Security lines were so long that passengers were
forced to queue up outside the terminal
at Amsterdam Schiphol airport yesterday.
Jodi Syens, of Holland, Mich., her husband, Marvin, and daughter Rachel were aboard a flight from London that arrived in Detroit several hours behind schedule Sunday. The Syens, who had arrived at Heathrow Airport three-and-a-half hours before their flight, said passengers were taken by their aircraft rows up to the gate, where carry-on bags were thoroughly checked and the travelers were patted down.Uh-oh. Already up to three and a half hours. I'm betting that after the next incident it will be five hours.
Henry Chen, 48, a businessman who lives in San Francisco, said he was shocked to have a female flight attendant barge in on him in the restroom while he was washing his face during a flight from Seoul. “It was kind of weird, to have a lady try to get in,” he said. “She said that they had to watch people being in the restroom too long.” ...
Joel Barnes and Bryan Duncan, both 27, were sitting in a Starbucks at Los Angeles International Airport, after a 13-hour flight from Brisbane, Australia. They were awaiting the arrival of a friend who had sent them a text message to alert them that his flight from Vancouver had been delayed for two hours because of heightened security measures at the airport there.
The men said their armpits and shoes had been searched before they boarded their flight, and Mr. Barnes said, “They rubbed their hands on the soles of our feet.”
Sort of a free massage, like I have read is part of the service in the front cabin on Virgin Atlantic. Who says flying isn't fun anymore?
They also recounted how an hour before landing an announcement had been made that no one could get up for the remainder of the flight.
“It was kind of funny,” Mr. Barnes said, “because the previous announcement had been about the danger of deep-vein thrombosis or strombosis or whatever you get from sitting for too long. We laughed.” ...
International travelers were also told that they could not leave their seats for the last hour of a flight, during which time they also could not use a pillow or blanket. They were also limited to one piece of carry-on baggage, including a purse or briefcase, and that piece had to be stowed in an overhead compartment for the last hour of a flight.
Airlines were ordered to turn off in-flight entertainment systems with maps showing a plane’s location, and pilots and flight crews were told not to make comments about cities or landmarks below the flight path.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. You may have noticed that the flight-progress map channel has been disabled. I can't tell you where we are or how long it will be before we reach our destination. For your comfort and safety, you will be bound to your seat for the remainder of the flight. If you need to use the restroom, ring for a flight attendant who will accompany you. This is only temporary till we retrofit all our aircraft with lavatory cameras. All window shades must be in the closed position. Thank you for your cooperation, and enjoy the rest of the flight. You will be notified when we have landed."
The mood of the passengers yesterday doesn't bear thinking on. But at least those whose responses were deemed news fit to print by the paper of record seem to have accepted it as necessary:
“Everyone just accepted that that’s what you have to do,” Ms. Woodhouse said. Paul Bidwell, her traveling companion and a fellow high school teacher, said: “I’m quite happy for them to do it. It’s peace of mind for everyone.” Priya Prasad, 32, an administrative assistant who lives in Oakland, Calif., said she was annoyed by the extra hour it took her to get through security when she boarded a flight in Mumbai. “They’re being extra cautious, which I guess is fine,” she said. “But I don’t understand what it is they’re looking for. They went through my bag three times, and still I got my scissors and tweezers on the plane.”
Wherefore is this degrading security process necessary? Because the alternative is a Forbidden Thought. It involves treating passengers unequally. It involves profiling (which doesn't mean, when done right, anything as simplistic as focusing only on people with Arabic names or coming from Muslim countries). The alternative is recognizing that Islam is at war -- mostly a "cold" war, through immigration and birth rates, but partly a "hot" war -- with those lands still in Dar-al-Harb.
Our passengers who are so naive as to imagine that all this extra patting-down and restroom exclusion means "peace of mind" for everyone, who whinge about being treated ill but accept it so as to avoid offending the enemy, don't deserve liberty. Even without officially living under the Crescent, they have made themselves into dhimmis.
12.29 We're possibly all getting a little tired of reading about the controversy surrounding the "suspect," Mr. Abdulmutallab, whose underwear is temporarily more in the public eye than Madonna's. But I cannot let pass the article in the Washington Post by Margaret Talev, who is indignant that Senator Jim DeMint is holding up the vote on a nominee for TSA Administrator because of his opposition to unionizing the TSA.
While it's arguable that our security agency couldn't devolve into anything more slipshod than it already is, he is correct that a Latex Glove Workers union is a bad idea. I'm not anti-union in general -- it's fine for bolt-tighteners and truck drivers. But public employees are (or should be) professionals, not nest builders.
A good part of the fumbling that has been associated with the TSA since day 1 is that it is run by a lumpenproletariat on the front lines answering to bureaucrats, probably mostly politically connected, above them. It can't be said too often: if we are serious about protecting the flying public, like everyone from the president to his dog insists we are, then we should be staffing the TSA with professionals on a par with airline pilots. People like they have doing the job in Israel.
Expensive? Of course. Things that work right often are. But I bet it could be done with a drop of the money we are spending to keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in business, when they should be discontinued.