After being born in Frankfurt (that would be Germany, not Kentucky), Jay's family moved to Vandalia, Ohio where Jay spent his time learning to play the greatest game ever (baseball), by smacking the daylights out of fastballs from his next door neighbor Roger Clemens. (Disclaimer: At 9 years of age, this would have been a pre-steroid era.)
During his high school years at Carlisle High School, Jay spent most of his free time at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Center helping his Dad to build the condominiums at the course for a variety of Cincinnati sport's legends like Nancy Lopez, Ross Browner, Tom Seaver and others. In 1981 he watched his father build the ATP Tennis Stadium for the likes of Connors, McEnroe, Lendl and Borg.
Jay's passion for baseball continued thru 1983 when he was invited to tryout for the 1984 US Olympic Baseball Team. A torn hamstring six weeks before the tryouts ended his baseball dream. (He was able to write about the greatest game ever played for Reader's Digest, winning their Editor's Choice award and having it read by more than 88 million people worldwide.)
It was then Jay's attention turned towards the airline industry, where he loved the daily challenges of cancelled flights, delayed luggage (they weren't referred to as 'lost' until they were MIA for 90 days), weather problems and the always-wonderful Sunday after Thanksgiving! Cities Jay worked at included Monroe (LA), Florence (AL), Cincinnati, and Dayton. It was also during these years Jay was able to serve as the Travel Coordinator for the Detroit Lions - spending his Sunday afternoons on the NFL sidelines!
Jay continues that adrenaline rush by educating travelers with information specifically designed to help them find the cheapest of fares, resolve complaints, and having multiple options when flights are cancelled.
Jay lives in the Dayton area with his wife, Sherry and their two boys, and his older daughters serve as nurses to Dayton area hospitals.
If you have any questions, you can contact Jay through his Day Trading website - he is an avid Day Trader and teaches others on his system. (www.daytradefun.com)
Mornings on Jim Scott's show
I recall thinking those words as the attacks of 9/11 unfolded, in part because we had been warned of a looming attack against commercial aviation for the better part of 12 months.
The FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration continued to provide updates as to the increasing threat level, which seemed to spike in February and August of 2001. Intelligence reports had been released and the portion made available to our team suggested an attack of “an unprecedented nature” was being planned and U.S. airlines were going to be targeted.
At the time our biggest concern was checked luggage. The public, for the most part, was completely unaware that their bags were not subjected to screening of any kind before being placed onto their flight. From the inside of the airport, passengers were subjected to security questions as they checked in (made necessary because of the Pan Am crash over Lockerbie) and the latest technology at the airport screening checkpoints. It was all about safety and security and the traveling public felt as though they were secure.
The fear was someone could check in for a flight with an explosive packed inside their checked luggage. Once the flight was in the air, a timer or an altitude trigger could set the bomb off, causing the flight to explode. The biggest fear was multiple suicide bombers could board flights across the country and all at once we would have 10, 15 or even 40 flights falling from the sky within a 10 minute span of time. Given the fact that at any given time more than 5,000 aircraft are flying above the United States, it was a plausible scenario and one that terrified us.
The FAA never addressed the gaping hole in our security net, as they continued to manage the “perception” of security more than security itself. Passengers thought their bags were being screened and that was good enough, since the expense and inconvenience of screening every single checked bag for every flight was simply a matter the FAA refused to address.
All of that changed after the attacks of 9/11, when the traveling public began to learn of the fact their checked bags were not being screened. It’s amazing how quickly public reaction can reverse a position of a government agency, as travelers demanded that their bags be checked - just as they were - prior to departure.
Our second biggest concern was the easy access terrorist had to shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile launchers. There was absolutely no defense for someone positioned a short distance from an airport runway firing a missile at a fully fueled jumbo jet seconds after takeoff. The terror aftermath of such an attack would be nearly insurmountable.
When the plane hit the second tower, the prevailing thought was “It happened.” We knew we were under attack and also knew it was bin laden who was responsible. All of the intelligence reports pointed towards an attack of spectacular means before the end of the year and that was what was unfolding before our very eyes. The third thing we knew was more flights would be involved in the attack that day, which is what led to the unprecedented grounding of a nation’s entire air travel system. A gusty call, by the way, and one which was desperately needed.
The attacks of 9/11 were not the fault of airport screeners. The box cutters used by the terrorists to gain control of the aircraft were items the FAA allowed through security at that time. As long as the blade did not exceed four inches, it was permitted through the security checkpoint. This is one of the things which drove me crazy in the days following 9/11 when the FAA posted armed guards at security checkpoints around the country. The idea was (once again) to make people feel secure, even though no actual improvements to safety had yet to be made.
There was also no fault in my mind pointed at the airline crews of the four flights hijacked that day. The FAA and their airlines had carefully thought-out security protocols anytime a flight was hijacked. The passive approach was to be taken, allowing the hijackers to exert control over the aircraft, from a destination standpoint. Crews were instructed to abide by the demands of the hijackers in order to protect the lives of the passengers onboard.
Obviously following 9/11 those protocols were rewritten and now the flight deck is barricaded and the door is not to be open, regardless of what may be happening to the flight attendants or passengers. The reality that the plane could be used as an instrument of terror makes the decisions of the flight crew clear, even though they would be hard to make.
The attacks of that September day also changed the way passengers react during an in-flight emergency. Prior to 9/11 passengers were reluctant to get involved when a fellow passenger caused a disturbance or was threatening the aircraft with verbal or physical threats. Now, we see a passenger acting up on a flight and as many as 20-30 fellow passengers rush to the aide of the flight attendants, to help control the situation. A perfect example of this could be seen when the Jet Blue captain had to be kept out of the cockpit, during his recent mental breakdown. Scores of passengers rushed to assist the flight attendants as they tried to keep the captain from the controls of his aircraft.
Much has changed and much will continue to change as we move forward. What I hope will not change is our memories of that horrible day in September. I hope we call remember the lives lost that day and honor each by striving to improve airline safety for the hundreds of millions who take to the skies in America each year.
We owe that to each person we lost on September 11, 2001.