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December 26th, 2009
11:33 AM ET

Holiday Travel Concerns

The holidays are already a busy and often frustrating time to fly. With the attempted terror attack on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, there are likely to be even more long lines and added security in the coming days.

Send us your feedback about what your travel experiences have been like since the attempted terror attack.  If you have questions about changes in airport security, send them along as well and we’ll answer some of them on the air.

Filed under: Fredricka Whitfield
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Helen

    Did I hear this morning that Nic Robertson believe that it is impossible for the Nigerian bomber to live in a posh area? As journalist Mr. Robertson should know better. Bin Laden came from a wealthy family. Mr robertson should live his personal judgment out of CNN's door.

    December 26, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  2. Linda Bryant

    I just wish we could tone down the continual talk about what our airport security is and also what its' deficits are. I really don't need to know every aspect of our security screening and I feel that advertising over and over make us potentially less safe. We all know that the lines will be long, the security will be tighter, that we will need to show up at the airport earlier, and that we need to continue to be vigilant. Beyond that, that really is all I need and want to know.

    December 26, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  3. Lolly

    Who is the man that tackled and stopped the suspect? Was he a U.S. Marshall? Was he injured in the struggle?

    Usually, you would be all over this part of the story. thus far you haven't talked much about this passenger. He is a hero, no matter whether this was his job, or whether he was a private individual.

    If he is a Marshall, I understand the desire to keep his identity quiet. No one wants to compromise the work of those who's job it is to protect us.

    December 26, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  4. Jeff Boyer

    The airlines are good about using those plastic placards to tell us what to do in the case we crash in water, lose oxygen, etc. When are they going to tell us to flip the chart over and read about what passengers should do when they are sitiing next to a guy who catches on fire? When all the precautions have failed and some terroist has made it on to an airplane, shouldn't the procedure at 38,000 feet, where there is nobody else to depend on, be for the person closest to the guy on fire, to begin beating the fire out with fists and feet and then for everyone else to dogpile the guy and do the same? If the choice is to watch some terroist do his thing or for us to take matters in to our own hands, I say let's not sit back and watch, but take an active part in trying to defend ourselves. If all terroists knew that any attempt to bring down a plane full of Americans was going to be met with those Americans beating him into unconciousness, then maybe they would know what they are really up against. It is time for the airlines to tell us what to do when we are all alone at 38,000 fett when a terroist reveals himself.

    December 26, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  5. ken, NJ

    This was a nothing event by a nobody. Please don't star draging out the experts and the psycho talk about terrorists. The more you talk about this nothing event the harder it will be get on a plane. Accept what it is not what if scenarios.

    December 26, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  6. Joyce

    I like your reporting Fredricka. Find that your guest Richard Herman should realize that the police, as all othe HUMAN institutions, "botch it up" all over the world on occasion, not just in The Netherlands. Does the O.J. Simpson case ring a bell? JonBenet Ramsey case? Just to name a few.

    December 26, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  7. Gary / Santa Ana, CA

    Why does CNN keep saying "Northwest Airlines" when it is Delta?

    December 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  8. Andrew Ighedo

    Good Afternoon:

    I know that Nigeria is as Dysfunctional as any Country that size could get and still function as a democratic Nation.

    Given the fact that My Country's President has been AWOL in Saudi Arabia for almost a month and our Vice President is still a Rubberstamp President-in-Training figurehead who has no power of office at the moment, The Country and every other rubberstamp official is oblivious to the turn of events since 12:00PM on Christmas Day.

    This Does not mean that it's Citizens are as stupid as it's leaders. I understand that the alleged suspect is a Nigerian (in paper, at least – given the corrupt administration, faking his citizenship can't be ruled out). But You have to understand that He is not a mainstream Nigerian and not all Nigerians are terrorists.

    You could run the story calling the terrorist a Nigerian Islamic (given he is one, which is undisputed) Extremist, and it would not take away from the sensationalism of your broadcast which at the moment paints all Nigerians as terrorists.

    Like I mentioned earlier, Just because we have incompetent Ambassadors and officials does not mean the whole country is stupid.

    Thank you.

    Andrew I

    December 26, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  9. RIchard Huber

    All day we have discussed the screening process....however this is not a TSA screening issue the flight originated in they follow the same rules, do they have the same process, do they have a watch list, how was the passengers handled in Amsterdam, we they rescreened.....why are we focused on TSA not overseas terminals???/

    December 26, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  10. Mike from Woodridge

    Does anyone but myself wonder why our President has not come on the air to reassure the American people since the attempted terrorist attack?
    On vacation or not, this is an event that would seem to demand his involvement.

    December 26, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  11. Roger


    Why haven't we seen an on-camera response/interview/statement from a US Gov't official?

    December 26, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  12. Veronica McCullough

    Frankly, Im surprised this terrorist made it off the plane alive because if I would have been anywhere near him, I would have put the fire out first, then beat him within an inch of his life while calling him every dirty name in the book! Jasper, you are now an American hero and you did a great job! I would have just done it a little bit different !

    December 26, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  13. Dave

    How do you news agencies talk so much about one issue?

    I brushed my hair today. Would the media take a whole day to cover that too?

    December 26, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  14. Will

    Maybe someone could explain why someone who is serious about blowing up an airplane would attempt do so from a passenger seat where everybody is seeing him. Why wouldn't he use the lavoratory where he would be completely unimpeded?

    December 26, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  15. John M.

    I do not like how the media take one nugget of news and then beat the crap out of it. It is especially annoying when the anchors and reporters seem to be making up stuff as they fish for more details. In the meantime, they show the same film loop and same photo until every person in the nation changes the channel. The more absurd coverage is when the media state the obvious – like 'airport security is heightened' after an attempted terror attack. Really?

    December 26, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  16. Lida

    Was there anyone sitting next to the suspect?
    How did he get a visa to come to the U.S?

    December 26, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  17. Annie Gerlitz

    To increase efficiency of security, the airlines should stop charging for checked bags and charge for the carry-on bag (not the purse or personal item that will fit under the seats, but the bags that end up being so crammed full that it takes forever for everyone to jam them into the overhead bins.) This would reduce the amount passengers will carry-on and result in more efficient checking at the passenger security checkpoints. Eliminating the charge for checked bags while charging for a carry-on bag should also transfer more of the passengers' possessions to checked bags that can more efficiently be security-checked behind the scenes.

    December 26, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  18. Gwen Schmitt

    Jasper Shuringa is the hero on this flight. He very quickly reacted to the situation developing before his eyes and almost single-handedly stopped the suspect from starting a larger fire or igniting a bomb.

    I would like to know Mr. Shuringa's background - like, did he serve in the military or is he in police work? If he is just an amateur, he has great instincts and reaction time.

    He deserves the honor of being named the hero of this flight in preventing a major disaster.

    December 26, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  19. Chad

    If this guy is charged with an attempt to destroy an airplane...why is he not charged with 200+ attempts at murder?

    December 26, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  20. Bunny Davis

    Hi Fredricka: You just had a former FBI Asst. Director on, commenting about Yemen's role in investigating this latest terrorist attack on the Delta airliner. He made comments about what a Yemeni gov't. official told him and made other statements about what Yemen has done in working with the US, etc.

    My question is this: What is a FORMER US official (whether a contributor to CNN or not) doing publically making conclusory statements, interpretations, explanations or anything else having to do with CURRENT US foreign policy and/or practices or working relationships with other countries, esp. in this sensitive area? I found his commentary to be inappropriate at he even part of the current adminstration? He said that a Yemeni govt. official had called him and said certain things to him; I found that very troubling to say the least. Should you be using people like him to make these sorts of comments? It seems like everyone and his uncle can get on tv and become an expert, even if they are not directly involved in what's going on today. I think it is a dangerous practice to have all sorts of folks making statements on the media about US business. Please stick to actual current officials and spokespeople when asking about factual situtions......opinion and speculation should be very clearly labelled as such.

    Thanks, general, I especially like the job you do for CNN, but this incident really set me back a bit.

    December 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  21. Ben

    I've heard about – from many airlines and online articles – regulations like not being allowed to get up for an hour before landing on international flights and prohibition on accessing bags before landing. If this is true, are medicinal exceptions taken? I would hate to think about how unsanitary it would become if people were forced to stay seated when needing to relieve themselves – especially if there are landing delays, if your plane has to go-around, etc.

    December 26, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  22. Mohammed

    I flew in this morning into National Airport and noticed the "enhanced" security that was present at the airport. Its comforting to know that the government is taking all the necessary precautions to ensure our security so such an event does not originate from US soil. I think its real important for all travelers to remember that the TSA and other Law Enforcement personnel are doing their job to protect us and for us to be lenient/flexible in order to allow them to do their jobs. Thank you to all those protecting us and keeping us safe!

    December 26, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  23. komlan

    Because of yesterday's incident, i suggest that airport security seach be intensified in order to protect holidays travelers. Even though it might create more delays, it would help protect their lives.
    Security first and entertainment second.

    December 26, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  24. Holly

    Why is it that someone who is a "suspected terriorist" is allowed to board an inbound flight into the USA. If they are on a "No Fly List" or are a "Suspected Terriorist" then their passport should be revoked and/or if domestic travel they should not be issued a boarding pass.

    I have been listening to CNN all day and it is quite clear that all the rave is to "beef-up" security. Why isn't CNN challanging the fact this person was allowed on board? One person you interviewed pointed out that he should not have been on board and that comment was overlooked on the air. Yet there is conversation regarding not allowing passengers out of their seats, more screening, having US Marshall service on board all flights. Does it make sense to punish the millions of innocent people for the actions of one bad person? Again, don't allow Terriorists into our airports or on our airlines and the problem is solved!!!

    December 26, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  25. Wally

    I am a Nigerian, and appalled by this. He is a very stupid person. I also cannot understand why was he allowed to board the plane, even after his father had contacted US authorities weeks ago and complained that his son was exhibiting extremist views. According to news reports from Nigeria, his father, the former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria was even surprised that his son was allowed to fly into the United States.

    December 26, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  26. Scott Stodden

    Merry Christmas Fredricka and Happy New Year 2010, How you dooooin? First I want to say that Im not a person who has to travel by airplanes, trains, or whatever because all my family lives in driving distance where I live but my heart goes out to all the people who were on that plane that came from the Netherlands to Michigan because the airports have been crazy all week anyway with all the flight delays and cancelations due to the weather across the country and now we have to deal with a terroist attack in our country, my question is how did this man even get on a plane with any explosives, I feel the people who work at the airport in the Netherlands should be held completly responisble because that's where the flight left from, Im in shock, appalled and scared now for all people who fly in planes right now! Why is this happening right now, it seems like President Obama is goin to have to cut short his Christmas holiday in Hawaii short to deal with this, what a shame and how irresponsible the people in the Netherlands truly are.

    December 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  27. O. Martin

    Not to be "Johnny Rain-Cloud" but has any thought about the fact that this incident may have been a dry run. Perhaps his partner was suppose to stop the attempt so they could gauge how many other passengers would come to the aid. Perhaps they wanted to see how this kind of situation would be handled. I hope our agencies are checking out EVERYONE!

    December 26, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  28. Pat Scott

    OMG, how did a passenger get by security with a potential explosive when I, as a 68 yr. old grandmother, (oh, yes, I probably look like a terrorist) leaving my children in MN from Fargo couldn't get by security with 0.5 oz of mascara, 0.5 oz of creme concealer, and 0.5 oz of collagen eye filler????? WHAT IS SECURITY ALL ABOUT? Ma Pat

    December 26, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  29. A. Smith, Oregon

    The CNN audience would love to hear how upset the CNN staff investigators and reporters are, that are now forced to undergo full body searches and full body scans routinely day after day during their frequent flights across the nation.

    It would be entirely refreshing to hear how they feel and how they are personally impacted by this newest wave of Airport security reactions to the Muslim butt-bomber.

    Among the new rules and changes are No bathroom visits a full hour before the plane lands, You had best check your flight seat to see if it is wet before sitting down in some former passengers puddle!

    Senior citizens and men with prostrate conditions are going to be highly stressed to wait a full two hours before they are able to relieve themselves (1 hour plus 1 hour disembarking and further screening and then locating a bathroom in the tarmac).

    December 26, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  30. A. Smith, Oregon

    Bringing back bomb sniffing dogs would not have stopped the Muslim butt-bomber. That was proven in Oct. 2009 when a faithful Muslim had 1lb of plastic explosives inserted into his rectum and stood next to the Saudi Prince's dogs and security staff a full 30 minutes waiting for the Prince to meet him.

    The Urea fumes in the pelvic area produces Nitrogen compounds which results in a false positive for all Nitrogen based explosives. Which is precisely what faithful Muslims have exploited. The faithful Muslims knew the dogs wouldn't trigger on that area of the body as anything out of the ordinary.

    December 26, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  31. christa

    Traveling to Europe every year, showed me at the De Gaul Airport in Paris, France, that there were no security checks. When I went to Frankfurt, Germany the security was really very, very good and I thought , this is a little much, but then I thought, you never know when someone is crazy and blows up an Airplane. So we as americans need to talk to our partners in Europe and else were in the world, to tighten their security. There are always dangers lurking when we least expect it. A visa is easy to come by if booking a flight to the USA and you have a passport, the same if we go to Europe, all we have to do is have a passport, book a flight and you can get in all the countries over in Europe, they stamp your passport at the country of the arrival.

    December 27, 2009 at 8:28 am |
  32. R.Gayle

    I watched the interview that you did yesterday with the "Hero" of flight 253 from the Christmas Day incident, however, I thought that he was acting a little suspicious after he was asked if the suspect had been acting alone. Did you find that this was true?

    December 27, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  33. Rene

    Greetings Fredricka: Here are my thoughts re. The passenger that was arrested today @ Detroit airport. According to news reports passenger Mr. X had become agitated after spending approximately one hour in the lavatory. My suspicion is that he had something hidden in his anal cavity and was unable to retrieve it ergo the agitation. The one common denominator these occurrences appear to have is a, at times lengthy, visit to the lavatory prior to landing.

    Excellent reporting Ms. ‘Fred’ plus I always enjoy seeing your smiling face. Sincerely, Rene`

    December 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  34. Laura Thompson

    Gosh, it seem's that traveling durning our holiday's have become a hassle. We use to travel to our families on Thanksgiving/Christmas for year's, we stopped doing so because of the fraustration's that it cause's. It's not worth it. We travel now to see our families when it's not a holiday and we sooooo enjoy it. Make everyday a holiday and stop the madness!!!

    December 27, 2009 at 7:01 pm |