Air Travel Security: Another Pointless Knee-Jerk Reaction

As worrisome as the NorthWest Airlines terrorist incident on Friday was, another rash of knee-jerk reactions has been unleashed on air travellers.

Specifically: no use of the toilets, no use of pillows or blankets and no leaving your seat for the last hour of a flight.

Plus – the skymap channel has to be removed from the entertainment system and the flight crew aren’t allowed to make comments about landmarks on the flight path.

Details here.

All because the terrorist went to the toilet and then used a blanket to cover up the attempted ignition of his bomb.

This is the ultimate in treating the symptom, not the cause.

If these measures were genuinely going to make us safer in the air I’d have no complaint.  None.

But please – this is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted and it won’t make us any safer at all.

It will just piss of travellers even more than they are already.

Terrorists are always going to come up with new ways of setting off explosives (they’ll go to the toilet one and a half hours before the end of the flight) and each new method they try will (if this logic is followed) result in more restrictions for airline passengers.

Soon we’ll be strapped into our seats from push back to gate arrival, and everything will have to be checked in – including computers, video cameras and other fragile items that don’t respond well to the baggage handlers’ delicate touch.

And to hell with Deep Vein Thrombosis and the advice to exercise and move around the cabin.

I’m not for one moment decrying the need for enhanced security, but let’s do it smartly.

Get security sorted out before boarding the aircraft.

Don’t make an already unpleasant experience (long haul air travel) even more miserable just because you don’t have the right bit of kit at the airport.

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