HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The US State Department on Sunday issued an alert for Americans traveling to Europe about the potential for terrorist attacks there. It's the first time in recent memory that the State Department has sent out an alert for an entire continent due to security concerns.
At the Honolulu International Airport, travelers were busy checking in for their flights and getting their bags screened.
"I take American Airlines to London and then British Airways to Qatar," Gene Lobrecht, Texas resident, said. "You're always concerned about any potential attack, but I fly this route all the time and I know that the airlines take all the precautions to keep their passengers safe."
According to State Department officials, al-Qaida and other terrorist groups continue to plot attacks, and may target public transportation systems and popular tourist attractions in Europe.
"I think it's a serious concern and one that I would think any reasonable person would have in the back of their mind," Joseph Helm, Wisconsin resident, said.
Helm and his wife were planning to go to Italy for their anniversary, but switched to a Hawaiian vacation instead.
"I was really glad that we didn't go to Rome because it does make you think twice before going to the typical tourist places because I was listening to that about Paris and the Eiffel Tower and the threats," Lana Lee Helm, Wisconsin resident, said.
The alert is a step below a travel warning, which would discourage Americans from visiting Europe at all. Travelers are being advised to register their plans with the US Embassy and be aware of their surroundings when going abroad.
"You do think about all the wonderful places we can go right in the United States where we do feel safer than going overseas where sometimes the security isn't as good as it is here," Lana Lee Helm said.
The travel alert is set to expire on January 31, 2011.