In the United States, the country's largest cities were placed on high alert and the National Guard was called in to increase security at New York City's two airports.
A United Nations agency was already reviewing airport security following the downing of a Russian airliner in Egypt by a makeshift soda-can bomb in October last year. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for smuggling the bomb on board.
But despite attacks like a suicide bomb at Moscow's Domodedovo airport's arrival hall in 2011 that killed 37 people, there has been less attention focused on how airports themselves are secured.
"It strikes me as strange that only half of the airport is secure. Surely the whole airport should be secure, from the minute you arrive in the car park," said Matthew Finn, managing director of independent aviation security consultants Augmentiq.
The relative openness of public airport areas in Western Europe contrasts with some in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, where travelers' documents and belongings are checked before they are allowed to enter the airport building.
In Turkey, passengers and bags are screened on entering the terminal and again after check-in. Moscow also checks people at terminal entrances.