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911 Thoughts - Travel as it is Now

Old Sep 10th, 2002, 06:16 PM
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911 Thoughts - Travel as it is Now

My travel plans have changed radically because of 9/11.

First of all I was a 'senior systems analyst' with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter stationed on the 69th floor in 2 WTC. I was at my desk when the plane hit tower 1 and I was fortunate to have lived.

When I burst out of the door from tower 2 the second plane flew literally over my head. I ran dead on to get over the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn and presumed safety. I found it incredible that there were thousands of people on Church Street watching the towers burn, the people jumping out etc... I wondered what people would do if the towers toppled over and not imploded like they did.

Four weeks after 9/11 I, along with three other WTC survivors, flew American Airlines from EWR to DFW as we frequently did for business. An hour into the flight the pilot said something like "there are tornados around DFW...we have an old plane but a fast one and we will try to beat them" An hour later he said that he cannot beat them and landed safely in Austin. There were 20 of us on the plane. We wanted to get off and stay there but we had no choice. He took off and ten minutes later we hit the nastiest turbulence ever. We probably dived over 10,000 feet. For the next hour we had a truly shaking turbulent flight to finally land in DFW. The pilot apologized, "sorry it got ugly out there..." Everybody was screaming that they were going to die. This flight was sicker than that morning in the WTC. We then went to the Embassy Suites Outdoor World in Grapevine, TX which is an outstanding hotel with and outstanding bar and restaurant. On our second night at 0200 we heard a fire alarm. The four of us were absolutely the first ones to the lobby. Two of us didn't even grab shirts. Of course this alarm was false. It was set off by a bungling exterminator.

9/11 has made me value my life. I gained new respect for fire alarms. I will not fly any more because of the following reaons...
- There is simply too much risk. I'm surprised that airlines cannot come up with a door that somebody cannot bust down. The security out there is there to make people 'feel' secure, not 'be' secure. I guess that all the airlines are interest in is to keep their profits rolling and the economy moving.
- Every vacation that I took involved going on a plane elsewhere. I have been in more foreign countries that I have been in US states. There is much to see locally and regionally. I'll spend my money locally. I generally did not receive that great treatment when I went on vacation. I'll see how well I'm treated by Americans. I truly think that spending your money here is quite patriotic, rather than subsidizing a country that really doesn't like us but will tolerate us for our money.
- Plane travel is too slow and annoying. Add up ground delays and the flight time itself you'll see that it is frequently quicker to drive. I can leave my home and be in Miami 18 hours later carry up to three passengers comfortably, come and go whenever I want, not get questioned, and do it for $70 of gas.
- Air line personnel always had a contempt for the customer. I see it growing to outright disgust.

Old Sep 10th, 2002, 06:19 PM
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Here is part II

In life I truly suggest that people should avoid risk.
- Drive a big SUV if you can afford it.
- Forget about motorcycles or jet-skis. They may look great but they are truly unsafe. A WTC survivor, Jim, died on one a month ago. I know too many people that have dies or have been seriously injured on these type of craft. I hear about some acquaintance getting killed on a motorcycle yearly. I also lost a good friend, too.
- Drive safely. People up here truly participate in a drag race when they drive. 80 MPH is routine on a local two laned road. Every accident in Orange County, NY seems to be big. I hardly see a fender-bender. Drunk driving, driving while on a phone, driving with screaming kids, driving while eating, are all stupid activities that should also be avoided.

I know you cannot be 100% safe, but I now try to tilt the odds in my favor. Call me whatever you want but I'll do my best to stay alive and avoid trouble.

Old Sep 11th, 2002, 06:25 AM
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Dear "x":
I am sorry for all your travails.
Very sad tales.
But....eventually your fears will diminish.
They may never disappear and you may well never be the old you.
But years down the road, you'll slowly ease back toward a more open minded perspective.
The travel industry will continue to change with innovation of course, and this will mean improvements for everyone.
But I'll be completely surprised if you fell the same way in several years.
Go at your own pace. Time will help heal you. As I said, you will never be the person you were on 9/10/01, but you'll grow beyond many of your current fears.
Old Sep 11th, 2002, 07:53 AM
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Well said, Maggie.

My heart is with you X. We do forget and life does go on. Seems unimaginable that it does when so many of us still are dealing with 9/11. Take heart. Be patient with yourself. And try to not be angry with others who don't feel or understand your pain. There are many of us who understand. And as Maggie said, give yourself time. Time softens the harshest of wounds. You are in my thoughts.
Old Sep 11th, 2002, 08:22 AM
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My heart goes out to you for the anguish you must be feeling, still to this date. Living in a small town in Ohio, I cannot imagine what it must have been like to have been there when it was happening.

But, having said that, I would respectfully ask you to really THINK about all of the risks we take just in getting out of bed. There are deadly accident risks even in your own home (e.g. falling down the steps, etc.). Then, when you leave your home, the risks multiply exponentially. I think just about everyone who drives has had at least one of those experiences on the highway where, were it not for the hand of God, you would be dead. Yet, just about every morning, we still get into our cars and head out for our destinations.

And I must believe that with everything people know now, any skyjacking has a much, much lower chance of occurring. Even the security experts say this. It's far more likely that the terrorists will now resort to IRA-style attacks, like car bombs, and bombs in public places, like shopping malls. What will you do then? Not go out shopping?

I've only made one trip in the last year (in July), so I am sure that many others on this site have far greater experience with the new realities of air travel post-september 11, but I really was surprised to see that while security was enhanced, it wasn't the dreadful inconvenience I was expecting it to be. It really stinks that on your first flight after the event, you had such a rotten experience, but I implore you not to give up on air travel. For if you do, you'll be giving the evil individuals who perpetrated that heinous deed a small victory.

X, I am not trying to be snide, but I'd really encourage you to seek some counseling. You have many understandable fears that are (whether you know it or not) hampering your life. I think it's great that you want to see the U.S., but it should be for the right reasons -- not because you are afraid to get on an airplane and see another country. Remember, when you try to live too safely, you end up missing a big part of life.

One last thing -- I'm certainly no environmental wacko, but I must strongly disagree with your suggestion to "Drive a big SUV if you can afford it." Out here in the country, people need pickups and SUVs for hauling equipment, animals, etc., and to get through roads that aren't plowed very well during inclement weather. But when I see people from the suburbs/city in these vehicles, I can't help but think that if all of these people got cars instead, we'd be much further along in breaking our dependency on middle eastern oil -- the funds from which, indirectly, were used to fuel this terrorism.

Good luck in all you do, and I hope you find peace.

Old Sep 11th, 2002, 08:40 AM
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x, thank you for sharing your painful story. Today we are all thinking so much of those who lost their lives one year ago, but we need to be reminded also of those whose lives have been changed irrevocably because of the events of that day, like yourself. I am also so sorry for your pain and loss of freedom. I hope you can find a way to regain your former life again, but I imagine that every year when this date approaches you will relive this pain all over again. Allow yourself some time to recover from this. Have patience with yourself and appreciate how resilient you have become already. Talk about your feelings to your loved ones. Good luck to you.
Old Sep 11th, 2002, 09:06 AM
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DS is right. Driving a big SUV only increases dependency on Middle Eastern oil. Ride a bike to work, carpool, or take public transit!! If we were not so dependent on foreign oil we wouldn't have all this involvement in the Middle East.
Old Sep 11th, 2002, 11:36 AM
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X , I am sorry you had to go through such a horrible experience.I agree that sometimes driving is quicker and more enjoyable than flying. But big huge SUV's just further our need for Middle Eastern oil. There are many other safe or safer cars than SUV's. I hope today brings you some peace. God bless you.
Old Sep 15th, 2002, 05:08 PM
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Right on X.....
Be careful out there
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