Home » Foreign Policy

Steve Bainbridge on the new TSA flying restrictions

Over at ProfessorBainbridge.com, my dear friend Steve Bainbridge has an excellent critique of the new Transportation Safety Administration’s new travel restrictions. As Bainbridge explains:

Predictably, TSA is responding to the most recent airplane terrorism incident by piling on even more stupid and ineffectual restrictions on passengers:

In the wake of the terrorism attempt Friday on a Northwest Airlines flight, federal officials on Saturday imposed new restrictions on travelers that could lengthen lines at airports and limit the ability of international passengers to move about an airplane. …

… several airlines released detailed information about the restrictions, saying that passengers on international flights coming to the United States will apparently have to remain in their seats for the last hour of a flight without any personal items on their laps. It was not clear how often the rule would affect domestic flights.

Overseas passengers will be restricted to only one carry-on item, and domestic passengers will probably face longer security lines. That was already the case in some airports Saturday, in the United States and overseas.

On its Web site, American Airlines said the T.S.A. had ordered new measures for flights departing from foreign locations to the United States, including mandatory screening of all passengers at airport gates during the boarding process. All carry-on items would be screened at security checkpoints and again at boarding, the airline said. It urged passengers to leave extra time for screening and boarding.

In effect, the restrictions mean that passengers on flights of 90 minutes or less would most likely not be able to leave their seats at all, since airlines do not allow passengers to walk around the cabin while a plane is climbing to its cruising altitude.

And, as Bainbridge notes,

none of these new restrictions would have impeded the bomber. He was fine with staying in his seat. To the contrary, it was the passenger who subdued the bomber that left his seat. Extra screening of carry on luggage would have been no problem for the bomber, since the bomber had the bomb sewn into his underwear.

Share/Bookmark this!

Leave a reply

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally recognized avatar, please register at Gravatar.


Connect: LinkedIn profile Connect: Twitter profile
Connect: LinkedIn profile

Welcome! Who am I?



Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.