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Group: Flight Security Isn’t Better

October 12, 2001

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DES PLAINES, Ill. (AP) _ The nation’s aircraft and airports are no safer today than they were before the terrorist attacks a month ago, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants and several members of the union said Thursday.

The nation’s new security procedures are ``cosmetic,″ union president Patricia Friend said during a meeting with several dozen Chicago-based flight attendants.

``We are just as vulnerable to what happened on Sept. 11 as we were on Sept. 10, because all the loopholes are still there,″ she said.

Checked baggage is still not given the same scrutiny as carry-on belongings, she said, noting that a person can check a bag onto a flight and then not board.

Ground crews and non-flying airline staff do not have to go through the same screenings as pilots, attendants and passengers, she said.

``They just show a picture ID,″ she said.

Several flight attendants said after the meeting they’re afraid to fly.

``The only confidence I have is coming from God,″ said United Airlines flight attendant Jason Arnold-Burke. ``It is not coming from the changes brought by the airlines or the government.″

United spokeswoman Chris Nardella said attendants should make their safety concerns known to the company.

``United has complied with all the new security measures put in place by the FAA,″ she said. ``In many cases we have exceeded them.″

Meanwhile Thursday, the Senate voted unanimously to boost aviation security. The bill calls for more air marshals, the fortifying of cockpit doors, anti-hijacking training for flight crews and a fee on passengers to pay for the changes.

It also would put all 28,000 airport security personnel on the federal payroll.

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