Americans are still concerned about safety in the nation's airports and jetliners, and most would accept longer lines and other delays if it meant more flying would be safer.
"Confidence in our current aviation security system seems to be improving since Sept. 11, but many people remain concerned about their security, so much so that they would put up with more intrusive and less convenient airport procedures to help ensure their safety," said Robert L. Darbeinet, AAA president and CEO.
According to a national survey conducted for AAA, 36 percent of the 1,008 people questioned said they were very confident in today's enhanced security measures. The percentage dropped to 25 percent among those who have not flown in the last year.
About seven of 10 Americans expressed strong concerns about passenger access to the cockpit in flight, the quality of luggage and aircraft inspections, background checks on both airport and gate security personnel and the skill levels and training of security personnel.
Seventy-two percent said they would accept more intrusive and less convenient security procedures and 68 percent said they would not mind longer delays before boarding.
Fifty-nine percent said they would pay an additional air security charge on each ticket. Nearly two thirds of those willing to accept an extra charge would be willing to pay between $11 and $30, and 23 percent would pay an extra $6-10 a ticket.
'FIRST ALERT' SYSTEM FOR CYBERATTACKS
Richard A. Clarke, the adviser for cyber-security in the newly created Office of Homeland Security, wants the government to create a second Internet -- called Govnet -- that would allow federal agencies to operate in security.
But he hasn't ignored the need for more coordinated protection of the current Internet, according to The Washington Post. Clarke is among those urging industry to create a "first alert" system that would disseminate information about cyber-attacks so businesses could avert further damage.
Computer security experts said the main problem in creating such a system has been the same for years: corporations generally don't trust each other, and they are reluctant to share cyber-security information with one another. The FBI is attempting to change that with a public-private group called Infragard that allows the anonymous sharing of information about attacks, the Post reported.
(Thanks to UPI's Joe Warminsky in Washington)
THE HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON
Recent events aren't going to keep holiday shoppers at home. That's according to a national telephone survey sponsored by MOHR Learning, a retail training unit of Provant, Inc., of Ridgewood, N.J.
56 percent of the 1,002 people questioned said they're not planning to change their shopping plans.
Even among those who say their buying patterns will be affected, only 15 percent will do more shopping online to avoid crowds, according to MOHR Learning CEO Michael Patrick.
"Consumers say they'll look for comfort and familiarity in their shopping experiences," said Patrick. "Sixty percent of those whose shopping plans will be affected indicate they'll be more likely to shop in stores where salespeople are kind and thoughtful. Forty-nine percent say they'll better appreciate the seasonal spirit and festive atmosphere at stores, and a third will be less likely to shop at unfamiliar stores or malls, preferring retailers they know and trust."
But customer stress and anxiety will nevertheless make an impact, said Patrick. "Nearly 14 percent of those surveyed overall said they'll be more likely to walk out on a stressful shopping situation. As a result, retailers should train staff to avoid conflict with customers, diffuse tension among customers, and create a more pleasant and efficient shopping experience for everyone."
A SAFER ENVELOPE?
A Virginia company says it makes an envelope that will not hold powder -- an important find given the recent mailing of anthrax spores through the mail.
"It is a fairly simple concept, a standard envelope that is cut in certain areas so it maintains its structural integrity but can't act as a pouch to carry powder," said Joseph Fuisz, vice president and corporate council for St. James Paper of Great Falls, Va.
The envelope is designed with gentle curves that enhance natural airflow, which also helps "sniffer" technologies better detect any toxins that might be on the letter, said Fuisz.
The company has a patent on the design and has contracted with manufactures to begin production immediately. The envelope is "priced like a normal letter envelope" and should be commercially available within the next two months, Fuisz said.
Dubbed the Safteylope, the envelope will come in different designs -- from standard corporate bill envelopes to higher-end stationary.
Fuisz said testers proved the envelope was no more susceptible to tearing than a regular envelope. "We designed it also to ensure privacy of the mail," he said. "From our perspective you aren't supposed to pay more or lost privacy. We have taken the potential for bad use out of the envelope."