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Looking back to how 9/11 changed air travel forever

Traveling by plane hasn't looked the same since the attacks of September 11th, but since then, rules have changed to keep us safe when as fly.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Traveling by plane hasn't looked the same since the attacks of September 11th, but since then, rules have changed to keep us safe when as fly.

"I knew that it was going to change aviation forever," Harry Barrett, pilot and owner of Barrett Aviation, said. "Of course, they immediately shut all flying down, and we were grounded for about a month."

What used to be normal before 9/11 would never fly by today's airport standards.

"We used to be able to take people over to the terminal, drop them off to catch a flight," Barrett said. "Can't do that anymore, so it was very, very convenient back then."

But it's not just rules for the small craft pilots like Barrett that have changed – if you've flown in the past 20 years, you know what the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)  is.

"They used to come and pick me up at the terminal. I would grab my nieces or twins and we'd go off and start our trip... and, no more," Patricia Mancha, spokesperson for the Arkansas branch of the TSA, said.

She said a lot changed immediately after 9/11, but even more changed over the last two decades.

"There's not just one thing you can point to to say, 'this is the one thing we've done,'" Mancha said.

But all of it was done with passenger safety in mind – and much of it was done in response to other issues.

"We had somebody who tried to bring on liquid explosives in a soda bottle, so then the 3.4 ounces," she said. "So there's a reason for all the things we do."

Even Barrett, who doesn't fly out of larger airports like Clinton National still see's the changes.

"More restrictions, more paperwork, but we can deal with it," he said. "We've dealt with it for 20 years now, so it's something we've grown used to."

So while air travel doesn't look anywhere near the same as it did 20 years ago – maybe that's a good thing.

"But ultimately, it all just comes down to ensuring that we don't let down our guard," Mancha said. "And work to try to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again."