In the wake of the terrorism attempt Friday on a Northwest Airlines flight, federal officials on Saturday imposed new restrictions on travelers that could lengthen lines at airports and limit the ability of international passengers to move about an airplane. ...
... several airlines released detailed information about the restrictions, saying that passengers on international flights coming to the United States will apparently have to remain in their seats for the last hour of a flight without any personal items on their laps. It was not clear how often the rule would affect domestic flights.
Overseas passengers will be restricted to only one carry-on item, and domestic passengers will probably face longer security lines. That was already the case in some airports Saturday, in the United States and overseas.
On its Web site, American Airlines said the T.S.A. had ordered new measures for flights departing from foreign locations to the United States, including mandatory screening of all passengers at airport gates during the boarding process. All carry-on items would be screened at security checkpoints and again at boarding, the airline said. It urged passengers to leave extra time for screening and boarding.
In effect, the restrictions mean that passengers on flights of 90 minutes or less would most likely not be able to leave their seats at all, since airlines do not allow passengers to walk around the cabin while a plane is climbing to its cruising altitude.
Of course, none of these new restrictions would have impeded the bomber. He was fine with staying in his seat. To the contrary, it was the passenger who subdued the bomber that left his seat. Extra screening of carry on luggage would have been no problem for the bomber, since the bomber had the bomb sewn into his underwear.
Seems to me that what this, Flight 93, and the Richard Reid incident have shown us is that the best line of defense against airplane-based terrorism is us. Alert, aware, informed passengers.
TSA, on the other hand, equates hassle with safety. For all the crap they put us through, this guy still got some sort of explosive material on the plane from Amsterdam. He was stopped by law-abiding passengers. So TSA responds to all of this by . . . announcing plans to hassle law-abiding U.S. passengers even more.
If you’re really cynical, you could make a good argument that they’re really only interested in the appearance of safety. They’ve simply concluded that the more difficult they make your flight, the safer you’ll feel. Never mind if any of the theatrics actually work.
We’re simply going to make people miserable for no apparent reason. There have been precisely three attempts over the last eight years to commit acts of terrorism aboard commercial aircraft. All of them clownishly inept and easily thwarted by the passengers. How many tens of thousands of flights have been incident free? And, yet, we’re going to make hundreds of thousands of people endure transcontinental flights without reading materials or the ability to use the restroom?
At least for domestic flights, we have the ability as consumers to tell TSA to stick it and just drive. More of us are making that choice all the time. But there’s no real alternative to flight for overseas travel.
Has TSA ever considered the possibility that maybe the terrorists aren't really interested in blowing up a plane. Maybe the terrorists figure they win everytime we in the West spend millions of man-hours being hassled, inconvenienced, and generally put upon by a myriad of stupid security measures.
So here's my question: When are we going to rebel and demand a sensible set of precautions?