Despite warnings about possible danger while traveling abroad, many people passing through Manchester-Boston Regional Airport yesterday said they are not worried about flying.
Although the airport does not have any international flights, several dozen people interviewed while either leaving or returning to Southern New Hampshire said the terrorism alerts issued by the United States, Britain, Japan and Sweden in the last few days are of little concern.
Even if they were flying to Europe, where security has been tightened in places such as Paris, those interviewed said one can't be afraid to board an airplane despite the terrorist attacks on the United States nearly a decade ago.
Instead of worrying, "I just travel," said Jack Steenbeek of Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
Steenbeek, who flies to this country about five times a year, was traveling to New York and then California for business after stopping in Andover.
Steenbeek said he will return to the Netherlands on Saturday, despite the latest alerts as European authorities try to raise public awareness about the threats without causing panic.
After visiting their son and brother at Fort Hood in Texas, the Begin family of Windham also said they aren't too concerned about the travel advisories.
"If anything happens, it happens," Ray Begin said. "Security seems pretty good and we were screened pretty well."
Begin, his wife, Pamela, their daughter, Erica, 18, and son Colin, 15, had just returned from Texas, where they were visiting Army Pvt. Shane Begin, 20, before he is deployed to Afghanistan within the next few weeks.
Ray Begin said people should not travel in fear of what could happen.
"You can't go around worrying about it," he said.
Many other travelers agreed that while people need to be cautious, they can't let an alert dictate their lives.
"Does anyone even look at it?" Chris Rickey of Fremont said of the alerts.
"You just need to be careful where you go," said Tom Rossman of Manchester.
"I think about it, but I'm not worried about it," said Elizabeth Holloran of Nashua, who waited in the baggage claim area with her parents.
Jackie Moran of Sanford, Maine, who was returning from Orlando, Fla., where she took a trip with her daughter and several others, said they are not bothered by the alerts.
"We're never afraid of flying," she said. "We talked about it, but we're not afraid."
Manchester-Boston Regional Airport spokesman Thomas Malafronte said no major precautions are being taken at the airport in the wake of the alerts, especially since they only pertain to Europe.
"We are basically telling airlines to just increase vigilance," he said. "There are no real changes here."
Only one of several dozen people interviewed said she was worried about the alerts, but declined to give her name.
"It bothers you," the Nashua woman said. "You have to be more vigilant."
The U.S. State Department's alert Sunday advised the hundreds of thousands of American citizens living or traveling in Europe to take more precautions for their personal security.
Britain's Foreign Office warned travelers to France and Germany that the terror threat there was high. Sweden's Foreign Ministry did not single out any particular countries in its message.
The public concerns intensified after a Pakistani intelligence official said last week that eight Germans and two British brothers were responsible for an al-Qaida-linked terror plot against European cities.
Security officials said terrorists might be plotting attacks in Europe with assault weapons on public places, similar to the deadly 2008 shooting spree in Mumbai, India. European officials have provided no details about specific targets.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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