Americans are still traveling overseas.
Even though the global travel advisory is in effect, passengers are unlikely to see any signs of additional security. In fact, travel in and out of Philadelphia International Airport is unaffected.
Airport police have increased the number of random searches they do on vehicles entering and leaving the airport since this latest travel alert was issued. Passengers are certainly aware of this latest warning and say they’re going to be extra careful.
“It is quite concerning, but we have our travel plans made. We’re going to continue with them. We’re not going to let terrorism get in the way of our vacation,” said traveler Barb O’Connor.
“We cannot be paralyzed just because of that threat,” said traveler Nagaraj Lingaraju. “I think we should carry on with our lives that have been going on and just take extra precautions.”
The state department is urging travellers to sign up for the STEP program. That stands for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Those who enroll receive updated security information.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says there is good reason to be cautious:
“Now that it’s in the public domain, that the embassies will be closed, and there is a travel alert for Americans traveling abroad, there is some understanding of the seriousness of the threats.”
Individual airlines also offer updated services, but, despite the travel advisory, airlines report they haven’t made any changes to schedules or procedures.
Passengers at Philadelphia International Airport told CBS 3 Eyewitness News their travel plans haven’t been affected:
“It’s good to know ahead of time there are issues and they’re being taken care of,” a traveler said.
“We’re always cautious when we fly internationally anyway,” said another traveler.
“I think anybody today traveling has to stay alert and be aware of their surroundings,” said traveler Ted Drauschak.
Drauschak often travels overseas for work and admits the warning from the State Department seems to carry more weight.
“You have to be concerned as a traveler, but with the right perspective,” he said.
“We have to trust people know what they’re doing and we’re being taken good care of,” said O’Connor. “If everyone is vigilant and watching, that’s all we can hope for.”
The state department warning specifies that “terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services,” but AMTRAK also says service and security are not affected.
The travel alert will last until the end of the month.