NEW YORK – Travelers across the nation expressed a mix of anxiety and confidence in stepped up security at airports Sunday, one day after a man boarded a jetliner from Paris to Miami with explosives hidden in his shoes.
Llewyn Job heard about Saturday's emergency landing of American Airlines Flight 63 in Boston before boarding a flight in Dallas.
"I was glad that they were able to stop him because it could have been a major catastrophe," he said Sunday after arriving at New York's LaGuardia Airport.
Erica Devault heard about the diverted flight while waiting in Atlanta to board a plane to New York.
"It definitely gives me some sort of anxiety, but it makes me feel better that they have much higher security measures in place," she said.
Sruly Lazerson had to remove his shoes for inspection before boarding a flight in Miami.
"I was a little nervous at first, but since I already had my ticket I couldn't just not fly," he said from LaGuardia.
Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport has been screening passengers' shoes since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said airport spokeswoman Suzanne Luber said.
"A lot of that has to do with cowboy boots and other shoes that we are more likely to wear in the West," she said.
Despite increased security, checkpoints screen passengers for weapons, not explosives, experts say. "We still don't have equipment that really could check and find explosives on the person," said David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association, an advocacy group.
That makes it more important to profile passengers, singling some out for extra scrutiny, said former FAA security chief Billie Vincent. "The profiling has proven remarkably effective," said Capt. John Cox, executive air safety chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association.
The emergency landing made Alen Kolbe of Mendon, Mass., anxious as he waited to fly home from Los Angeles International Airport.
"I'm more worried. What he did yesterday was kind of creative in a destructive sort of way," Kolbe said.
Joseph Cohen had the opposite reaction.
"I have even greater confidence in my fellow passengers and crew to respond to any emergencies after yesterday," said the Los Angeles resident headed to Cabo, Mexico.
At Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Theresa Onah waited to board her first flight since Sept. 11. She said she wasn't nervous about flying first to Washington, D.C., and then to Amsterdam.
"It doesn't bother me," she said. "What's going to happen is going to happen."
Michelle Moquin and several other passengers at Denver International Airport said they had been unaware of the diversion of Flight 63 as they boarded planes Sunday.
"My job revolves around travel so I kind of have to keep an open mind about it. It is kind of like an understood patience," said Moquin of Dallas, who flew on American Airlines to visit her family.
Judi Blandell, who was flying from Denver to Kentucky, wasn't rattled by the news.
"My attitude is if it is your time to go it is your time to go wherever you are," she said. "You can't shut down the entire country."