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Old 01-02-2010, 08:04 PM   #101
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We flew back from Hong Kong to San Francisco yesterday and had to go through the pat down search. Truthfully it's a minor pain but I am not going to let it change my life plans. As to remaining seated the last hour of the flight, we had the seat belt signs on for the last hour however we did have quite a lot of turbulence on the flight. As to flying over populated areas, you only have to look out the window to be able to work out the difference between water and land. Also the inflight entertainment system tells you how long you have until arrival down to the minute.

However, the most stressful side of any flight we normally have is in the US due to the long lines to get thru security. Combine that with the attitude of TSA employees and you are guaranteed to have a bad start to your trip. We were trying to work out why the lines are so long in the US and we conclude it's because everyone in the US travels like a pack horse with their 14 carry-ons. I don't recall anywhere except for the US that requires you to take your shoes off to go through security.

As to the pat down search, the search we had in Hong Kong was respectful as a pat down search can be. All female travellers are given a search by a female employee. When I lived in Pakistan 20+ years ago every single time I travelled I was selected for the full pat down and believe me there was nothing respectful about it, it was designed to be humiliating for the white female.

For me the issue lies with these would be terrorists not being able to even make it to a security check point. In each case the relevant authorities had the information at hand but were unable to join the dots.
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:05 PM   #102
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As a crew member having gone thru security 18 times a month for the last upteen years (it wasn't any easier for us), my wife now has to point a gun at my head to travel by air.
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:12 PM   #103
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As a crew member having gone thru security 18 times a month for the last upteen years (it wasn't any easier for us), my wife now has to point a gun at my head to travel by air.
Well, I'm glad to hear another obviously seasoned traveler who has "had it" with air travel. And I suspect it's not from one incident or even a few incidents. For me it has been a cumulative wear and tear.

I can see folks who travel once a year or for the first time or two, putting up with it cause they are just tickled pink to get on that big bird. But once that thrill is gone, it's now just a means of getting from Los Angeles to Paris for me. If I can get there any other way, that will be my choice.

BTW, we submit to TSA supreme authority as if we are cattle. We keep our mouth shut, move when they tell us to move, stop, bend, shuffle, allow ourselves to be stripped, yield up anything they tell us we must, answer questions without a lawyer present, etx. Come on, is there no Bill of Rights?
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Old 01-02-2010, 10:25 PM   #104
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I view " leisure travel" as just another consumer good. Few of us have the language or cultural skills and knowledge to really know what is going on in the foreign places we visit.

So if the searches are unpleasant, why go? Few of us have gone to all the major museums in the US, seen all the major architectual monuments, eaten all the regional food, so to me it's like any other consumer experience or good- nothing special or uplifting, just another way to entertain oneslf and spend money.

I will travel abroad to see special things, and I do fly in the US, though I hated it long before all the searches began. Unless the flight is very short, it is just uncomfortable.

I travel mostly to visit family or friends. If I lived in some crappy place, I would likely travel more for sightseeing type vacations.

Ha
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Old 01-02-2010, 11:19 PM   #105
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The RV option for domestic travel looks better and better.
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Old 01-02-2010, 11:56 PM   #106
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Ha, truthfully for us it is not about the journey but all about the destination. I hate the whole flying thing with a passion, the pain of wasting time driving to the airport thru to being cooped up in a tin cylinder with all these people I don't know and don't really want to know. DH has a dream that one day that as we board they will knock us out with an injection and wake us up as we touch down at our destination and that would suit us fine.

I don't think many of our most enjoyable travel experiences could be duplicated domestically. I am not a big museum/art gallery fan, for me the thing I enjoy most about being in foreign locations is walking around and observing, soaking up the local culture and eating their food. Sure I don't really know what is going on or what they are saying about me and in many places I am certain I have been ripped off but I really don't care. I love walking around in a historic city in Europe and just stopping to look up at the buildings. Walking around Rome and seeing the Coliseum and imagining what it was like in Rome when it was built. It's the atmosphere, the noises, the smells of a place that can't be replicated and make reality so unlike what we see on travel programs.
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Old 01-03-2010, 02:33 PM   #107
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Dangermouse, I agree with your comments and we gave up museums about 20 years ago (unless it's a must see) and we like wandering the streets and finding the real essence of the city, not the facade for tourists.

Our travel for the last several years has been 1 long vacation (2-3 month) in either Europe or SE Asia and 4-5 trips to Europe or Asia of 1-2 weeks each. We are seriously not happy with flying right now and are evaluating whether a 3 month stay in Europe in the Spring and a 3 month stay in Asia in the Fall might not be a better option.

Less international flight hassles and short hop European and Asia flights are easy and cheap.

Oh well.

And it continues: Slight Inconvenience
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:13 PM   #108
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Zero, if I had the option I would probably do the 2 three month stints in Asia/Europe. We find that the flying for a short vacation really does you in. The jetlag is horrendous unless you are one of the fortunate ones who can adapt quickly. With a 2 weeker you really need to be able to hit the ground running. Internal flights in Asia etc. seem to be much easier than in the US. I went to Vietnam this year and I was amazed at how efficient the domestic airlines were. We flew Jetstar Pacific, and no kidding those babies landed, they bused the passengers to the tournament, swung by and picked us up and we were off in the air within 30 minutes of the plane touching down.

Have to say you make me envious, I would love to be planning those trips that you are taking. I would say that once again we should be able to take advantage of cut price airfares in 2010.
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:37 PM   #109
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Dangermouse, I know this is not the proper thread topic but were the airlines in Vietnam staffed with English speaking ticketing and boarding personell? Just curious if there are any issues getting information or directions. I plan to travel without pre-booking anything. Just ad lib it.

I traveled in Thailand quite a bit but always missed not getting to Viet Nam. So thinking about a South China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand trip with 3 weeks each place.

In keeping with the thread, it appears that hundreds of passengers are stuck in Newark Airport because one man accidently made a wrong turn in the airport. Think of all those missed connections, possible strandings, missed hotel bookings, etc. Yep, flying has become a bit annoying.
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:45 PM   #110
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This guy got through. How many tried but were caught? 3 or 3,000? Knowing that would tell us a lot about how effective the system is.
Here's some semi-meaningless statistics for you. The True Odds of Airborne Terror Chart - Odds of Airborne Attacks - Gizmodo
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:52 PM   #111
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I particularly like Bruce's last comment in his recent blog post - Schneier on Security: Separating Explosives from the Detonator?

"Only one carry on? No electronics for the first hour of flight? I wish that, just once, some terrorist would try something that you can only foil by upgrading the passengers to first class and giving them free drinks."
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:58 PM   #112
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"Only one carry on? No electronics for the first hour of flight? I wish that, just once, some terrorist would try something that you can only foil by upgrading the passengers to first class and giving them free drinks."
I love it!!
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:06 PM   #113
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Wonder if the real goal of terrorists is not some massive destructive event, but a slow erosion of all our enjoyable pastimes?

Sort of slowly intimidate/infiltrate us and slowly make us so paranoid and without freedoms that we self-destruct
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:49 AM   #114
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Wonder if the real goal of terrorists is not some massive destructive event, but a slow erosion of all our enjoyable pastimes?

Sort of slowly intimidate/infiltrate us and slowly make us so paranoid and without freedoms that we self-destruct
I expect terrorists rather enjoy seeing all this reaction to the bombing attempt. All the finger pointing, blame games, rushed security changes and inconvenience of travelers.

Terrorism isnt' just blowing things up, but causing general fear. I suspect part of the goal is to create disruption and attempt to negatively affect economies and business. If people stop flying because of all this and the airlines struggle to stay in business and tourists stop flying to the US, then they've achieved quite a goal without killing anyone.

But people have short memories and get used to the new way of things (or at least learn to accept it) so most the damage is short term, until the next time.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:42 AM   #115
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I am probably bias by hanging around smart people either online or in real life, but my guess is that for every person that changes their travel plans due to the threat of terrorist activity there are many times more people who decide to cancel a trip or switch to driving because of the hassle factor associated with flying now. I can't say I blame them. Of course in my case, I don't have the fly vs drive choice.

The irony is that when people switch from flying to driving for medium trips (~500 miles) they are statistically many times more likely to be killed driving than flying on good airline. The chance of dying via a terrorist attack is a tiny compared to anything else. So in our governments crazy attempt to use procedures and technology to eliminate terrorist attacks, they are actually making America less safe.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:14 AM   #116
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BINGO, a winner.

It is not the misguided fear of dying in a terrorist attack that stops me/us from wanting to fly. It's TSA. For evidence see, 3,000 folks stranded in Newark Terminal C for 6 hours because TSA allowed a person (probably just a numbnut) to go into the terminal thru an exit. Never found him, but managed to disrupt thousands of connections, pre-arranged pickups, hotels, etc.

How many of those folks you think are mumbling, "never again"?

If my European vacation had started yesterday in Newark for instance and I had a connection to a different airline (separate ticket) in London Heathrow, and I had a reservation, say in Paris at a hotel. Guess what, I'm eating the cost of an airline ticket, hassles of re-booking and possibly eating a hotel reservation cost.

Why? Because one numbnut made a wrong turn in an airport thru an "unguarded" exit and the TSA went into Barney Fife mode. They even removed folks from flights on the runway. Unbelievable.

TSA is an embarrassing organization but more embarrassing is that the public is willing to accept that kind of incompetency and just go along.
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:15 AM   #117
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If my European vacation had started yesterday in Newark for instance and I had a connection to a different airline (separate ticket) in London Heathrow, and I had a reservation, say in Paris at a hotel. Guess what, I'm eating the cost of an airline ticket, hassles of re-booking and possibly eating a hotel reservation cost.
Of course, you'd have exactly the same situation if the airport had been shut down for weather. This happens a lot more frequently than TSA shutdowns. Your personal inconvenience is the same in either case. Has this prompted you to eschew air travel?

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TSA is an embarrassing organization but more embarrassing is that the public is willing to accept that kind of incompetency and just go along.
I largely agree. I just think we should keep it all in perspective and not lose out on one of life's great pleasures (rapid, cheap, safe foreign travel) because of a few nut jobs and the response they have spawned. Refusing to fly is not a punishment to TSA--they aren't a private company, so they aren't going to lose any money due to lack of passengers. It just gives the TSA screeners more time to wander around the terminal, joke with their pals, and think of new things to bark at passengers.

It's interesting to compare the work performed by the airline employees behind the ticket counter and the TSA folks nearby at a busy airport. The airline employees are harried, sometimes overwhelmed, and busy doing the tough job of getting passengers their boarding passes, checking their bags, and rebooking people as needed. The nearby TSA folks seem to have plenty of employees to go around and move at a considerably more leisurely pace.
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:24 AM   #118
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I'll be doing a 4 hour stopover at JFK, one of the busiest international East Coast airports, in about a week. I am definitely not going to wander around too much.
The good news is I will not have to go through pre-boarding security at JFK. I hope.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:28 PM   #119
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I'll be doing a 4 hour stopover at JFK, one of the busiest international East Coast airports, in about a week. I am definitely not going to wander around too much.
The good news is I will not have to go through pre-boarding security at JFK. I hope.
Good luck, hopefully someone else doesn't wander too far and ruin your day.

SamClem, I travel out of LAX so weather delay is not likely, nor do I ever recall in 40 years having a weather delay. And when I travel to Europe in winter months with a stopover, I always chose DC because I know Chicago, NYC or Newark are weather delay prone. So weather is predictable to a certain extent. On the other hand, TSA is like a recurring nightmare, it's pain never ends.

TSA would be like Macy's deciding to end shoplifting by making all customers submit to a patdown and possible strip search, at some point it's not worth shopping there. There are other stores (other means of travel).
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Old 01-04-2010, 04:10 PM   #120
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However, there are some people like myself, who are taking full advantage of the cheap prices on offer because of people who are running scared. We figure as long as the going is good with offers by the airlines we will keep going.

The truth is when you number is up there really isn't much you can do about it. You can sit home in your bubble waiting for death to come and tap you on the shoulder or you can get out there and live life to the fullest.

Truthfully I can't believe the drama that some people seem to be making out of this issue. It's not as if most people spend the majority of their day going through TSA checks and airport delays. You do it, it's over with and you get on with life. As soon as you are thru the line off you go with a smile on your face knowing that a new adventure is in front of you.

Personally rather than TSA developing new procedures to identify the terrorists, I would prefer if they could identify the morons and put them all through one area together - you know the idiots who stand in line then slowly but surely start putting their numerous carry-ons thru. Then they are totally surprised that they have to take off their shoes even though everyone has. And my belt?? And my phone?? And the change out of my pocket?? After 5 attempts of going thru the security detector they seem pissed off and totally unaware of the looks of death other passengers are giving them.

Zero, I will send you a PM about Vietnam.
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