In this Travel With Val report, Time Warner Cable News' Valarie D’Elia looks at how airport security has changed 15 years since 9/11.

"Something that we kind of were unable to fathom could possibly happen to us and we needed to change immediately, so the Aviation Transportation Security Act came out,” says Phil Derner Jr., Safety Consultant at NYCAviation.

Prior to 9/11, passenger screening was the responsibility of the individual airlines. After, the Transportation Security Administration—TSA— a governmental body—was created and has since morphed into the Department of Homeland Security.

"People can't enter without having a boarding pass proving identification.” Derner Jr. says.

However, many travelers question just how effective the TSA is, in thwarting terror.

"It's a little filter that someone who wants to do us harm is just not going to want to go through,” Derner Jr. says.

Checkpoints are proving to be such a deterrent that, tragically, recent terror attacks are happening before security. In addition, these days, with the advent of ISIS, terror is not simply confined to airports.

"There's no more of a threat in air travel than there is anywhere out on the street," Derner Jr. says.

Recently, an unfounded terror scare at JFK illustrated just how edgy passengers are these days.

"The fact is we are in the safest time that aviation has seen. It's amazing the safety record that commercial air travel has these days,” Derner Jr., says.

As for an inflight incident, perhaps the most vulnerable time for passengers is the twenty minutes it takes before a flight at cruising altitude can make it back down on the ground.

"Flight attendants are trained for security work, they're for medical work, and they're even trained in firefighting,” Derner Jr. says.

And some of the new technology that can help out weed out the bad guys are programs, like TSA Pre-Check, are available to all travelers who pass a background screening.

"Everyone is so fixated on that checkpoint, but there's so much more than that. People are much safer than they realize,” Derner Jr. says.