Steve Bainbridge on the new TSA flying restrictionsDecember 27, 2009 # 1:47 pm # Foreign Policy # No Comment
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:
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.