Monday, November 9, 2015

Grieving relatives of a passenger aboard a Russian airliner that crashed in
Egypt gather in St.
Petersburg, Russia.
Should we be worried about air travel?
(AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)It"s the kind of story that can send a chill through
air travelers all over the world.
A Metrojet Airbus A321-200 with 224 people
on board (most of them Russian tourists) mysteriously crashed Oct.
31 in
Egypt"s Sinai Peninsula.
And as authorities investigate what brought down the
plane, which took off from the Sinai resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh bound for
St.
Petersburg, it"s hard to tell what"s scarier: that we don"t know for sure
what brought down the plane, or that we probably do.Related:"20,000 Tourists
Stranded in Egypt Amid Terrorism ConcernsWhile an official determination has
yet to be made, all signs are pointing to this being a terrorist attack.
Over
the weekend, officials in Egypt revealed that, in the final second of the
plane"s cockpit voice recording, a loud noise can be heard — a noise
that might have been a bomb.
According to a CNN report, investigators in
Europe who"ve analyzed both the plane"s cockpit voice recorder and its flight
data recorder say they"ve found signs of an explosion that was not
accidental.
That would jibe with U.S.
and European intelligence reports, plus
an unproven claim of responsibility from the ISIS Sinai affiliate, that the
Metrojet plane was brought down by some sort of explosive.The Metrojet plane
that crashed in Egypt is pictured here in Moscow 11 days before the
tragedy.
(Photo: AP)Naturally, the Metrojet crash has led to concerns about
terrorism and air safety.
Once again, air travelers worldwide are asking: Is
it safe to fly? Well, yes… and sometimes no."Here are five reasons to
worry about flying in the wake of the Metrojet crash — and five reasons
not to.Reason to Worry: This could have been an inside jobIf this was a bomb,
did an airport worker bring it on board? (Photo: AP)According to a BBC report
cited by CNN, U.K.
intelligence officials not only suspect a bomb brought down
the Metrojet plane, they think it may have been smuggled on board by an
airport worker at Sharm el-Sheikh.
If that turns out to be true, that would
confirm fears security experts have long expressed: that airport workers can
use their access to airplanes to carry out terrorist attacks.Related: No Fly
Zone? Most Dangerous Places for Air Travel"The [security] focus is always on
the passengers bringing stuff on the plane, things in their baggage," Kyle
Bailey — an FAA safety representative, pilot and aviation analyst
— tells World traveling club Travel.
"But there are so many other ways
that a bomb can be brought onto an airplane." He says everyone from baggage
handlers, mechanics, food workers, and even those who service airplane
lavatories present a potential danger.Lots of people have access to a plane
before it takes off.
Could that be a recipe for terrorist sabotage? (Photo:
Getty Images)Some potential close calls illustrate that danger.
In 2008, a man
who once worked at a duty-free shop at Los Angeles International Airport was
convicted of joining a domestic terrorist cell that was planning to attack
U.S.
targets.
And last year, a Somali-American who used to clean planes at
Minneapolis-St.
Paul International Airport reportedly was killed fighting for
ISIS in Syria.While there"s no proof that either man plotted terrorist attacks
during his employment as an airport worker, security experts say those cases
— as well as the possibility of an inside job in the Egypt crash
— are cause for concern.
"We"ve seen instances where people who have
been employed [at airports] are perfect examples of what could be a homegrown
terror threat, if they wanted to be, in terms of access and capability to get
an explosive onto an airplane," transportation and counterterrorism expert
Erroll Southers said during an interview with World traveling club News"
Bianna Golodryga.

Reason Not to Worry: U.S.
security officials are boosting
security</b>Security guards at Egypt"s Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport
stand by as British tourists stranded after airlines canceled flights there
wait.
(AP Photo)In the days after the Egypt crash, U.S.
officials announced
enhanced security measures for U.S.-bound commercial flights from certain
airports in the Middle East.
U.S.
officials aren"t saying what those airports
are, but NBC News reports they involve at least 10 airports, including those
in Cairo, Kuwait, and Jordan.Reason to Worry: Terrorists want to attack
airplanes</b>And 14 years after the 9/11 attacks, commercial airplanes remain
attractive targets for terrorists.
"They"re not just looking for casualties
and dead bodies," Bailey says of airplane-targeting terrorists, "they"re
looking to cause substantial financial losses.&quot;"According to the Fiscal
Times, the U.S.
travel industry estimates in the 10 years after the 9/11
attacks, the U.S.
lost $600 billion as international visitors stayed away from
the U.S.
More recently, Tunisia estimates it will lose more than $500 million
from a June terrorist attack in the resort town of Sousse, where a gunman
killed roughly 40 mostly foreign tourists (that attack was just a couple of
months after 22 people, mostly tourists on a cruise ship excursion, were
gunned down at a museum in Tunis)."Tourists at Sharm el-Sheikh swim in the Red
Sea at a hotel this weekend.
Many Russian and British tourist remain stranded
after the October 31 crash.
(Photo: AP)"
In Egypt, whose tourism industry has
already lost billions of dollars in recent years due to regional instability,
the Metrojet crash could make things even worse.
&quot;People don"t realize
the economic impact this will have on that particular tourist destination,"
says Bailey.
"It will be devastating for that economy."In fact, Mohamed
Yousef, the adviser to Egypt"s minister of tourism, said that the"tourism
industry could lose 70 percent of its total visitors, due to the recent
incident.
Reason Not to Worry: Terrorist attacks on planes are still
rare</b>Terrorism makes for horrific headlines, but the fact remains that
virtually every day, each of the roughly 100,000 flights that take off
worldwide lands safely.
While being in a plane crash is extremely unlikely,
being in a plane crash caused by terrorism is infinitesimally
so."PlaneCrashInfo.com looked at all fatal plane incidents since the 1950s and
found that intentional sabotage was a factor in only 8 percent of them.
"You
have a better chance of hitting the lottery or being struck by lightning than
to get caught up in terrorist activity," says Bailey.And it is certain that
this incident will spur security enhancements.
At the Dubai Airshow on Sunday,
Emirates Airlines President Tim Clark called the crash a "game changer" and
predicted that it "will make some fairly stringent, draconian demands on the
way aviation works with security.""Reason to Worry: The Middle East might be a
dangerous place to travel</b>It may go without saying, but traveling in the
Middle East/North Africa region can be risky for Americans.
Roughly half the
countries in the region are under an official U.S.
travel warning &#x2014; the
strongest State Department warning, which generally urges Americans to avoid
travel to a certain country.
Even countries like Egypt, which is not under a
travel warning, present a danger to Americans; U.S.
officials say Egypt"s
Sinai Peninsula, where the Metrojet crash occurred, has recently become an
epicenter for &quot;jihadist elements" linked to attacks against foreigners
&#x2014; including a bus bombing that killed four tourists in a Sinai resort
in February of 2014 and the carjacking murder of an American citizen in August
of 2014."This bus filled with South Korean tourists was bombed near the
Israeli border in February of 2014.
Four people were killed.
(Photo: AP
Photo)Even apart from terrorist activity, this isn"t the safest place to
fly.
According to the International Air Transport Association, the Middle
East/North Africa region"s five-year accident rate (2009-2013) was 5.43 per
one million flights.
Consider that North America"s rate was 1.38.Reason Not to
Worry: Airports and airlines serving the U.S.
are tightly
regulated"</b>Airports and airlines that fly directly to the U.S.
must adhere
to Transportation Security Administration security measures.
"The travel
regulations for anyone who would fly here from those countries is pretty much
the same," Southers tells World traveling club News.
"The standards across the
board, as they are dictated by the regulation authorities, are fairly
consistent.&quot;"WATCH: Deadly Egyptian plane crash prompts increased
security at airports
No such measures are required in Sharm el-Sheikh because
there are no direct U.S.
flights to or from that airport.
But that has less to
do with security concerns and more to do with supply and demand.
&quot;It""s
not really a big tourist destination for the United States," Bailey says of
Sharm el-Sheikh.
"So there probably isn"t enough demand to fill up those
airplanes to fly there nonstop."Reason to Worry: If someone is determined to
attack an airplane, they will</b>It"s a sobering fact that any security expert
would have to admit.
"There is no &#x2018;zero-risk proposition" when it comes
to security," Southers warns.
"If someone wants to get an explosive device on
an aircraft it can be done." "Reason Not to Worry: It"s out of your control,
so just live your life</b>There are some measures you can take for your safety
while traveling, especially to this region.
Check sites like the State
Department"s Alerts and Warnings page for detailed threat assessments and
safety tips for any country you plan to visit.Bailey also suggests flying only
major airlines, which tend to have stricter security standards.
"You know
there will never be corners cut on security," he says.
"Stay on the major
airlines even if you"re doing multiple connections &#x2014; even if it means
driving a little bit."Related:"How to Travel Abroad Safely in the Age of
Terrorism

Apart from all that, however, worrying doesn"t really help
matters.The scary thing about terrorism is that it"s mostly out of your
control.
For that reason, Bailey says, being overly concerned about it is a
waste of time.
"You shouldn"t be fearful [of travel] because that"s what the
terrorists want," Bailey says.
Still, in the wake of that mysterious Egypt
crash, it may not be unreasonable for travelers to think twice about where
they go.
WATCH:"5 Airport Hacks You"ve Never Heard Of (That Work) Grieving
relatives of a passenger aboard a Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt
gather in St.
Petersburg, Russia.
A Metrojet Airbus A321-200 with 224 people
on board (most of them Russian tourists) mysteriously crashed Oct.
31 in
Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
Related: 20,000 Tourists Stranded in Egypt Amid
Terrorism Concerns While an official determination has yet to be made, all
signs are pointing to this being a terrorist attack.
Over the weekend,
officials in Egypt revealed that, in the final second of the plane's cockpit
voice recording, a loud noise can be heard — a noise that might have been a
bomb..Reason to Worry: Terrorists want to attack airplanes</b>And 14 years
after the 9/11 attacks, commercial airplanes remain attractive targets for
terrorists.
"They"re not just looking for casualties and dead bodies," Bailey
says of airplane-targeting terrorists, "they"re looking to cause substantial
financial losses.&quot;"According to the Fiscal Times, the U.S.
travel
industry estimates in the 10 years after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S.
lost $600
billion as international visitors stayed away from the U.S.
More recently,
Tunisia estimates it will lose more than $500 million from a June terrorist
attack in the resort town of Sousse, where a gunman killed roughly 40 mostly
foreign tourists (that attack was just a couple of months after 22 people,
mostly tourists on a cruise ship excursion, were gunned down at a museum in
Tunis)."Tourists at Sharm el-Sheikh swim in the Red Sea at a hotel this
weekend.
Many Russian and British tourist remain stranded after the October 31
crash.
(Photo: AP)"
In Egypt, whose tourism industry has already lost
billions of dollars in recent years due to regional instability, the Metrojet
crash could make things even worse.
&quot;People don"t realize the economic
impact this will have on that particular tourist destination," says
Bailey.
"It will be devastating for that economy."In fact, Mohamed Yousef, the
adviser to Egypt"s minister of tourism, said that the"tourism industry could
lose 70 percent of its total visitors, due to the recent incident.
Reason Not
to Worry: Terrorist attacks on planes are still rare</b>Terrorism makes for
horrific headlines, but the fact remains that virtually every day, each of the
roughly 100,000 flights that take off worldwide lands safely.
While being in a
plane crash is extremely unlikely, being in a plane crash caused by terrorism
is infinitesimally so."PlaneCrashInfo.com looked at all fatal plane incidents
since the 1950s and found that intentional sabotage was a factor in only 8
percent of them.
"You have a better chance of hitting the lottery or being
struck by lightning than to get caught up in terrorist activity," says
Bailey.And it is certain that this incident will spur security
enhancements.
At the Dubai Airshow on Sunday, Emirates Airlines President Tim
Clark called the crash a "game changer" and predicted that it "will make some
fairly stringent, draconian demands on the way aviation works with
security.""Reason to Worry: The Middle East might be a dangerous place to
travel</b>It may go without saying, but traveling in the Middle East/North
Africa region can be risky for Americans.
Roughly half the countries in the
region are under an official U.S.
travel warning &#x2014; the strongest State
Department warning, which generally urges Americans to avoid travel to a
certain country.
Even countries like Egypt, which is not under a travel
warning, present a danger to Americans; U.S.
officials say Egypt"s Sinai
Peninsula, where the Metrojet crash occurred, has recently become an epicenter
for &quot;jihadist elements" linked to attacks against foreigners &#x2014;
including a bus bombing that killed four tourists in a Sinai resort in
February of 2014 and the carjacking murder of an American citizen in August of
2014."This bus filled with South Korean tourists was bombed near the Israeli
border in February of 2014.
Four people were killed.
(Photo: AP Photo)Even
apart from terrorist activity, this isn"t the safest place to fly.
According
to the International Air Transport Association, the Middle East/North Africa
region"s five-year accident rate (2009-2013) was 5.43 per one million
flights.
Consider that North America"s rate was 1.38.Reason Not to Worry:
Airports and airlines serving the U.S.
are tightly regulated"</b>Airports and
airlines that fly directly to the U.S.
must adhere to Transportation Security
Administration security measures.
"The travel regulations for anyone who would
fly here from those countries is pretty much the same," Southers tells World
traveling club News.
"The standards across the board, as they are dictated by
the regulation authorities, are fairly consistent.&quot;"WATCH: Deadly
Egyptian plane crash prompts increased security at airports
No such measures
are required in Sharm el-Sheikh because there are no direct U.S.
flights to or
from that airport.
But that has less to do with security concerns and more to
do with supply and demand.
&quot;It""s not really a big tourist destination
for the United States," Bailey says of Sharm el-Sheikh.
"So there probably
isn"t enough demand to fill up those airplanes to fly there nonstop."Reason to
Worry: If someone is determined to attack an airplane, they will</b>It"s a
sobering fact that any security expert would have to admit.
"There is no
&#x2018;zero-risk proposition" when it comes to security," Southers warns.
"If
someone wants to get an explosive device on an aircraft it can be done."
"Reason Not to Worry: It"s out of your control, so just live your
life</b>There are some measures you can take for your safety while traveling,
especially to this region.
Check sites like the State Department"s Alerts and
Warnings page for detailed threat assessments and safety tips for any country
you plan to visit.Bailey also suggests flying only major airlines, which tend
to have stricter security standards.
"You know there will never be corners cut
on security," he says.
"Stay on the major airlines even if you"re doing
multiple connections &#x2014; even if it means driving a little
bit."Related:"How to Travel Abroad Safely in the Age of Terrorism

Apart
from all that, however, worrying doesn"t really help matters.The scary thing
about terrorism is that it"s mostly out of your control.
For that reason,
Bailey says, being overly concerned about it is a waste of time.
"You
shouldn"t be fearful [of travel] because that"s what the terrorists want,"
Bailey says.
Still, in the wake of that mysterious Egypt crash, it may not be
unreasonable for travelers to think twice about where they go.
WATCH:"5
Airport Hacks You"ve Never Heard Of (That Work)Grieving relatives of a
passenger aboard a Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt gather in
St.
Petersburg, Russia.
A Metrojet Airbus A321-200 with 224 people on board
(most of them Russian tourists) mysteriously crashed Oct.
31 in Egypt's
Sinai Peninsula.
Related: 20,000 Tourists Stranded in Egypt Amid Terrorism
Concerns While an official determination has yet to be made, all signs are
pointing to this being a terrorist attack.
Over the weekend, officials in
Egypt revealed that, in the final second of the plane's cockpit voice
recording, a loud noise can be heard — a noise that might have been a bomb.

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