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Last Hour of Flight Restrictions
Old 12-29-2009, 05:57 PM   #1
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Last Hour of Flight Restrictions

As you know, due to the jock strap bomber, some airlines have new restrictions on what you can do during the last hour of the flight (nothing in lap, etc.).

What is the significance of the "last hour?" Couldn't a terrorist blow up the plane earlier in the flight? Is it more dramatic if it is near the airport? What is the thinking here?
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
As you know, due to the jock strap bomber, some airlines have new restrictions on what you can do during the last hour of the flight (nothing in lap, etc.).

What is the significance of the "last hour?" Couldn't a terrorist blow up the plane earlier in the flight? Is it more dramatic if it is near the airport? What is the thinking here?
There is no 'thinking' involved.
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:16 PM   #3
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That's a good point, T-Al. I would think that the first hour would be of more interest, since the fuel tanks are full and an explosion then could be more spectacular.

In my own, perhaps overly cynical way, I was thinking that maybe this will get passengers out of the aisle as stewardesses are trying to finish up distributing drinks, collecting trash, and getting everything cleaned up for the next flight.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:21 PM   #4
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The TSA is demonstrating a fine example of closing the barn gate after the horses have left.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:40 PM   #5
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The TSA is demonstrating a fine example of closing the barn gate after the horses have left.
I would compare it more to closing the back door of a farmhouse 2 miles away after the horses left the barn.

One interesting aspect of the new rules are that the passenger who jumped up and subdued the underpants bomber would be guilty of breaking the rule and would probabl be prosecuted by the TSA. This one ranks right up there with the fingernail clipper rule. I'm also curious about the rule about no electronic devices in the last hour of flight. The kid didn't even use anything like that.

I particularly liked this quote from a traveller from Australia who flew after the new rules were implemented.

[Two passengers arriving in L.A. from Australia] 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.”
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:48 PM   #6
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Every time you think it's not possible to make air travel more unbearable, they find a way to make it more unbearable. I for one am avoiding as much "leisure" travel by air as possible because of how unpleasant it is now, and I'm far from alone.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:22 PM   #7
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I heard that the "last hour" rule is for international flights because if the plane is blown up in the last hour it will be over populated areas and there could be injuries on the ground. Before the last hour, the plane is over water so obviously there's no danger to people on the ground just the ~300 people on the plane. Much better!
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:22 PM   #8
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Every time you think it's not possible to make air travel more unbearable, they find a way to make it more unbearable. I for one am avoiding as much "leisure" travel by air as possible because of how unpleasant it is now, and I'm far from alone.
Frank and I were talking about this last night, and we feel the same way. Flying to Oregon last October was bad enough, but this is ridiculous. We will avoid flying whenever possible in the future.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:27 PM   #9
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FAA Considering Passenger Ban | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:54 PM   #10
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I heard that the "last hour" rule is for international flights because if the plane is blown up in the last hour it will be over populated areas and there could be injuries on the ground. Before the last hour, the plane is over water so obviously there's no danger to people on the ground just the ~300 people on the plane. Much better!
Doesn't that sort of depend on where you're landing? And how about Mexico or Canadia to the US? If they are actually doing it for this reason (and I'm not saying they aren't), wouldn't it make more sense to just not allow passengers to stand up over US land?
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:06 PM   #11
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I would wear astronaut diapers just to avoid needing to get up, but with the new scanner everyone can now see I'm wearing a diaper...And pee bottles are out because it might become "suspicious liquid." :P
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:06 PM   #12
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When I was in the AF, we had 5 accidents in a 6 month period, all unrelated. One ran out of gas, one landed in the last 500 ft of a 9,500 ft runway to prove to the student they could stop the air craft, they didn't. Another crashed on the gunnery range and another on take off. Solution, restrict how the aircraft turns final when we practice single engine landings. None of the accidents were related to single engine landings!

So it does not surprise me that they took the actions they did.
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:18 PM   #13
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Apparently for both the Christmas terrorist and the shoe guy, the detonation was planned for the last hour just as Aaron said, to take out people on the ground. Had one of these yinyangs planned it for the first hour, we'd be taking extra precautions then too in a knee jerk reaction to what had already happened. One day we'll learn to close the barn door before the horse gets out.
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:30 PM   #14
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I wonder: would the TSA folks get upset if I brought a roll of quarters or dollar coins on a flight? Its currency, after all...
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:47 PM   #15
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Usually, on an international flight, the last 45 minutes or so are when the flight attendants pass out the customs forms. Most folks are in their seats filling out the paperwork -- or complaining about the paperwork.

At least, that's been my experience.

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Old 12-29-2009, 09:51 PM   #16
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I flew into Philly on US Air from Manchester, England yesterday and they didn't implement any new procedures that I'd expected on the flight, such as nothing covering your lap, or stopping use of all electronic devices during the last hour. I was disappointed on the way out as they didn't have the in-flight position indicator I've come to expect on all international flights. I understand they are considering banning these now on incoming flights to the USA as (like the last hour of the flight) you can tell that you are over populated areas.

We did go through hand searching of all bags and shoes plus a thorough pat down at the gate immediately before boarding. There was an unexpected advantage in that they were strict in allowing only a single, reasonably sized, carry-on that resulted in loads of overhead storage space. We only left about 20 minutes late, and it was a fairly full flight - I was quite impressed at how well it went.

Only 1 flight planned for the whole of next year, although I said that about this year as well, but ended up with 2 extra trips to England because of bereavements of parents.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:00 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronc879 View Post
I heard that the "last hour" rule is for international flights because if the plane is blown up in the last hour it will be over populated areas and there could be injuries on the ground. Before the last hour, the plane is over water so obviously there's no danger to people on the ground just the ~300 people on the plane. Much better!
If that is the logic then it is deeply flawed:

1. a lot of flights approach their destination without crossing populated areas

2. domestic flights are more likely to cross populated areas in the last hour than international flights

3. that logic would dictate that you should also have the same rule for the first hour of a flight.

All of which is irrelevant - if the device used on 253 had worked as intended, the new rules would not have prevented anything.

Travelling to the US is painful enough as it is. Quite frankly, the length of time it takes to get on a plane was already enough to make me choose other destinations for holidays. I'm already thinking of weaseling out of a business trip I have to take in March.

Of course, if the TSA was serious about security, it would prohibit any carry on luggage at all and require all passengers to strip naked before being screened, given an adult diaper, sedated and chained to their seat for the duration of the flight.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:09 PM   #18
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If that is the logic then it is deeply flawed:

1. a lot of flights approach their destination without crossing populated areas

2. domestic flights are more likely to cross populated areas in the last hour than international flights

3. that logic would dictate that you should also have the same rule for the first hour of a flight.

All of which is irrelevant - if the device used on 253 had worked as intended, the new rules would not have prevented anything.

Travelling to the US is painful enough as it is. Quite frankly, the length of time it takes to get on a plane was already enough to make me choose other destinations for holidays. I'm already thinking of weaseling out of a business trip I have to take in March.

Of course, if the TSA was serious about security, it would prohibit any carry on luggage at all and require all passengers to strip naked before being screened, given an adult diaper, sedated and chained to their seat for the duration of the flight.
Looks like they have already pulled back on some of the rules (see my post above on my flight yesterday) plus this article.

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Well, that was quick. We've got a variety of reports out there now saying the Transportation Security Administration has come off its stance about the last hour of flights -- the crackdown said no blankets or pillows or anything on anybody's lap and you couldn't get out of your seat. And no in-flight entertainment (to shut off the "where are we now channel") and no descriptions of where we are over U.S. airspace. That seems like it's winding down.

UPDATE: TSA saying generally that the rules about in-flight are now up to the crew's discretion. So they're technically still in place, but their application is up to how each flight's crew feels about the situation.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:45 PM   #19
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God I love the Onion, note the date. I bet that some time in the next few years Khan will be able to repost this article and it will still be just as relevant.
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:05 AM   #20
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I was involved in a long debate about the latest terrorist incident on another forum. (God I wish everyplace on the internet was a respectful as the ER forum).
Here is one the more interesting things I dug up...

SuperFreakonomics, a fun read, has some great statistics on the impact of Richard Reid.

Quote:
Let's say it takes an average of one minute to remove and replace your shoe.. In the US alone, the procedure happens roughly 560 million times a year. 560 million minutes equal more than 1065 years divided by 77.8 years (US life expectancy) is nearly 14 person-lives. So even though failed to kill a single person, he levied a tax that is the time equivalent of 14 lives per year
Doing a bit more digging I find that the flight Reid tried to blow up had 196 passengers and crew. We have taking off our shoes for 8 years now, in 6 years the lives lost due to shoe removal will be equal to if he had blown up the plane. This doesn't include the expense associated (more TSA employees) due to shoe removal.

At this point, I think we have to start rooting for the terrorist to succeed in blowing up planes and hoping that the government can't figure out how they did it.
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