Authorities at Pittsburgh International Airport want travelers to know safety and security is their number one priority.
They hear people’s concerns and are doing everything in their power to make sure those coming in and out of the Steel City by air get to their destinations safely. Security is heightened in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Brussels. Officials can’t get into specifics as to how, but travelers will see more armed guards, police, and TSA workers.
This is something I learned first hand as I arrived at the airport Wednesday morning. Just minutes after setting up my equipment, I was approached by police officers and questioned about my activity.
Allegheny County Airport Authority spokesmen Bob Kerlik explains he forgot to tell security I was coming for the story, and what they did is very standard.
“Filming devices, things like that, the police are obviously going to ask questions about,” Kerlik said. “They’re going to look for anything out of the ordinary that they’ll see. They’ll talk to each other. They’ll talk to law enforcement, other agencies as well, to make sure things are covered here at the airport.”
This situation turned out to be a miscommunication between airport media relations and security, but shows just how vigilant security is as far as watching their surveillance cameras and being aware of their surroundings. And just one day after the terrorist attack at the Brussels airport other security measures are in place .
“We saw a lot yesterday with a lot of K9 units, and we’ll probably will see that throughout the week as well.” Kerlik added. “I don’t want to get into everything that the K9s can accomplish, but they have a wide set of skills.”
Walking around the airport for a short, it was very clear to see that security is increased, and some travelers say that it’s making them feel a little bit safer.
“I think especially when these unfortunate, very sad and unfortunate, situations occur, that security gets upped, and in fact it’s even safer to travel sometimes,” said Carolyn Weir Herman.
She had just landed in Pittsburgh from Boston.
That’s their goal: to calm everyone’s concerns and make traveling as safe and stress-free as possible.
“We know that people have been reassured, and they know that safety is a top priority here at PIT,” Kerlik says. “We also staff our information desk with information if anybody has questions or any airport employees are happy to answer questions as well. Basically, we accomplish that through visible law enforcement presence here at the airport.”
Domestic travel doesn’t seem to be a concern for most. It’s international that worries some, especially those traveling with kids.
Debra Brownfield is from Barnesville. She was at PIT picking up son with her grandchildren. She says she thinks traveling abroad would be safe, but she’s unsure.
“Here in the United States I feel safe flying,” Brownfield said.
“Oh I feel very safe. I have four kids I was traveling with alone today. I didn’t know how that was going to go, but safety-wise I felt very safe and secure,” Herman said.
Right now, the only international flights out of PIT are to Canada and the Caribbean, but they will start their annual non-stop flight to Paris in May.