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Time When There Was No Security Check  
User currently offlineNonstopnyc From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 47 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 4410 times:

I was wondering if there was ever a time in commercial travel when there was no 'security check' I remember being a kid in the '70s and still having to do it even in the small airport that was near my hometown.

Was there always security at the TWA terminal at JFK? Anyone know the answer?

48 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePITIngres From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 1144 posts, RR: 13
Reply 1, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 4341 times:



Quoting Nonstopnyc (Thread starter):
I was wondering if there was ever a time in commercial travel when there was no 'security check'

Certainly. I don't recall dates, maybe you can find them on the web, but I definitely recall walking to gates with no check as a kid. (60's, and I wasn't flying, was waiting for incoming family passengers.)

I think the DB Cooper episode in the early 70's might have kicked off some of the earlier security checks.



Fly, you fools! Fly!
User currently offlineNonstopnyc From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 47 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 4306 times:

I thought so... It seems like all terminals have retro'fitted security areas... so i wondered if in the 'glory' days of the jetage there was no security

User currently offlineJcavinato From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 520 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 4280 times:

We lived in Baltimore in the late 1960s. I remember security being built there in early 1969 or close thereabouts.

When we moved to State College, Pennsylvania in the late 1970s there was no security for the commuter like service to PIT, but the mainline concourse at that airport had it by then.


User currently offlineJimbobjoe From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 653 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 4271 times:

Metal detectors were mandatory as of January 1973 (according to several web sources.) I seem to recall hearing that X-ray machines didn't come for several years after that, but I can't find a citation for it.

User currently offlineMSYPI7185 From United States of America, joined Oct 2007, 710 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4237 times:

1973 sounds about right for the Security Checkpoints. There were quite a few hijackings to Cuba from various cities in the US. in the late 60's and early 70's. Before that you just checked your bags and walked down to the gate and got on the plane.

IIRC PI first Intl flt Big grin was a hijacked 732 or 727, cannot remember for sure off the top of my head, flt was flying ORF - MIA. One of my coworkers was working Ops in MIA at the time.

Could you imagine how nice spotting aircraft would have been then, with gate access and the Observation Decks unimpeded.


User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13113 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4220 times:

I recall only minimal security checks when I did a domestic (AUK-CHC) flight on NZ in June 1994. The thought was that since the 737's used couldn't travel to the next country outside of NZ, that is wasn't needed.
Generally the USA demanded metal detectors and other minor security checks in the early 1970's due to a series of hijackings to Cuba. I believe x-rays became part of the security in the late 1970's-early 1980 for domestic flights, by the late 1970's for international flights.


User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4327 posts, RR: 28
Reply 7, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4216 times:



Quoting PITIngres (Reply 1):
I think the DB Cooper episode in the early 70's might have kicked off some of the earlier security checks.

I think DB Cooper escalated security checks. However...

Quoting MSYPI7185 (Reply 5):
There were quite a few hijackings to Cuba from various cities in the US. in the late 60's and early 70's.

I think that was the real genesis for metal detectors. I remember in the summer of '71 (a few months before DB Cooper) putting my mom on a Pan Am flight at JFK. They set up a "portable" metal detector at the gate and made the passengers on her flight walk through it. When her flight departed they took the contraption to another gate. It was quite a novelty at the time. In any event, I think it was the rash of hijackings in the late 60's, a lot of them to Cuba, that resulted in security checks.



My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
User currently onlineIndy From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 4561 posts, RR: 18
Reply 8, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4215 times:

I'd be happy with just being able to go through security again without having a ticket.


Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air
User currently offlineUAL747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4209 times:

I did my first international flight in 1996 on NW DTW-CDG on an old DC-10-40, and I can tell you the security on this side of the pond was much more relaxed than that at CDG on check-in for the flight home. Now security is just completely assinign, but needed unfortunately. Though, things have started to speed up here in the US because people are becoming more and more used to the hightened security, especially with taking off their shoes. But sometimes I still wonder if it is enough, because nowadays, with electronic check in, hardly anyone checks your ID and boarding pass other than a quick glance.

UAL


User currently offlineSCCutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5519 posts, RR: 28
Reply 10, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4188 times:

When I was a kid, we used to go out to Love Field (DAL) to wander around, look at planes and the like... ride the Braniff Jetrail. It was a cheap fun time. Walk out on the observation deck, wander down to gates. Sometimes, you could persuade a gate agent to take you out to a plane to see the cockpit. A TTa FO took me around his plane during the preflight once (Convair). TTa is the airline that still flies today... as Continental (whoda thunk it?).

Oh yes, the security was very different.

DFW was designed pre-checkpoint (idea being that you could get out of the car a matter of feet from your gate), and the requirement for security checks came up after the design was firmed and construction nearly complete. At the AA/Eastern terminal (yes, AA shared its terminal with Eastern when DFW opened), they constructed a few central checkpoints (much like today), very irritating, very slow. Metal detectors, only, no bag check (you carried them through with you). this, then, places the start of the screening at late 72 / 73 -ish.

Braniff was much more passenger-friendly in their terminal (which they had all to themselves); they had a metal-detector at each gate, which you walked through as you boarded.



...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25300 posts, RR: 22
Reply 11, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3985 times:

Until the early 1970s there were basically no security checks at all, with isolated exceptions like El Al and probably all flights departing certain countries like Israel. However in those days there were also quite a few lives and aircraft lost due to onboard bombs and other sabotage, even on domestic flights in the U.S. and Canada, which is much less likely to happen today.

A few examples:
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19720308-0
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19700221-1
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19700221-0
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19681119-2
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19671211-0
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19650708-0
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19620522-0
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19570725-0
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19551101-0

And that's in addition to the almost weekly hijackings in the pre-security era.


User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 31
Reply 12, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3939 times:



Quoting PITIngres (Reply 1):
I think the DB Cooper episode in the early 70's might have kicked off some of the earlier security checks.

As noted above - hijackers to Cuba and in the Middle East changed the face of airline travel.

Cooper was just one of the few to make a profit - if he lived.


User currently offlineDFWMzuri From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 248 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3895 times:



Quoting Indy (Reply 8):
I'd be happy with just being able to go through security again without having a ticket.

I remember meeting people at the gate at ORD back in the early 80's and going up on the observation deck to watch the planes, and the only security (IIRC) was walking through a metal detector.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 11):
with isolated exceptions like El Al

Now here's some serious security, by land or air! They check everything.


User currently offlineAirbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 8363 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3872 times:



Quoting MSYPI7185 (Reply 5):
Could you imagine how nice spotting aircraft would have been then, with gate access and the Observation Decks unimpeded.

Here in BOS one could walk up onto the tarmac and around the aircraft as late as 1995. Very strange. They had security but they weren't doing much of it at all.


User currently offlineAS777 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 145 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3854 times:

ANC does have Security for the Majors, but if you fly PenAir, Era, or Frontier(the biggest of the smallest) out of ANC to a bush community, or even FAI, there is no "going through security." It is pretty cool, but also a strange feeling. These guys dont fly jets, but they do fly turbo props. I asked one of my friends at PenAir and she said because of the small amount of passenger loads and "do you really think anyone wants to terrorize a bush community" then she just laughed at me.  ashamed 

User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11655 posts, RR: 60
Reply 16, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3840 times:

I can think of a few places in Europe where I flew through last time where there wasn't a whiff of security. No metal detector, no interrogation, no baggage scanners - nothing. One was Corvo in the Azores - only a maximum of 6 flights a week, so fair enough, and another was Reykjavik City, which was much busier. Nice though, that you are treated as a passenger and not a suspect.


Dan Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineBAViscount From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 2338 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3803 times:



Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 16):
I can think of a few places in Europe where I flew through last time where there wasn't a whiff of security. No metal detector, no interrogation, no baggage scanners - nothing. One was Corvo in the Azores - only a maximum of 6 flights a week, so fair enough, and another was Reykjavik City

I was about to quote Reykjavik as an airport I've passed through in recent years where there was no security whatsoever, but I see you beat me to it!! I have to say that I was very surprised that no one seemed to care that I was about to walk out onto the tarmac to board an F50 to Akureyri without at least wafting about my person with a hand-held! I think that was the first time for me since I started flying in 1979!



Ladies & gentlemen this is Captain Tobias Wilcock welcoming you aboard Coconut Airways flight 372 to Bridgetown Barb
User currently offlineWINGSOFMAN72 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 120 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3759 times:

I too do not remember when the full security started, but to old folks like us it was a real pain (not so bad in retrospect).

Back in the day when I was in MIA in college,-late 60's- you could walk the airport anywhere, anytime you wanted. The observation deck was wide open, and perimerter road was always full of spotters at the fence. I had a good friend woud would head up to MIA for anything, once at 230am we went up to MIA after we heard the first EA DC8-61 come in (never did see it). However, not much you can do about it now, we all have adjusted to the new reality.


User currently offlineOznznut From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 153 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3732 times:

I have an old picture of me walking across the ramp at Port Columbus (CMH) to a Lake Central DC-3 ( ! ) in 1965. A freshman in high school. Wearing a suit and tie, carrying my trusty .22 caliber single shot rifle with me! Yes, there were days before security. Just gave the rifle to the STEWARDESS, and she put it in the cockpit.

Dave


User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21528 posts, RR: 59
Reply 20, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3722 times:



Quoting PITIngres (Reply 1):
I think the DB Cooper episode in the early 70's might have kicked off some of the earlier security checks.

No, it was far worse than that. Bombings were regular domestically and abroad.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 11):
However in those days there were also quite a few lives and aircraft lost due to onboard bombs and other sabotage, even on domestic flights in the U.S. and Canada, which is much less likely to happen today.

Correct. Which only proves that the TSA and the screening is worthless and doesn't prevent anything.

Oh, wait, maybe it does prevent bombings and hijackings.

But that won't stop people from believing it doesn't if that's what they want to believe...  Wink



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineTrintocan From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2000, 3238 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3714 times:

I am reminded of the old days flying between POS and TAB up to the 1980s. There was simply no security so as to speak on domestic flights. Once one checked in, one simply took a seat in the waiting area until boarding and then once the flight was invited to board, one just walked out towards the plane (HS 748 or DC-9 depending on the day and flight). TAB's terminal was the tiny "cowshed" at the very western end of the runway and I remember it being very stuffy and always crowded with travellers and well-wishers seated on the many benches. No X-rays or anything of the sort. Those were introduced by the late 1980s for domestic flights - international flights from POS (TAB did not have international services until 1988) always had them.

TrinToCan.



Hop to it, fly for life!
User currently offlinePlaneguy727 From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1247 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3710 times:

In the early 80's I was living in ASP (the town, not the airport) and I don't remember any security. Of course with just a couple of Ansett & TAA flights a day back then not sure it was necessary.


I want to live in an old and converted 727...
User currently onlineMAH4546 From Sweden, joined Jan 2001, 32779 posts, RR: 72
Reply 23, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3703 times:



Quoting AS777 (Reply 15):
ANC does have Security for the Majors, but if you fly PenAir, Era, or Frontier(the biggest of the smallest) out of ANC to a bush community, or even FAI, there is no "going through security."

Same with the commuter terminal at FLL. No security checkpoints.



a.
User currently offlineEBGARN From Sweden, joined Jan 2008, 226 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3661 times:

Until 9/11, security was very relaxed in northern Europe on domestic flights. In Sweden the Airport Authority did random security checks on 25% of the domestic departures using mobile security equipment. I remember once in Visby (going to ARN, 1999 I believe) I ran into a security check. I noticed the minister of finance was right behind me and I asked the staff if my swiss army knife should go in the cockpit. But both the staff and the minister said something like "Nah... Don't bother about it".

I really miss those days. IIRC, there has never even been an attempt to hijack a domestic flight in Scandinavia, so maybe they could relax the security a bit



A306,A319/20/21,A332/3,A343/6,A380,B717,B727,B737,B744,B752/3,B763,B772/3/W,C-130,AN26,CRJ900,Il62,DC-8/9/10,MD80's,BaeR
25 AirCop : As late as 1995 I remember that one didn't clear security to fly United Express out of CEC. Been a few years, but I supposed that they now have non-s
26 Stratosphere : Up until 1987 flight crews and other airline employees pretty much went unchecked until the disgruntled former UsAir employee shot the pilots on PSA f
27 Indy : Does anyone know if this will ever happen again in the U.S.? Seems like a shame we can't now. Maybe leave it up to each individual airport? In a way
28 Jimbobjoe : Probably not. Not because it's a security problem in itself, but just so that they can lower the quantity of people who need to get checked. It's a r
29 Indy : What do you guys think of security passes that people can by for maybe $3.50 or $5 that covers their screening time and resources. Would be a nice way
30 PiedmontINT : I doubt it.. But there may be some exceptions. Doesn't PIT allow non-pax to go through security and enter the "Sky Mall" or whatever they call it? I
31 Iowaman : RST allows non-pax to go thru free of charge, to the gate areas or anywhere they please.
32 Post contains images SlovakFlight : Yeah...those were the days. 25 per cent of flights... I remember a domestic flight with SAS from ARN to GOT in the early 1990s. I over-heard the conv
33 Avi : Not really. In 1968 Palestinian terrorists had no problems at all to hijack an El-Al B707 to Algeria (not from Israel). Only then we woke up and unde
34 Post contains images Sampa737 : Maybe a little of topic but yesterday I watched the movie "Airport" for the first time in years. The little old lady walks up and tells the gate agent
35 WestWing : Sometime in the 90s I took some domestic flights in Norway and there were no security checks at all. This was before Gardermoen was fully built, Forn
36 RobertS975 : The other spot where security checks came early in the game was the UK and Ireland. Around 1974, I boarded an Aer Lingus BAC-111 GLA-DUB where as you
37 WestWing : I think it was immediately after TWA 800 when "foreign" terrorist activity was a strong contender for cause....
38 Columbia107 : I do recall in the early 70s whilst working at the Barclays Bank exchange bureau located within Gibraltar's airport terminal when the then BEA flight
39 Post contains images Okie : The joke at that time was: Passenger busts into cockpit and anounces he is hijacking the plane to Miami. Pilot responds this plane is scheduled to Mi
40 N1120A : Nope, he was correct about the Unabomber threat being the cause. Kazynski's threat also led to the infamous "questions" that proved nothing short of
41 Jhooper : I remember in the early 1990s flying on ASA out of DFW. The first few gates in terminal 4E were outside the sterile area and one only had to clear sec
42 Post contains images EUROBUS : I recall back in the late 70's at AGP how a photographer would come and take a photo of you descending from the plane to then send it to your hotel -a
43 Post contains images AirlineBrat : In 1980, I remember taking the subway and bus to LGA and spending the afternoon walking around the airport watching flights arrive and depart. I just
44 WarRI1 : I took my first commercial flight in 1956 out of PVD. there was nothing, you could go right out to the fence and watch, or go through the gate to boar
45 WarRI1 : I agree with you, it has to be doing something, the figures show it, I was bombed for defending the TSA in another thread.
46 Jimbobjoe : The TSA (and its pre-9/11 predecessors) are/were perfectly adequate in preventing the occasionally mentally ill, unplanned hijacker. Having the X-ray
47 Ordpark : I'm really showing my age here...but yes, many years ago (up until the late 60's, early 70's, you could wander through the terminals unmolested...I us
48 WarRI1 : A tough situation alright, but, unfortunately it is all we have, let us hope that whatever is keeping things moving safely continues whether it is lu
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