During the mid-1990s I traveled between Dayton, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., twice a month during the school year as half of a commuting couple. I could leave Dayton by 5:15 p.m., drive nearly 80 miles to the Columbus airport during rush hour, park my car in the economy lot, and still get to my gate in plenty of time for a 7:30 p.m. departure.

The terrorist attacks brought swift and lasting changes to the air travel experience in the United States. And after 20 years of ever-more-elaborate airport security protocols, many air travelers have no knowledge of – or only vague memories of – what air travel was like before 9/11.

On the other hand, it’s been jarring to watch how abruptly the sprawling Transportation Security Agency system was created – and how quickly American air travelers came to accept those security measures as both normal and seemingly permanent features of all U.S. airports.

Security Kabuki

In the early decades of air travel, airport security – beyond basic policing – was essentially nonexistent. Getting on a plane was no different from getting on a bus or train.

But in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a wave of hijackings, terrorist attacks and extortion attempts – the most infamous being that of the man known as D.B. Cooper, who commandeered a Boeing 727, demanded US$200,000 and, upon securing the case, dramatically parachuted from the plane, never to be found. Attacks on U.S. flights usually prompted another new security measure, whether it was the formation of the air marshal program, which placed armed federal agents on U.S. commercial aircraft; the development of a hijacker profile, aimed at identifying people deemed likely to threaten an aircraft; or the screening of all passengers.

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By 1973, under the new protocols, air travelers had to pass through a metal detector and have any bags X-rayed to check for weapons or suspicious objects.

Above all, airlines didn’t want to inconvenience passengers, and airports were reluctant to lose the extra revenue from family and friends who might frequent airport restaurants, bars and shops when dropping off or picking up those passengers.

In addition, these security measures, though called for by the Federal Aviation Administration, were the responsibility of not the federal government, but the airlines. And to keep costs down, the airlines tended to contract private companies to conduct security screenings that used minimally trained low-paid employees.

The clampdown

All that changed with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Once the airlines returned to the skies on Sept. 14, 2001, it was immediately apparent that flying was going to be different. Passengers arriving at airports were greeted by armed military personnel, as governors throughout the country had mobilized the National Guard to protect the nation’s airports. They remained on patrol for several months.

Security measures only increased in December 2001, when Richard Reid, the so-called “Shoe Bomber,” attempted to set off explosives in his shoes on an international flight from Paris

(CNN) — What awaits American visitors to Europe this summer is a byzantine and constantly-changing array of Covid-related restrictions and registration requirements. It’s sort of like shifting mask mandates in the US, just with lots of paperwork and foreign languages thrown in. This is what I discovered on my Kafkaesque odyssey to Greece in June as an eager but under-prepared American.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. But first, here are all the mistakes my husband and I made on our six-day trip to Europe (about all we could swing with two toddlers at home), so that you don’t make the same ones.

When we arrived at a mostly empty Newark airport on a Sunday night, the Lufthansa check-in agent told us we would not, even as fully vaccinated travelers, be allowed out of the airport into Germany if we missed our connecting flight from Munich to Crete. It turned out, though, that there was also a question of whether we would be let into Greece.

Earlier in the week, when my husband had asked me if there were any paperwork requirements for entry into Greece, I said no. But in my hasty trip planning, I had neglected to read two emails carefully enough to know that everyone entering Greece needs a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) and the QR code issued upon its completion.

Tourists are expected to return this summer in greater numbers to Greece, visiting the old town in Mykonos and other popular spots.

Tourists are expected to return this summer in greater numbers to Greece, visiting the old town in Mykonos and other popular spots.

Loulou D’Aki/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The form had to be submitted by 11:59 p.m. local time the day before we were scheduled to arrive in Greece, which meant we had to select the following day, Tuesday, as our earliest possible arrival date even though we had tickets to arrive in Heraklion on Monday.

With that cloud of uncertainty hanging over us, we boarded our Lufthansa flight — an altogether very pleasant and almost pre-pandemic-like experience, save for the masks and a little less hands-on service — to Munich and crossed our fingers that it would all work out.

This is probably a good place to mention that Covid travel, particularly of the international variety, is not for the faint of heart. No matter how much research you’ve done, not everything will be effortless and smooth. This is the new normal of crossing borders in our not yet post-pandemic world.

We visited after Greece opened up to Americans but before the United States was added on June 18 to the European Union’s list of approved countries, opening up more options for both vaccinated and unvaccinated US travelers. However, each country has the final say on its own rules and restrictions, so going anywhere in Europe still requires a lot of detailed research. And growing concern about the Delta variant is prompting new restrictions in some countries.

Mixed messaging as the travel industry irons out the rules

When we arrived in Munich, the possibility of not being let into Greece became quite real. A help line

WHY IT RATES: Packages are available at any of Beach Enclave’s three destinations: the all-new Beach Enclave Grace Bay, Beach Enclave Long Bay and Beach Enclave North Shore. —Codie Liermann, Senior Editor

With 27 private luxury villas spread across three intimate, beachfront, gated communities, Beach Enclave Turks & Caicos is the ideal choice for families seeking space, seclusion and total comfort while gathering together under one roof. Beach Enclave’s exclusive villa-resort concept combines the best of both worlds; guests enjoy the conveniences of their own private home, the amenities of a five-star resort and the personalized services of an attentive, dedicated staff of butlers, concierges and personal chefs.

While each stay is customized based on guests’ unique needs and preferences, Beach Enclave recognizes that for the modern jet set family, time together is paramount. To help expedite planning and maximize vacation time, the team has utilized its deep knowledge and years of experience to carefully curate an all-new collection of three- to ten-day family packages.

Available at all three of Beach Enclave’s locations on Providenciales, the three-, five-, seven- and ten-day family packages include all of the following:

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—Luxurious private villa accommodations

—A half-day boat excursion with snorkeling and a visit to Iguana Island

—A private, family-style chef’s dinner

—A half-day of kids’ camp

—A 50-minute, in-room couple’s massage

In addition, the five-, seven- and ten-day packages also include:

—Four hours of nanny services at Surfside Ocean Academy

—Horseback riding lessons (based on four people for a two-bedroom, six people for a three-bedroom and eight people for a four-bedroom villa)

The seven and ten-day packages additionally add:

—A second half-day or one full-day of kids’ camp

Adding on to all of the above offerings, the ten-day package exclusively features the following:

—Private tennis lessons

—Custom kids’ camp at Surfside Ocean Academy

—An additional four hours of nanny services at Surfside Ocean Academy

—A second private, family-style chef’s dinner

—A dinner for two on the town (including taxi) for the parents

Family packages start at $12,912 and vary based on villa size and location. These packages are available for travel beginning May 1 through December 18, 2021, at any of Beach Enclave’s three beachfront destinations: the all-new Beach Enclave Grace Bay; Beach Enclave Long Bay; and Beach Enclave North Shore. This offer is subject to availability and blackout dates.

For more information or to book a stay, please visit https://www.beachenclave.com/, call +1 866 580 1675 or email [email protected]

SOURCE: Beach Enclave press release.

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