9/11 -- St. Petersburg Times Special Report

Sunday, Sept. 1
  • Florida: Terror's launching pad
  • The 19 plotters and their day of terror
  • Remembering

    Monday, Sept. 2
  • When tragedy meets capitalism
  • '9/11 fatigue' is natural, mental health experts say

    Tuesday, Sept. 3
  • Coping as a kid
  • Eric Deggans: 9/11 documentary asks troubling questions about religion
  • Sept. 11 photograph exhibit opens

    Wednesday, Sept. 4
  • Millions in new funding don't guarantee security
  • Donations to local charities slow in months after attacks
  • Sept. 11 donations swamp charities
  • Bush to visit three attack sites on 9/11

    Thursday, Sept. 5
  • Attack anniversary is living history lesson
  • Trading fallback system improved
  • Future of site still beset by debate

    Friday, Sept. 6
  • Senate approves plan to allow armed pilots
  • Dream job becoming demoralizing
  • New plane doors would withstand gunfire
  • What ever happened to ... Those patriotic paint jobs?
  • The other 911
  • Consolidated for the cause

    Saturday, Sept. 7
  • In chaos, TIA tower controlled 9/11 skies
  • Congress, N.Y. reaffirm solidarity
  • Traveling can be nicer in rougher countries
  • For TIA workers, 'normal' not what it used to be
  • Airlines don't see relief over horizon
  • Terror only one blow to tourism
  • A year later, it's the home fires that burn brightly
  • Flying the flag

    Sunday, Sept. 8
  • 125 Cedar Street
  • The drama in Sarasota
  • Cautious, yes, but still traveling
  • As security increases, fervor fades
  • Rising risks
  • Finding lessons in rubble of tragedy
  • Public loss, private grief
  • Duty calls; he goes; they wait
  • Riled residents show true colors
  • Keeping her distance
  • Which way leads up?
  • For the record
  • 45 Questions
  • A lexicon of terror, post-9/11
  • Before attacks, this was the news
  • Other events on Sept. 11
  • Voice mail delivers, retains final words
  • Keeping us rolling
  • 9.11
  • How we'll view it

    Monday, Sept. 9
  • The residue of terror
  • Patriotism is more than emotion
  • What ever happened to . . .: Our religious fervor?
  • The nightmares return
  • Life has the right-of-way
  • Free to disagree
  • 'Time has not healed the pain'
  • Deputies to step up patrol for anniversary
  • Security upgrade since 9/11 slow, steady
  • Enthusiasm for PHCC's security classes dissipates
  • Teachers untangle Sept. 11 lessons
  • A bumpy year for business
  • The man who would have led Afghanistan
  • People who made the headlines

    Tuesday, Sept. 10
  • Multitude to gather to wave U.S. flags
  • Pictures evoke profound feelings
  • Attacks haven't boosted sales of cell phones
  • Schools discover ways to reflect on attacks
  • Flags still wave, but sales fall from peak
  • Three fathers lost
  • Telemarketers easing up on 9/11
  • Nuclear plant adds security layers to prevent terrorism
  • Cough, stress hinder emergency workers
  • Families of missing sit in limbo
  • Places of importance after the attacks

    Wednesday, Sept. 11
  • Remembrance and renewal
  • Flags Along the Bayshore: Tampa Remembers 9/11
  • Ways of remembering
  • A piece of paper . a blue and white truck
  • Is America ready for another attack?
  • Nation to honor victims in silence
  • Poll: Compassion remains
  • The war so far
  • Terror update
  • Attack on Iraq would test headquarters at MacDill
  • 09-11-01 Perspectives
  • Those who died in the attacks
  • Myriad rescue agencies trust their link won't fail
  • Photo gallery
  • (This Flash gallery requires the free Flash Player 5+.)

    Thursday, Sept. 12
  • Emotional service honors those who died selflessly
  • Elements of pride
  • Echo of 9/11 empties airport
  • A day full of tributes, flags and questions
  • Prayer, fellowship pull many through agonizing anniversary
  • Tributes great and small
  • Children in a changed world pause to reflect
  • Citrus recalls 9/11 with its heart
  • Marking the imponderable
  • Ministers assure that God was there that sorrowful day
  • Chime recalls a nation's losses
  • For law officers, day passes quietly
  • Residents gather to heal, remember
  • In big and small ways, our community pays tribute
  • Cities somberly mark Sept. 11
  • Patriotic display greets drivers
  • Day of grief, resolve
  • At county schools, remembrance resounds
  • Travel lags on attacks' anniversary
  • They were us
  • Americans worldwide cautious on anniversary
  • Radical Muslims discuss 'positive outcomes' of Sept. 11
  • Amid grief, Bush gives warning

  • printer version

    Traveling can be nicer in rougher countries

    Martin
    MARTIN
    E-mail:
    Click here

    Archive
    By SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN, Times Senior Correspondent

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published September 7, 2002


    It was with a certain degree of smugness that I read about U.S. airlines cracking down on oversize luggage.

    At one point, I was among those who couldn't go more than 1,000 miles from home without a gargantuan suitcase and enough clothes for every occasion, from high tea to slogging across the moors. I had a Samsonite so big that when I cleared out my London apartment it held everything but the sofa and TV.

    But in 1999, while covering the NATO war in Kosovo, I found myself in a guesthouse with a room so small I had to park my suitcase in the hall.

    Since then, I've gone to the opposite extreme luggage-wise. No matter where I'm headed or for how long, I carry only a small upright on wheels. The wardrobe staples never vary: If I'm going to Europe, I take black pants, black boots and a black leather jacket. If I'm going to the Middle East, I take long skirts, baggy tops and sandals.

    Okay, so I'll never make the pages of Vogue as an international trend-setter. But at least I don't have to stagger around with a leviathan piece of luggage and pay a U.S. airline $270 extra for the privilege of breaking my back.

    Don't get me wrong: I, too, am fed up with air travel in the United States. Thanks to deregulation, we have gone from generally terrific service at high prices to generally lousy service at a variety of prices, many of them high.

    Why can't America live up to Third World standards?!

    Yes, while in the Middle East and Central Asia, I've noticed that flying in what many consider a backward part of the world is often more pleasant than it is at home.

    Take security checks. No one would argue with the need for heighted security, especially after Sept. 11. But I empathize with all those female travelers in America who complain about being groped by male security guards. I remember how I felt last fall in Atlanta when I was ordered to unbuckle my belt and lift up my sweater while standing in front of dozens of other passengers, most of them men, as a male guard took a very long time waving a scanner up and down my body.

    You don't see this in Arab or other Muslim countries. Instead, women passengers step into a curtained booth where a female guard searches them. If they can do that in a decrepit airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, why can't they do that here?

    Meal service is another big difference. If you're on a U.S. flight less than several hours, forget about anything but a minuscule bag of snacks. Yet on a crowded, 45-minute flight from Islamabad, Pakistan, to Kabul recently, Pakistan International Airlines managed to serve everyone a delicious meal of lamb and curried rice. Nor was that the exception -- Gulf Air and Emirates also provide hot meals even on short hops across the Persian Gulf.

    Asian and Middle Eastern airlines also seem more sensitive to passengers' comfort. On the plane to Kabul, I was seated next to a stern-faced, bearded young man who looked like his last job might have been working for the Taliban. A female flight attendant politely asked me if I'd like to move. (I thanked her but said no, and he and I had a good time peering out the window as we flew over the mountains of Tora Bora, trying to spot Osama bin Laden's hideout.)

    When it comes to oversize and downright unusual baggage, Asian and Middle Eastern airlines also seem more tolerant than their U.S. counterparts. One reason, I imagine, is that so many of their passengers are foreign guest workers who like to go home with lots of presents, including bulky things like bedspreads and microwave ovens. A few weeks ago in Dubai, I went through the security check behind a man with a crate full of pigeons.

    And speaking of Dubai, the Persian Gulf city is home to Emirates, considered one of the world's best airlines. Even economy-class passengers get nice amenities, like hot towels, free newspapers and a cozy airport lounge where, for a small charge, you can check e-mail and enjoy a full buffet. And Emirates is confident, or concerned, enough about its service to ask passengers to fill out customer satisfaction surveys.

    Can you think of the last time any U.S. carriers asked about their service? Then again, they already know what we would say.

    -- Susan Martin can be contacted at susan@sptimes.com


    Back to main page
    Related coverage
  • Traveling can be nicer in rougher countries
  • Airlines don't see relief over horizon
  • Terror only one blow to tourism
  • In chaos, TIA tower controlled 9/11 skies
  • Congress, N.Y. reaffirm solidarity
  • For TIA workers, 'normal' not what it used to be