What does the worldwide travel alert mean for Acadiana?

Photo Credit: KLFY

Increased terror threats have prompted the U.S. State Department to issue a worldwide travel alert.

It comes just ahead of the busy holiday travel season.

In just a few hours the airport will be buzzing as folks start heading out to see friends and family for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The statement issued late Monday asks U.S citizens to be aware of their immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds if possible.

Officials also urge citizens to exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.

Travelers at Lafayette Regional Airport are taking the warning seriously.

“I’m more aware of my surroundings, knowing where different exits are and getting to the airport early,”  Zachary Hebert told KLFY’s Kellie Brown.

Diane Cramatie said she is paying attention to, “people in certain situations around me. Like I said, holding on close to my bag.”

Another traveler, Stephen Richardson added, “If you notice something suspicious, report it.”

While this alert isn’t based on a specific threat, these types of warnings don’t come often.

In fact, it’s only happened four times in the past five years.

One of the most memorable was after Osama Bin Laden was killed in May 2011.

Some believe it may create a sense of fear for Americans.

“It’s going to make a lot of people panic so, but it’s for the best, better safe than sorry,” Cordario Despanie said.

Airport officials are asking anyone who’s planning to fly out to get a head start before taking off.

Lafayette Regional Airport Director Steven Picou recommends travelers to “Contact your airline, get here early make sure you’re prepared for long lines. Continue to just be prepared have all of your items packed according to TSA rules and regulations.”

There’s been no official word on how long the alert will last or when it will be lifted.

With recent terror attacks in Paris and Mali, the State Department says it’s likely the attacks will continue.

The State Department says the travel alert isn’t meant to deter Americans from traveling but to warn those who are to be aware of the risks during this time.

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