Flying over dangerous areas: a daily occurrence worldwide - FOX 32 News Chicago

Flying over dangerous areas: a daily occurrence worldwide

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Ukraine has been a hotspot of political and military unrest for several months. Airstrikes are common near its border with Russia.

Yet, dozens of commercial planes fly over the country every day. Many of them use the same flight pattern that the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 took.

"I think a lot of people are just not aware where they fly over. It’s not something people think about," said travel agent Gennady Podolsky.

Podolsky said there are surprisingly few restrictions when it comes to flying over the world's hot spots. He discovered this when he found himself flying over Iraq on a recent trip from Asia to Europe.

"For a minute I was concerned, but my assumption was the people who are flying the plane know what they are doing. I’m sure they thought about it," Podolsky said.

Right now there are 38 countries and regions on the U.S. State Department's list of travel warnings; this includes parts of Ukraine and Russia.

However, the only FAA air warning is for the Crimean region -- well south of Thursday’s attack.

Already a number of airlines including Delta, Lufthansa and KLM have announced they will no longer fly over Ukrainian airspace. A real-time map of air traffic over Europe also shows dramatically how planes are now steering clear of Ukraine.

Aviation analyst Glen Collins said even in war zones, both sides usually give commercial planes a pass.

"There’s something called an airspace coordination order that says okay, this aircraft is a Malaysian aircraft, it’s coming at this time and it will be at this altitude, it’ll be squawking this squawk code; and so that's how they decipher who is what in the air game," said Collins.

Podolsky, who was born in Ukraine, said he was surprised planes were still traveling in its airspace after recent reports of Ukrainian military crafts being shot down.

"When I saw the news, my first reaction was I can't believe somebody would actually bring a passenger aircraft over this area," Podolsky added.

Ukraine is a big country and travel experts say steering around it could add some time to international flights, as well as add to the fuel cost of the flight -- a small price to pay for safety.

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