Despite airline cutbacks and fears of flying that kept many students on the ground for Thanksgiving travel, many have accepted the fact that life goes on and chose to fly during winter break.

Paul Wong
A National Guard member carrying an M-16 watches passengers on Dec. 19 at the Los Angeles International Airport Terminal Two security checkpoint.<br><br>DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily

“I”m not afraid of flying because I have that “it”s not going to happen to me” attitude, and if people are afraid of flying, then they”re letting terrorism win,” said LSA freshman Anne Allen.

Part of the reason for people being less reluctant about flying is the increased security at many airports. Airport employees are more on alert at security checkpoints, looking for suspicious people or items. More travelers are being taken aside, frisked and sometimes asked to take their shoes and belts off.

“We had to wait an hour to get through security,” said LSA sophomore Nikola Leibold, who flew to Ft. Myers, Fla., for vacation.

But the change in airport security has not been uniform across the country.

Some airports have imposed drastic changes, while others have done very little.

“We flew from Houston to Memphis to New York, and the best security was in the New York airports,” said Ashleigh Howells, a Houston resident at Newark International Airport.

Even those who opted to drive home said they chose that method of transportation for the usual reasons, such as money and time. Most said that they had no concerns about flying in the future.

“I”ll fly if I need to,” said LSA junior Larry Johnson.

Despite predictions that more Americans would use alternative modes of public transportation such as trains or buses, there was not much of a difference this year.

Amtrak had a steady year, not suffering the losses that the airlines saw in the last couple of months.

There was an increase in the number of services available, but those are normal for the holiday season.

“Ridership levels were basically the same as they were last year,” said Corrina Vanveen, manager of media relations for Amtrak.

In addition, Vanveen said these steady levels should remain into the new year and could possibly grow in 2002.

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