US Airline Security

The Herald reports:

Airline passengers to the United States will be isolated from other travellers at Auckland Airport and face a rigorous second set of security checks following the suspected terrorist attack on a Christmas Day flight to the US. …

The Aviation Security Service’s northern regional manager, Peter Pilley, said passengers should allow an extra hour before the departure time for their flight.

He advised people to take as little carry-on luggage as possible to speed the process.

The TSA directive also says passengers must remain seated for the final hour of their US-bound flight and are not allowed access to carry-on baggage or to have any items on their laps.

Eric Crampton is not impressed:

Can we reject the null hypothesis that Osama’s crew have agents inside the TSA and that their whole objective is to give these agents reasons to make travelers’ lives hell?

Heh. Not impossible. He quotes other bloggers:

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 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.

9/11 did change everything. Passengers will take action now – even take on armed hostiles, rather than let them gain control of a plane. Crampton comments:

Only two things have made flying safer [since 9/11]: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers.

He offers three theories for the new flight restrictions:

  1. The TSA are in it with the terrorists to create maximum inconvenience for travelers and augment the TSA budget
  2. The TSA are complete idiots
  3. There’s nothing the TSA can really do, but idiots demand they do something and the only something that passengers can observe is how much they’re being inconvenienced?

I agree with Eric that (3) is marginally the most likely.

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