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Back From NYC… What A Drag…

I’m not about to jump into this debate with the same enthusiasim asPaul but being forced to check baggage for a one day trip to NYC is a pain. It added exactly two hours and 44 minutes to my trip. Had to check in earlier and then stand around waiting for baggage. Not such a long wait at JFK but a real pain in San Jose on the return.

This has to be having an impact on carriers’ revenue and tourism – especially to and from the UK. I’m the first to want to fly safe – but toothpaste, deoderant and saving creme in small quantities… come on. This does nothing to increase my sense of security – in fact it worsened it. With moves like this I really wonder if anyone has a real handle on airline security. At what price does this false sense of security come?

Finally there is the implementation. On the red eye out of San Jose there was no opportunity to buy fluids beyond security – and plenty of signs at the closed vendor stalls indicated you couldn’t take liquid on the plane. It was the complete opposite at JFK, making me wonder if this wasn’t more security theatre than anything.

Col. Larson said it best in The WSJ

“Foiling suicide passengers will require a new approach to security: psychological profiling; better identity verification systems; better technology to detect bombs in the cargo hold (not all of this cargo is checked luggage). The key is to invest in research and development, instead of rolling out systems that don’t work but inspire unrealistic expectations. We’ve seen enough of that since 9/11. We may remain vulnerable for a good while, but this is a fact of life. Knee-jerk reactions to last week’s headlines will make us no more secure. In fact, they will make us less secure by squandering valuable resources that could be put to better use.”

15 Responses

  1. By Jonathan Haber on August 24th, 2006 at 6:42 am

    The “Schneier on Security” blog (http://www.schneier.com/blog/) covers this and other secuirty topics on a daily basis. He’s often gets comments along the lines of “Stop criticizing stuff; tell us what we should do.” His answer is that counterterrorism is most effective when it doesn’t make arbitrary assumptions about the terrorists’ plans. Stop searching bags on the subways, and spend the money on 1) intelligence and investigation — stopping the terrorists regardless of what their plans are, and 2) emergency response — lessening the impact of a terrorist attack, regardless of what the plans are. Countermeasures that defend against particular targets, or assume particular tactics, or cause the terrorists to make insignificant modifications in their plans, or that surveil the entire population looking for the few terrorists, are largely not worth it.

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  2. By Phil Gomes on August 24th, 2006 at 7:20 am

    I’m in NYC right now, having flown in from El Lay.

    Good news… No difficulty w/ my carry-ons. Didn’t have to check baggage. Got to Manhattan on time.

    Bad news… I lost my toothpaste and some OTC medication.

  3. By Neville Hobson on August 25th, 2006 at 1:07 am

    I was in NYC earlier this week, flew in/out of JFK. International flight (KLM, Amsterdam) and those flights are the ones that have the most security/restrictions.

    No issues with carry-on, and checking baggage took about five minutes. Bottleneck at the passenger scanner, though, lots of confusion as to what you have to do (take shoes off, etc). Other than that, you wouldn’t really notice any difference to how things were pre-August 10.

    But if the cabin restrictions on liquids continue, the airlines need to sort something out quick re providing passengers with the water, etc, they’d normally bring on board. Those little plastic glasses of water won’t cut it on a long transatlantic flight.

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