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Flying safely?
Old 08-08-2006, 09:32 PM   #1
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Flying safely?

On CNBC just now there were some interviews with Federal Air Marshals who are complaining about TSA procedures that they say are endangering the public. I've got to agree with them on this one.

It's common knowledge in law enforcement, and some of the public I suspect, that when they revamped the Air Marshals program that the TSA managed to pick up every has been, wannabe and doofus S/A and manager floating around in the federal system. Not that everybody in TSA is a doofus, but they got more than their fair share. It seems that the doofuses (doofi?) in management are present in great number as evidenced by the CNBC story.

Prior to 9/11 the way we all flew while armed was to present our ID and travel orders at the ticket counter and fill out the airline's "LEO Traveling Armed" form. At the security checkpoint you had to present your ID and ticket, and depending on what city you were in either the security guard passed you through or had you wait until a police officer could come and verify your ID. Then, at the gate, you had to do it all over again with the gate agent. The GA was responsible for informing any armed LEO's of the identity and seat location of all other armed LEO on the flight, and then providing the form(s) to the captain who then had final "okey dokey" on anyone boarding armed. Usually the captain just okayed it, but every now and then one wanted to "greet" me. Like the time some winged demon cautioned me to "please don't shoot any holes in my aircraft" (I was dying to say "Cool, and please don't you augur this bad boy nose first into a cornfield somewhere").

Anybody in the vicinity of your checking in, walking through the terminal, standing in line at the gate or the aircraft door all knew you were the man.

You would think that this long after 9/11 that the TSA, DHS and the various airlines would have figured out a way to get Air Marshals on board the aircraft without all of the risk that a terrorist could identify them and mark them for attack and disarming. Yeah, right. According to the S/A's they just interviewed, there has been absolutely no change to the procedure from the pre-9/11 scenario that I described.

Guess I'm driving to my next vacation destination.
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-08-2006, 11:33 PM   #2
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Re: Flying safely?

Leo,

With respect to the craziness of US security in the air, even if ham-handed, I am dead certain that it has a positive effect.

If a crackpot knows that somebody in authority may be on the plane with a piece, even if said somebody may be as crazy as he is, I bet said crackpot thinks twice.

It has to be a deterrent.

Be of good cheer, and thanks for doing the job.

As it happens, I only fly in Canada these days. It has been a while since I flew south of the border. I am sure it is the same circus as before.


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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-08-2006, 11:46 PM   #3
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Re: Flying safely?

Quote:
If a crackpot knows that somebody in authority may be on the plane with a piece, even if said somebody may be as crazy as he is, I bet said crackpot thinks twice
Unfortunatly the problem and reason for Sky Marshalls isn't crazies and crackpots. It's multiple-man, well trained organized units with a single purpose and rehearsed plan.

That said, I think the original 9/11 guys pretty much ruined using airplanes a weapons for everybody else for a pretty long while, anyway

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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-09-2006, 07:59 AM   #4
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Re: Flying safely?

It still has to have a deterrent effect. One more obstacle to a successful crime.
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-09-2006, 09:49 AM   #5
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Re: Flying safely?

I hate the airport security procedures and I don't feel one bit safer when I fly. Besides, those procedures are not for your protection as a flyer; they are to protect the 20,000 folks in that huge office building on the ground. If it was only the 300 people on the plane they were worried about do you think the elaborate screening would still be used? What ever happened to the constitutional protection from unreasonable search and seizure? What ever happened to the presumption of innocence? I should be able to walk up to the gate with proof of citizenship (a passport) and board the plane. If they want to cavity search non-citizens, have at it but leave me the f**k alone!

End of rant ....

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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-09-2006, 01:30 PM   #6
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Re: Flying safely?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy
I hate the airport security procedures and I don't feel one bit safer when I fly. Besides, those procedures are not for your protection as a flyer; they are to protect the 20,000 folks in that huge office building on the ground.
True - but since I don't office in a high profile target anymore my main concern is not being the target but being on board the missile aimed at it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy
What ever happened to the constitutional protection from unreasonable search and seizure? What ever happened to the presumption of innocence? I should be able to walk up to the gate with proof of citizenship (a passport) and board the plane. If they want to cavity search non-citizens, have at it but leave me the f**k alone!
I hate the process because it is a pain in the butt and because I think that most of it is a waste of time, energy and money that could be better spent to achieve the object. The old way was a minor pain, but even then people were objecting to the legality. See this 1997 letter to then VP Al Gore http://www.epic.org/privacy/faa/airl...ty_letter.html complaining of Constitutional violations of the much less intrusive pre-9/11 practices.

As for the Constitutionality of it all, you can find plenty of examples going back through our history as a nation (and even before, under English Common Law) that makes exception for legitimate government interests. The same principle applies to why everyone in prisons, schools and some other government installations are subject to search without PC.
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-09-2006, 01:34 PM   #7
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Re: Flying safely?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy
... What ever happened to the constitutional protection from unreasonable search and seizure?* What ever happened to the presumption of innocence?* I should be able to walk up to the gate with proof of citizenship (a passport) and board the plane.* If they want to cavity search non-citizens, have at it but leave me the f**k alone!

* End of rant ....* Grumpy
Ditto Grumpy's sentiment. Flying is a PITA. Someone can have my seat.
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-09-2006, 01:34 PM   #8
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Re: Flying safely?

Quote:
It still has to have a deterrent effect. *One more obstacle to a successful crime.
If that's all it's for then it's a monumental waste. Lets have an unilimited number of safety nets everywhere all the time for everything. Just in case. Ya never know

They are not there as one more barrier to a successful crime. they aren't there to prevent terrorist *hijackings for political reasons.
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-09-2006, 01:38 PM   #9
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Re: Flying safely?

Quote:
... What ever happened to the constitutional protection from unreasonable search and seizure? What ever happened to the presumption of innocence? I should be able to walk up to the gate with proof of citizenship (a passport) and board the plane. If they want to cavity search non-citizens, have at it but leave me the f**k alone!

End of rant .... Grumpy

Ditto Grumpy's sentiment. Flying is a PITA. Someone can have my seat
Actually, I don;t see the searching as unreasonable. Under the circumstances I, and I;m sure ed find them quire resonable.

BUT... flying is STILL a g/d pain in the ass and I won't subject myself to that level of crap. Like somebody said, if you have a problem with some people go after THEM. I am not a problem and there is no reason to suspect I am one.

But if I were a crazy I might have one more barrier to leap before I spork the fat lady next to me. yea, that's pretty cost effective.
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-10-2006, 07:22 AM   #10
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Re: Flying safely?

Flying safety/security procedures do not bother me. In fact, I like the idea, as long as they work. The British uncovering today of a plot to blow up 10 planes proves once again that it is necessary and now the security procedures will get even tougher. Since 9/11, things are different. We are all at risk everywhere, and especially on airplanes, since they seem to be a prime target for Al Queada. You do what you gotta do.
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-10-2006, 07:58 AM   #11
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Re: Flying safely?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle43
Flying safety/security* procedures do not bother me.* In fact, I like the idea, as long as they work.* The British uncovering today of a plot to blow up 10 planes proves once again that it is necessary and now the security procedures will get even tougher.* Since 9/11, things are different.* We are all at risk everywhere, and especially on airplanes, since they seem to be a prime target for Al Queada.* *You do what you gotta do.
Yes, this latest plot should remind everyone of the dangers we face in our world today. Security procedures are necessary. Having said that, I plan to see the country from my car.
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-10-2006, 08:25 AM   #12
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Re: Flying safely?

Despite these plots you are taking a much greater risk on the freeway on the way to the airport than you are in flying, even if there were NO security screening. Every flyer is significantly inconvenienced to address a threat that, statistically, is miniscule.

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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-10-2006, 08:54 AM   #13
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Re: Flying safely?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy
It still has to have a deterrent effect. One more obstacle to a successful crime.
I agree with Ed.
True. there are some questionable people working security for us - but there are good caring people out there and the systems being used are good & I believe improving. Compared to what we experienced in Europe, we are the gold standard - flaws and all. We take it much more seriously here. The Brits were the only ones I experienced that were close to us in security procedures.
The French, Spanish & Italians - more laid back and half-hearted.
I feel for the folks stuck at Heathrow - I will never go through that airport again - a big transfer headache on the best of days - Amsterdam and Iceland were much easier airports security also good.
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-10-2006, 09:42 AM   #14
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Re: Flying safely?

Looks like that behind the scenes there are people taking effective measures. Haven't heard the whole story, but sounds like the bad guys thought they had figured out a way around security by using some kind of security in gel or slurry form in innocuous containers. It's moments like this that the TSA people earn their pay - being able to go through every piece of luggage before it goes on a plane looking for specific targeted items (liquids).

Wonder if there are a lot of bottles of booze getting dumped out of carry-ons all across the country.
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-10-2006, 10:57 AM   #15
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Re: Flying safely?

Oh boy, this thread sure makes me feel better! I have not flown since 1994 and was extremely glad to get my feet back on ground then. I am flying to Chicago and back later this month (DD's boyfriend is graduating from Navy boot camp) and possibly flying to Hawaii in 12/06.

I will willingly go through whatever security procedures required and it will give me hope that my flight will be safer. I applaud everyone working to deter the terroists and criminals!
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-10-2006, 11:34 AM   #16
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Re: Flying safely?

I hear now they are also banning ALL HAND LUGGAGE (Reuters):
Quote:
"British Airways, acting on instruction from the UK Government, wishes to advise passengers that no items of hand baggage can be carried on board any aircraft departing any UK airport," the airline said in a statement.
No handbags. No cell phones.

"All liquids were banned on board except for essential medicines. Milk for babies would be allowed on board but must be tasted by the accompanying passenger"

What about diapers, Kleenex, your wallet, your contact lens solution?? Without a handbag, where are you supposed to put your money, your passport, your tickets, your hairbrush (lots of ladies' clothing has zero pockets)? The logical next step is making everyone get naked and putting them in hospital 'johnnies'.. a "liquid" could be concealed in a Ziploc or something worn under clothing. Ai yay yay..

I think we'll be seeing an upsurge in "air rage"...

Leaving for the US in a month.. For me not flying isn't an option; the QEII costs too damn much.
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-10-2006, 11:49 AM   #17
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Re: Flying safely?

Check out the BBC website for clarification of what is allowed. Diapers ok, lens boxes ok, lens solution not ok, kleenex ok, handkerchief ok.................

Don't panic - that's what the b******s want you to do.

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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-10-2006, 12:11 PM   #18
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Re: Flying safely?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IntoTheMystic
I feel for the folks stuck at Heathrow - I will never go through that airport again - a big transfer headache on the best of days - Amsterdam and Iceland were much easier airports security also good.
Icelandic security is a joke. I didn't have to show a single form of ID before boarding the plane. Gave the ticket lady my name, checked my luggage, got a boarding pass and proceeded right to the gate. I wasn't on a connecting flight either, we were there on vacation. This was in August of 2002.

But I'm sure everyone's got anecdotal evidence on the poor security at a particular airport. Short of making people travel naked and hand checking every item of luggage, I'm not so sure there's much one can do to prevent another attempt.
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-10-2006, 01:13 PM   #19
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Re: Flying safely?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
Wonder if there are a lot of bottles of booze getting dumped out of carry-ons all across the country.*
I showed my spouse this article and found her standing in the bathroom contemplating airline flying without toothpaste... or Bailey's.

If they're gonna make her fly under those conditions then I might just have to follow in a separate flight.
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Re: Flying safely?
Old 08-10-2006, 01:47 PM   #20
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Re: Flying safely?

ok FM.. but where would I put all my 'stuff'? Wallet, keys, glasses, Kleenex, passport, tickets, book/magazines (that's just the beginning -- the bare minimum) without a purse? To say nothing of breakable gifts like wine and olive oil I usually carry on.. I also usually take a change of underwear minimum in case my bags get lost.

Camera, videocamera? If I pack those, what about theft from luggage? Not uncommon; now they scold you if you leave your luggage locked.. I always lock it nonetheless.

Diapers ok, but.. where would you put them? You only have two hands. Guess you could get one of those "safari" vests with a lot of pockets, but then what's the big difference between that and a handbag? Wonder if they would allow it..

I understand the reasons, but IntoTheMystic is right, Heathrow has been a PITA for transfers for a long time. I never got why we were searched so many times when we'd never left the secure areas of the airport.

I'm not panicking.. flying Alitalia (not because they're great, but because they're the only ones who offer direct flights).
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