Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Airline Security Measures

Yesterday a passenger on a Northwest Airlines plane flying from Nigeria via Amsterdam to Detroit tried to blow up the plane. His attempt failed but now, because of him, all travelers flying internationally to the U.S. have to deal with new security measures. I hate that right after an air travel terrorist attempt, the airlines have to go crazy about implementing new security measures. It's ridiculous really because very rarely do these terrorists seem to do the exact same thing right after it has just been attempted. But the airlines all jump on the bandwagon to try and control the situation by inconveniencing the lives of all air travelers. I thought air travel was supposed to more hassle-free, not more hassle-full.
According to, "The U.S. has asked all airlines to take extra precautions on flights worldwide that are bound for the United States. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority said all passengers on U.S.-bound flights will require additional security screening in light of the incident."
I went to Alaska/Horizon Airlines Web site and found their travel advisory, which says, "
  • All passengers flying into the United States will be searched at the departure gate, in addition to normal screening at security checkpoints.
  • From Canada or Mexico, carry-on luggage will also be searched at the departure gate and may be limited to one carry-on. To minimize boarding delays, passengers are encouraged to check all their luggage. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air will waive baggage fees for items checked as baggage that the passenger otherwise would have taken aboard as carry-on baggage from Canada or Mexico."
The travel advisory also strongly suggested passengers traveling internationally to the U.S. arrive at airports a minimum of 2 hours before departure, although they encourage getting to airports at least 3 hours ahead of flights. Three hours! Sounds like my siblings and I will have a great time trying to fly back down to the States in a week. Our flight is a whole whopping 50 minutes long. Who wants to wait at an airport for 3 whole hours for a measly little 50-minute flight?
WestJet and Air Canada have also similarly revised their security measures. I found it most interesting to see that, "Air Canada said it would also like to see passengers limit their carry-on items to 'the absolute minimum' or even travel with no carry-on items if possible." Just a few weeks ago the airlines - who now charge passengers an exorbitant amount for bringing even one piece of checked luggage along on their trip - encouraged people to check less items and try to fit as much as possible into the two carry-ons allotted per passenger. Now all of a sudden they are changing their minds and even waiving the fee for extra checked baggage, instead encouraging passengers to limit themselves to one carry-on or even forgo that privilege and fly carry-on-less. I am not impressed. I used to love traveling by air, but more and more I am wishing for alternate methods of travel. Personally, I'm waiting for the return of the passenger train (only I'd rather they be high-speed like the ones Japan has).

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