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Survey: Travelers feel safe at airports

CHICAGO, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- A survey sponsored by Boeing indicates increased airline and airport security measures have made travelers feel safer.

"Once people get back to the airports and onto airplanes, they are seeing the extra safety procedures and feeling more secure about flying," Boeing spokeswoman Donna Mikov said Thursday.

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The survey indicates that among those who have flown since the Sept. 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington, 91 percent said they feel air travel is safe and 96 percent said Americans should enjoy the freedom to fly safely.

Those queried also recognized the importance of air travel to the economy and 92 percent predicted air travel would return to pre-attack levels within the next year.

The survey results were released as United Airlines reported its worse quarterly loss in its 70-year history -- $1.16 billion -- despite government bailout funds.

"While we're heartened by those people who have resumed flying, our focus going forward will be on those who still have concerns," Mikov said. "We are committed to doing everything we can to rebuild confidence in air travel."

The survey's release coincides with Thursday's scheduled U.S. House vote on airport security.

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Survey respondents recommended improving safety by securing cockpit doors, putting armed marshals on planes, improving luggage security and providing more training for security staff.

Additionally, Boeing debuted the first of two new advertising programs, reminding people that travel without fear is a precious liberty and reminding companies that a physical presence is essential in sealing business deals.

"Our research says Americans feel very strongly that the ability to fly safely where they want to go, when they want to go is one of the most important freedoms that we enjoy," Mikov said. "And despite new communications technology, there's no substitute for personal contact.

"You can't fax a handshake or email the smell of a holiday dinner or substitute videotape for the warmth of a grandparent's hug."

The survey was conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide Sept. 27-30, Oct. 12-13 and Oct. 23-25. Some 2,109 adults were queried and the survey has an error rate of between 3.1 and 5.65 percent.

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