Australian Minister's Sensible Comments on Airline Security Sparks Outcry

I'm the first to admit that I don't know anything about Australian politics. I don't know who Amanda Vanstone is, what she stands for, and what other things she's said about any other topic.

But I happen to think she's right about airline security:

In a wide-ranging speech to Adelaide Rotarians, Senator Vanstone dismissed many commonwealth security measures as essentially ineffective. "To be tactful about these things, a lot of what we do is to make people feel better as opposed to actually achieve an outcome," Senator Vanstone said.

And:

During her Adelaide speech, Senator Vanstone implied the use of plastic cutlery on planes to thwart terrorism was foolhardy.

Implied? I'll say it outright. It's stupid. For all its faults, I'm always pleased when Northwest Airlines gives me a real metal knife, and I am always annoyed when American Airlines still gives me a plastic one.

"Has it ever occurred to you that you just smash your wine glass and jump at someone, grab the top of their head and put it in their carotid artery and ask anything?" Senator Vanstone told her audience of about 100 Rotarians. "And believe me, you will have their attention. I think of this every time I see more money for the security agencies."

The Immigration Minister also told of a grisly conversation with Mr Howard during a discussion on increased spending on national security.

Senator Vanstone said: "I asked him if I was able to get on a plane with an HB pencil, which you are able to, and I further asked him if I went down and came and grabbed him by the front of the head and stabbed the HB pencil into your eyeball and wiggled it around down to your brain area, do you think you'd be focusing? He's thinking, she's gone mad again."

Okay, so maybe that was a bit graphic for the Rotarians. But her comments are basically right, and don't deserve this kind of response:

"(Her) extraordinary outburst that airport security was a sham to make the public feel good has made a mockery of the Howard Government's credibility in this important area of counter-terrorism," Mr Bevis said yesterday. "And for Amanda Vanstone to once again put her foot in her mouth while John Howard is overseas for serious talks on terrorism is appalling. She should apologise and quit, or if the Prime Minister can't shut her up he should sack her."

But Mr. Bevis, airport security is largely a sham to make the public feel better about flying. And if your Prime Minister doesn't know that, then you should worry about how serious his talks will be.

Vanstone has been defending herself:

Vanstone rejected calls from the Labor Party opposition for her resignation over the comments they said trivialised an important issue, saying she was not ridiculing security measures.

"If the day has come when a minister can't say what every other Australian says and that is that plastic knives drive us crazy, I think we're in desperate straits," the minister told commercial radio on Monday.

Vanstone said she did not believe the security measures should be scrapped.

"What I have said is that putting a plastic knife on a plane doesn't necessarily make you very much safer. Bear in mind there are other things that are on planes," she said.

"People should not feel that because plastic knives are there, the world has dramatically changed -- because there are still HB pencils."

Plastic knives on airplanes drive me crazy too, and they don't do anything to improve our security against terrorism. I know nothing about Vanstone and her policies, but she has this one right.

Posted on November 22, 2005 at 1:41 PM • 97 Comments

Comments

HritzNovember 22, 2005 2:15 PM

Amen. My wife and I tire of the list of things that people fear will be used to gain access to an aircraft: sewing scissors, nail clippers and files, knitting needles. Its ridiculous! It reminds me of the monty python skit on how to defend yourself from a man armed with a banana (when will we get to defense against a pointed stick?).

Where are the air marshalls, reinforced cockpit doors, revised hijacking protocols, air interdiction, etc?

acidosNovember 22, 2005 2:24 PM

Finally, someone who admits that what the airline industry is doing is a waste. I'd move to Australia if they (or anyone else) had decent airline security measures. I wonder if they have a boat that goes over there...

BernNovember 22, 2005 2:46 PM

The Australian Senator is absolutely right. The measures taken in the name of security are to make a gullible public feel better and to justify more money being wasted.

Erik CarlseenNovember 22, 2005 2:53 PM

Forget the wine glass. My favorite - anyone who has shattered a CD or DVD knows that the fragments are often razor-sharp. They can ban toenail clippers on flights and get away with it, but they don't have the guts to try telling people they can't bring their portable CD/DVD players.

Mike SherwoodNovember 22, 2005 2:55 PM

Airline security is worse than it's ever been. All of these feel-good security measures exist to solve a non-problem in the most visible and intrusive way possible. There is a lot of money going into making travel more expensive and more difficult. All of the money spent on things like worrying about metal silverware on planes is money that's not being spent on useful security.

I still can't fathom why anyone believes knives had anything to do with 9-11. That particular attack wasn't about weapons, it was about exploiting a flawed policy. Prior to 9-11, policy was to fully comply with hijackers. That particular attack can never be used again. If anyone tries to hijack a plane now, there will be resistance from the passengers. After all, if you're going to die today, you may as well do so trying to do the one thing that could prevent you from dying today.

We've spent billions of dollars to address a non-issue. That's great for the economy and politician sound bites, but it does nothing at all for security or safety. What's worse is that the majority have been duped into buying into this scam.

Erik CarlseenNovember 22, 2005 2:56 PM

@myself -

Of course, we can't ban products made by the RIAA / MPAA - because if we do that, then the terrorists have already won.

StudentNovember 22, 2005 3:10 PM

I remember reading about a project Saab Aerospace was working on. The idea of the project is to use a combination of the flight logic from JAS 39-Gripen (a modern fighter airplane) and combine it with a radio link to get an override system for the flight controls. The logic being that you should be able to take over control of the airplane in case of hijacking and steer it down to a safe landing. Obviously the system shouldn’t be possible to disable from inside the airplane.

The interesting part here is that we are actually creating one security issue by removing another. Instead of only having to deal with hijackers in the plane you also have to deal with the issue of somebody hijacking the plane digitally while in flight. And we all know how 100% secure such a communication system would be.

In the case of airplanes today we try to remove all potentially dangerous objects, which is quite clearly futile. So, instead the goal has switched to removing all objects humans precept as dangerous. Which is why pencils are not banned, but extremely small knives are.

Which might have created another security issue. To use the 9/11 attacks as an example: In this case the attackers used weapons that had been smuggled aboard while everybody else was unarmed. Those passengers that fought back used whatever makeshift weapons they could create inside the airplane. Here an interesting question should be: Did the security search actually improve security? The attackers actually used the security system to their advantage; they knew the crew and passengers were unarmed.

JDNovember 22, 2005 3:36 PM

"....a radio link to get an override system for the flight controls. The logic being that you should be able to take over control of the airplane in case of hijacking and steer it down to a safe landing."

Heh....reminds me of proposals to establish an emergency radio command link to destroy a nuclear missile that had been launched accidentally or illegally. Seemed like a cool idea until it was pointed out that if you can't control the thing on the ground, why do you think you can control it in the air?

Fred F.November 22, 2005 3:56 PM

The plastic cuttlery I think is just for cost cutting. That they blame terrorism for it is just a smoke screen. I think if they could come up with a container that puts you to sleep and ship you ina small coffin like devide they would go for it and call it a safety measure.

Yvan BoilyNovember 22, 2005 3:58 PM

'Mr Bevis said Senator Vanstone's comments on wielding weapons in planes were irresponsible. "If she made comments like that getting ready to board a plane, she'd be arrested," he said. '

Hmm. So does this illustrate that Vanstone's comments were egregious (not really), or that perhaps the laws regarding speech in airports are a little severe?

Jon SowdenNovember 22, 2005 4:13 PM

"if they could come up with a container that puts you to sleep and ship you in a small coffin like devide they would go for it"

Heh. I'd go for it too. Asleep is the best way to travel by air ;)

AussieguyNovember 22, 2005 4:31 PM

Australian politics (like just about all politics) has become more about point scoring than sensible debate. Vanstone is correct, Bevis (and his party) are no doubt fully aware that she is correct, but why not have a go at scoring a few political points by pretending to be outraged?

NobbyNovember 22, 2005 4:53 PM

@Fred F

Frankly, for long haul, if they could come up with a container that puts me to sleep and ship me in a small coffin, they'd get my custom!

pigletNovember 22, 2005 5:21 PM

Explosive news on the passenger data front:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/...

An agreement between the European Union and the United States that allows the release of airline passenger data to U.S. counterterrorism authorities should be overturned, a top EU legal expert said Tuesday.

Philippe Leger, the advocate general of the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice, sided with the European Parliament, which brought the case.

The agreement was signed and took effect in May 2004 but the EU's legislature had objections, claiming the deal failed to sufficiently protect the privacy of passengers....

RSNovember 22, 2005 5:58 PM

When I was a kid, in the 80s, my family went to Trinidad. I got a cricket bat and we brought it back in the planes over head bin. When we had cleared customs in Toronto, and were about to board the connecting flight home, the airline guys says, "Hey, you can't bring that bat on the plane! You have to check that."
Mom replied, "We brought it all the way from Trinidad as 'carry on.'"
"Not on an Air Canada flight!" the guy answers.

It was on an Air Canada international flight.

People really shouldn't carry cricket bats on planes. But the point is, security was flawed then, and it still is now, 20 some years and billions of dollars later.

Prior to 9/11 I had, naively I guess, assumed that armed air marshals were on every flight. Silly me, thinking that if a bus station, or hotel lobby required armed security, that then maybe someone would figure a multi-million dollar airplane might too.

DylanNovember 22, 2005 6:23 PM

Ah, Australian politics. Where the left-leaning right get attacked by the right-leaning left, and nothing is more divisive than the issue of daylight savings.

Thanks, Amanda. You've brightened up my day.

MozNovember 22, 2005 6:33 PM

The surprising thing about her comments is that normally she's more measured in what she says and tries not to stir things up. I think something has happened to rile her up, and no doubt we'll find out about it soon. Possibly it was the recent detention of a couple of families in Syria after a cartridge case was found in their carry-on luggage.
http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2005/...
(link in URL entry above)

KeesNovember 22, 2005 7:21 PM

I fondly remember flying from Amsterdam to Iceland in 1995 on an invitation from the Icelandic government with my Viking re-enactment group. The Icelandic organizing committee had asked us to fly wearing our Viking-era clothing because there would be TV-crews waiting for us in Kevlavik Airport.

We had to check in our swords and shields but were allowed to keep wearing our chainmail, saexknives and helmets. It made for some funny bleeps at the security gate in Amsterdam, though :-)

When we landed, the swords were returned to us (in the plane!) so we could walk down the stairs armed to the teeth to be greeted by government officials and TV-crews. We would have loved a hijacker with a boxcutter to play with on the plane...

Matthew ClineNovember 22, 2005 7:37 PM

"... and I further asked him if I went down and came and grabbed him by the front of the head and stabbed the HB pencil into your eyeball and wiggled it around down to your brain area, do you think you'd be focusing?"

I like the lady already.

NickNovember 22, 2005 8:03 PM

This isn't anything that a person with a modicum of common sense couldn't think of. There are countless 'commonplace' items that go right through, and yet could (at least from a 'movie security' standpoint) be utilized effectively as weapons:

- Tie tacks.
- Neckties.
- Hatpins/brooches.
- Guitar picks (sharpened).
- Boot laces.
- Earpieces from eyeglasses.
- Pencils and ballpoint pens.
- Laptops (assuming I don't want to use it as a computer, if I whack you over the head with it, it's gonna hurt).
- Neck scarves.

Again, all of this is made less relevant by securing the cockpit door. I think we can trust the passengers to fight back if a flight attendant or other passenger is threatened ... but the locked door prevents access to the cockpit.

Vanstone has simply pointed out the Emperor ain't got nothin' on.

B-ConNovember 22, 2005 8:58 PM

The main reason the government is enforcing a bunch of nicey-nice fake-smile airline security is because of the hoards of idiots who demand it. The general public is too stupid to realize what is and is not effective, and just wants to be made to feel good.

And ultimately, that's what drives a lot of public-related policies: The public's desire to feel good. The public could rarely know less about the issue at hand, but that has never stopped them from demanding certain measures be taken. All they care about is how they feel (at least here in America). Because if you feel safe, how could you not be?

VioletNovember 22, 2005 9:01 PM

If you've ever watched an episode of McGuyver, you shouldn't be allowed to fly. Or a stupidity test - if you are smart enough to realize that a pencil, tie tack, shoe lace, etc. could be a weapon - you aren't allowed to fly.

DMNovember 22, 2005 9:34 PM

I always thought the long extensible metal handles on wheelie bags would make excelent weapons if removed from the wheelie bag - maybe even excelent stabbing weapons if they are jagged on the ends.

Troy LaurinNovember 22, 2005 10:04 PM

@Nick,

Unfortunately for Ms Vanstone, the Australian Emperor doesn't take kindly to anyone pointing out his failings. As mentioned by Aussieguy above, Aussie public politics consists of nothing so much as character assassination, usually in response to the heinous crime of publicly disagreeing with someone.

Interestingly, the most noise is always made when someone dares to stray from the party line... that is, when attacking someone on your own side!

With regards to the actual airline security, I don't personally know anyone who considers the modern confiscation scheme (please remove your trousers, sir...) to be good security (in isolation). I can't honestly say, however, how "the people" as a whole see the affair, except that most public poll results tend to follow the media line with monotonous regularity.

So this doesn't become a bash-fest for Australian airline security, when I flew domestically recently, my mother was randomly selected for a bomb residue sniffer test passing through security. That speaks praise for the randomness of the selection, that she was tested instead of me ;-)

Filias CupioNovember 22, 2005 10:07 PM

The HB-pencil comment is a bit over the top. All it really is is a very small pointed stick. If someone attacks me, posession of a very small pointed stick isn't going to make a significant difference to their odds of success. (Well, maybe if I'm asleep it would increase their odds of a fatal first blow.)

On the fly-by-wire-override-from-the-ground plan: it looks doable to me, but it would cost to do it properly. As well as hijackings, it works for disabled crew, such as the recent Cypriot(?) airliner which decompressed, rendering the crew unconscious, and then crashed after exhasting fuel in a holding pattern. You'd need strong cryptographic authentication, and the only copies of the crypto-keys stored in some central location under heavy guard. Airplanes could be made safer by this method, but I expect you can save more lives for the money by mundane measures like (e.g.) strengthening the passenger seats.

NickNovember 22, 2005 10:29 PM

I think a HB pencil to the neck could do a fair amount of damage and she makes a pretty good point.

To clarify the response in which she's asked to step down - it's not as extreme an overreaction as it would seem. Senators demanding other senators stand down every time they do something even remotely out of line is a very common occurance here, and I've yet to see it happen over anything like this. They just like to get themselves in the newspapers.

Andrew van der StockNovember 22, 2005 11:24 PM

Forget about radio controlled planes. Planes currently have the ability to land by themselves, but pilots don't like it. However, I don't care about pilot egos, which should firmly checked at the door in the name of public safety.

There should be a BIG red button in the cockpit saying "LAND". At the first sign of trouble in the cabin or if the cockpit door is attacked, the flight crew hit the button or the tripwire in the door hits it for them, the controls go dead and the plane lands at the nearest airport with ALS, or even ILS with a few extra smarts.

That would end hijackings and 9/11 style attacks (flying into things).

Andrew

Paul ONovember 23, 2005 12:07 AM

Okay, we seem to (collectively) be negotiating what we think should and should not be allowed as carry-on items.

Plastic knives: bad (but not for security reasons).
Pencils: can be a weapon.
Compact Disc: can be a weapon, especially if snapped in half.
Nail files: can be a weapon.
Hunting knife: can be a weapon.
Guns: can be a weapon.

The only logical conclusion I can draw from the discussion is that, since we allow other "potential weapons" on board, we shouldn't prevent people from boarding with guns.

Or we can suggest that items which don't have common utility on board an aircraft aren't required in the passenger cabin, and therefore might be banned if they're potentially dangerous.

datakidNovember 23, 2005 12:29 AM

This is so weird - but she's so right. Usually, she's just a facsist, but she seems to have this one on the button...

But as someone pointed out in the paper today - if she lived in one of the detention centres which she is responsible for at a federal political level, she would have to use plastic cutlery every day for three years straight... mwhahahahahaha...how cruel the world is, Ms Vanstone, how cruel...

CowboyBobNovember 23, 2005 12:52 AM

Ok, let's have planes with radio control override on-board. Now we're back to regular computer security issues and the potential for someone to crack the system and take over a plane.

Pat CahalanNovember 23, 2005 1:45 AM

@Filias

> The HB-pencil comment is a bit over the top. All it really is is a very small pointed stick.
> If someone attacks me, posession of a very small pointed stick isn't going to make a significant difference
> to their odds of success.

That all depends on how much practice you've had playing with it. Most shivs and makeshift weapons in jails aren't much more sophisticated than a sharpened pencil (you can make a fairly sharp and rigid dirk out of melted styrofoam cups).

Remember the 9/11 terrorists used box cutters - you're talking about a blade that's shorter than most pocketknife blades (*maybe* 1/2", if you've got an exceptional box cutter). You wouldn't think that would make such a great weapon until someone actually used one on you...

The presence of any reasonably balanced item in the hands of someone who knows what to do with it gives a considerable advantage over someone fighting bare-hands, assuming equivalent skill levels. If someone has basic knife training *and* they're going up against an unarmed and unprepared target (and they're not totally stupid), they can incapacitate you fairly easily with a sharpened pencil. The only real disadvantages you have with a pencil is (a) it's fairly fragile, so you're unlikely to get more than one useful shot, especially if you hit bone and (b) there's no hilt, so if you do strike home, it's going to be impossible to handle afterwards, being all bloody.

For taking out one person, though, a pencil is better than nothing. I'd be more partial to a pen or a roll of nickles myself.

Improvising weapons is blazingly easy... particularly if you have access to a woman's purse or a diaper bag. Strategically arranged keys on a ring (staggered between your clenched fingers in your fist) can give you instant brass knuckles. It'll mess up the nerves in the butt of your palm, but you're less likely to break your hand (staggeringly common in bare knuckle fisticuffs) if you hit someone. A container of baby powder would make a good makeshift pepper spray (again assuming that you blast someone unprepared). My wife's wallet would actually make a great 3 oz boxing glove.

Vanstone is right. The screenings for "dangerous items" are a colossal waste of time. Even a pretty unimaginative terrorist could figure out a way to smuggle a 8" resin combat knife onto a plane. Removing improvised weapons doesn't improve security, because you're not going to remove all of the improvisable weapons. All you're going to do is limit the possible things regular passengers could get their hands on to fight back.

ThingoNovember 23, 2005 2:18 AM

Airline security is an important issue, but more frighteningly, Vanstone making sense is a sign of the forthcoming apocolypse. Repent now for the end is surely coming!

"Vanstone" is Australian for "Useless fat blob that passes the buck while simultaneously screwing over the population".

MickNovember 23, 2005 2:26 AM

Why don't airlines provide a great big hunting knife for *every* passenger after boarding ? That way we could cut our steaks and be well equipped to take the plane back from any would be hijackers.

egeltjeNovember 23, 2005 2:29 AM

@piglet:
Thanks for the info (and its good news)! I wonder why I have to read this on an US site. There has been no mention here in Europe as far as I know...

AndrewNovember 23, 2005 2:38 AM

@Pat Cahalan

You are correct on the makeshift weaponry. Even a sharpened toothbrush handle is a great weapon if need be.

What about ceramic knives which metal detectors and the like don't pick up? They are readily available and there are even specially made combat ceramic knives.

neutrinoNovember 23, 2005 2:51 AM

The mechanical pencil "threat" got me into an uncomfortable situation immediately after 9-11.

I flew to Washington DC for business the last week of October 2001. I pulled 5 mechanical pencils out of my pocket before passing through the metal detector. I always carry three or more, the damn things jam on me occasionally. And yes, I'm an "engineer."

Security pulled me aside and subjected me to a thorough search while an armed US soldier stood by. The checker demanded to know what they were.

"Tools of my trade," I responded, while holding my arms above my head and staring forward. You don't know where to look when a guy with an automatic rifle stands next to you. "Mechanical pencils."

The security checker hesitated, played with the pencils, but finally gave them back to me, and the soldier stepped away.

Never thought mechanical pencils would get such attention, but they did in those paranoid days right after 9-11.


AMDNovember 23, 2005 3:04 AM

For the first time ever I agree with Amanda Vanstone's comments and quite annoyed at the derision she is recieving. She's been in politics for a long time and held a number of troubled portfolios, but although I disagree with her politics she never says anything really stupid. Still the idea of Ms Vanstone plunging a HB pencil in the PM's eyesocket and wiggle it around does make me giggle a bit.

David FrierNovember 23, 2005 3:20 AM

If the chief benefit of existing airline security measures is to give the sheeple a warm fuzzy, then Mr Howard would be discarding even THAT slim return on the investment, were he to admit that Vanstone is right.

So while she is correct, Howard is correct to deny it.

If, on the other hand, he were to dismantle the sham, then every airport in Australia would be blacklisted by all other countries. Remember the signs you used to see in every airport about the bad security at Lagos?

AnonymousNovember 23, 2005 3:25 AM

> I know nothing about Vanstone and her policies,

Trust me - you don't want to, the woman is a complete fruitcake. OK - she may have this one right, but it's the first time in her political carreer.

She has previously supported a whole range of vile, inhumane and utterly dingbat ideas. And to make it worse, she's a cabinet minister.

> He's thinking, she's gone mad again

This is actually an accurate description of her normal behavior and demeanor

BlakeNovember 23, 2005 3:35 AM

One thing that is worth pointing out here is that the money spent on airport 'security' was done to stop many large airlines from collapsing economically post 9/11. It was not done to make aircraft safer to fly on. Governments may have been right in this course of action at the time as financial ruin for large companies can destroy many citizens lives in the short term. I don't know a whole lot about the economics of the airline industry at the current time but I bet it's a lot more profitable now than it was 4 years ago, so maybe we can start spending the money where its needed more... anywhere but The War on Terror (tm)

AlexNovember 23, 2005 3:41 AM

@Andrew:

Reminds me of a talk the head of technology at the FAA gave at a conference this summer. He said that planes were now so advanced you no longer needed a pilot and co-pilot; you needed a pilot and a dog. The pilot was there to monitor the autopilot, the dog was needed to bite the pilot if he tried to touch anything.

Richard Steven HackNovember 23, 2005 3:53 AM


Next time the terrorists won't bother with box cutters or anything else. Just give them a year's training in karate and the heart to do what they do, and they'll do just fine without any weapons at all.

A plane is a natural bottleneck. Put the terrorists in the right place and they can snapkick the passengers right and left, until the passengers with nerve are out cold and the ones without nerve have given up or panicked. Then the terrorists can do what they want.

As Rutger Hauer used to say in the movie "Nighthawks", every time he blew something up, "Remember - there is no security!"

ronysNovember 23, 2005 4:03 AM

Hm,

El-Al, a company not unknown for its security measures, serves in-flight meals with metal cutlery, even in economy class...

jojoNovember 23, 2005 4:25 AM

Don't need pointy sticks. Any well-trained martial artist could easily rip your throat apart, remove your eyes or snap your neck before you could do much of anything.

Roy OwensNovember 23, 2005 5:11 AM

The people being called stupid aren't stupid, they're strange, and clever about it. They live in their fantasy worlds.

The sham security doesn't make anyone think anything, but it allows the fantasy-freaks to pretend whatever they like, which is all it takes for them to be content. The people who provide sham security cannot be reasoned with because their 'customers' cannot be reasoned with. Fantasy-freaks embrace the irrational and cannot be talked out of it.

A fantasy-freak, 'knows' that dropping his pants and taking off his shoes will magically prevent terrorists from sending bombs through air freight.

As a pedestrian example of such fantasy at work, how many people are in Nevada right now certain they can change their luck?

ChrisNovember 23, 2005 5:42 AM

The hunting knives is by far the best idea, if every person on the plane was brandishing a knife and presuming the obvious ratio of terrorist to ordinary passenger anyone trying to hijack the plane would have 40 knives in is back within seconds.
In fact anyone of Muslim/middle eastern appearance would probably have their hands in the air the whole flight

NikNovember 23, 2005 5:51 AM

The most amusing example I had was getting metal cutlery on an outgoing flight from Heathrow with Singapore Air, but plastic on the way back. Apparently due to UK regulations that inbound flights were not allowed metal knives.

Because of course an outbound flight, fully laden with fuel for a long trip to Singapore, is no risk at all...

Danny WNovember 23, 2005 5:54 AM

@ Pat Cahalan

I used to carry a Waterman Man Patrician fountain pen with me on flights. It has a drilled brass barrel and is weighty and very strong. A common demonstration of the quality of the pen and nib was to stab right through an unopend soda can. I reckon it would have little trouble going through a neck / heart/ lung etc. I never got asked about it at security.

curiousNovember 23, 2005 6:05 AM

Why you said HB pencils? HB pencils are very soft, 2H, 3H etc are hard pencils. Ask in your shop.

Chris DNovember 23, 2005 6:57 AM

I've long thought every passenger should be armed. Steak knives or guns sound good, but then you have to deal with 'air rage' types that snap. A good compromise might be to hand everyone a police baton or nightstick at the gate.

GreyseekerNovember 23, 2005 8:19 AM

I just was in Vancouver airport. They took away a pair of mustache scissor from me that were about 2 inches long. I walked 50 feet past security and there was a kitchen shop selling 12" long teak knifes sharpened to a point and 16" across glass plates that could easily be shattered and used as knives.

I hate this. They still haven't got it.

hibernatusNovember 23, 2005 8:30 AM

please, don't let martial-art skilled people to enter airplanes. I'm really scared of arabian ninjas which could without any weapon hijack an airplane.

;-p

adoNovember 23, 2005 8:54 AM

It still surprises me that disposable razors are allowed on planes ( at least in Oz ) but nail files with no shape edge are not.

What is a weapon? Mike Tysons fists surely qualify. Maybe if everyone should be handcuff to their seat and be done with the other security measures

Bill McGonigleNovember 23, 2005 2:38 PM

@CowboyBob - there is no radio control of the airplanes to hijack.

The airplane knows the GPS coordinates of the nearest runway with emergency designation and when 'The Button' (break glass first) is pressed, it starts broadcasting the "everybody get the hell off the runway, I'm coming in" beacon and lands.

If a hurricane is bearing down, the database can be updated with that information before take-off. If a tornado happens to spring up at the closest emergency landing airport just at the same time as a hijacking - oh, well. So we'll lose an airplane. But odds are very good that won't happen.

cyphertubeNovember 23, 2005 2:42 PM

@ronys

El Al has been doing the job of actually screening passengers for years. That is more likely to provide real security.

I hate to point it out, but with all the crap that comes in the plane to begin with, you could have everyone naked with no carry-ons, and still have enough equipment to hijack a plane.

Davi OttenheimerNovember 23, 2005 3:53 PM

Groupthink is such a contentious issue, but it seems like Vanstone was representing a common perspective and therefore completely justified in her comments.

Thus, you might say that her opposition have actually "trivialised an important issue" by choosing to focus controls/spending on airline passenger cutlery and refusing to back it up with logic or reason.

Perhaps if more leaders read a few chapters of "Why Great Leaders don't take Yes for an Answer" by Michael Roberto they would be more welcoming to sharp insight and fresh contributions and leave behind those who fail to dissent with vigor and intelligence.

http://www.sterlinghoffman.com/newsletter/...

Thomas SprinkmeierNovember 23, 2005 3:54 PM

They must be putting something in the water here...

This morning I heard of a judge urging lawyers to protect the constitution from politicians.

Could common sense be breaking out?

Jon SowdenNovember 23, 2005 3:57 PM

"It made for some funny bleeps at the security gate in Amsterdam, though"

Heh. I went through security in Darwin/Dili a few years ago. We had to hand in our bayonets, but were allowed to keep our rifles - and any other knives we happened to have on us. The guy at the metal detector looked pretty embarrassed as his machine went ape each time one of us went through, openly carrying firearms, etc.

Alex LokeNovember 23, 2005 4:07 PM

While I agree, I don't especially trust the source...

Unfortunately Vanstone is known in Australia for a series of serious political blunders - such as the abysmal treatment of asylum seekers (including unlawfully shipping an Australian citizen to the Phillipines).

The Left aren't particularly enamoured with her -but I expect that's mainly because she tows the party line a little too loyally.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanda_Vanstone

I guess a broken clock can be right at least twice a day....

AndrewNovember 23, 2005 5:14 PM

Anonymous above is 100% correct. Vanstone is responsible for implementing some of the most xenophobic and vile policies Australia has devised in recent times. Normally this matches Howard's 1950's-style WASPish world view perfectly, but in this case she got up his nose.

One of the few sensible things she has said in recent times.

She's also one of the world's most physically unattractive women. Her supersized proportions and )lack of) taste in clothes earned her the nickname "The walking sofa".

A solid walking cane or Maglite flashlight are airline-legal objects which can be used effectively as weapons, as perhaps can most of the things she discussed.

AlexNovember 23, 2005 5:17 PM

Anyone know why lighters are banned? What? I'm going to cause an explosion with the small amount of fuel in a lighter???

Pat CahalanNovember 23, 2005 5:38 PM

@ jojo

> Any well-trained martial artist could easily rip your throat apart, remove your
> eyes or snap your neck before you could do much of anything.

Movie theatrics aside, this isn't as easy as it sounds... again, it'd be pretty easy against an unsuspecting target, but anyone who is aware is going to take a little bit of effort to take out bare handed, unless you're *really* good.

And by *really* good, I mean "trained extensively on a daily basis for several years", which most terrorists don't do for obvious reasons. Heck, most military training doesn't involve robust hand-to-hand training. You learn a couple of quick judo tosses, a little bit of knife fighting, and if you're in the special forces maybe some JKD or jiu-jitsu. Army common sense states if you're using your hands against a target you're already pretty likely to be a statistic - I don't think they even train extensively with sidearms anymore.

A 9mm or .45 against an AK-47 is a losing battle.

Military types are concerned with shooting people and blowing stuff up, and that's going to be the largest chunk of training time. You're certainly not going to be spending 3-4 hours a day practicing disarms, chokes, and trapping maneuvers.

Also, anybody who's spent time studying any martial art knows that once the number of targets gets above 2 you're in serious, serious trouble even if you are vastly more skilled than the enemy. I'd bet money on a group of 10 yahoos vs. anyone this side of Grandmaster Cho or an equivalent, unless they're dumb enough to run at him one at a time.

Throw enough bodies at somebody and you're going to take him/her down, end of story.

Gerd RauschNovember 23, 2005 6:28 PM

@Jon Sowden

"Heh. I'd go for it too. Asleep is the best way to travel by air ;)"

There you go, the future of anti-terror-travel.

Of course, there will be a few people who
expose allergic reactions to the anesthetic
and die.
But you have to be willing to make some
sacrifice in the name of security.

Can't be much worse than the airline food.

The lawyers will be having a field day:
"Sexually abused by flight attendant while
sedated on flight to New York".

The Myth of Security at Canada’s AirportsNovember 23, 2005 8:18 PM

Wow, it's pretty sad to see that kind of backlash against a senator speaking the truth!

In contrast, a couple of years ago, a committee of 9 Canadian Senators published a report titled "The Myth of Security at Canada’s Airports". The report even starts off by talking about why "PLASTIC KNIVES DON’T CUT IT" as a security measure.

It goes on with specific recommendations to actually improve security such as reinforced, double cockpit doors. Here's the report:

http://www.parl.gc.ca/37/2/parlbus/commbus/...

There is some idiocy to report, though. The head of Canada's largest airport, Louis Turpen of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority refused to cooperate with the committee. You would think that he might be a little bit interested in improving security.

Charles WatkinsNovember 23, 2005 11:07 PM

Well of course it's theatre. Remember when they just checked photo id and asked about carry ons? Who the hell would that stop? But the flying public ate it up. It looked like security so they felt secure.

TankNovember 24, 2005 8:32 AM

Quote: "Forget the wine glass. My favorite - anyone who has shattered a CD or DVD knows that the fragments are often razor-sharp."

Are you thinking that will be better for cutting the chicken dish ?
Because you're going to get your head kicked in trying to threaten someone with that. Same goes for the pencil and the *plastic* drinks glasses on planes.
You don't need a boarding pass to find this out... try it in any setting with identical results.

If you missed the point this isn't a how many sharp things can you think of contest. The idea is what poses a threat to personnel of the airplane.

You most certainly can stab someone's eye out with a pencil. But at that point you are still just a guy holding a pencil. You can also do that on a train with the same non-relationship to gaining control of it. Hell... give a ferry attendant a wedgie while you are at it.

TankNovember 24, 2005 8:44 AM

BTW you do all realise these comments aren't about security right ? It's just a government minister bitching about having to use plastic cutlery (perhaps she ordered the shoeleather steak) in first class on her way to give another press conference on why indefinite detention of asylum seekers is good security policy.

The US senator who said that the indefinitely detained prisoners at Gitmo get two types of fruit also had a good point about nutrition.

Cutlery really aint an issue for those with their lips sewn together or on hunger strikes over security policies.

peemilNovember 24, 2005 11:49 AM

"Okay, so maybe that was a bit graphic for the Rotarians."

You don't know a lot about Australian Rotarians... They're crazzzyy... :-)

HarroldNovember 24, 2005 12:06 PM

Ceramic knives with plastic handles won't easily be detected, they are far bigger than a box cutter blade.

The point is that banning non-weapons because they can be weapons is pointless if security is able to keep real weapons away.

9/11 was a lucky blow. We've seen nothing like it since. The surprise attack was key to its success, not the box cutters.

If anybody else tried to do the same today, even with a full on ceramic knife smuggled on board, who would know how to fly and direct the plane to hit a target?

If the cockpit door is simply locked, how would you get in?

Every day in Iraq we have proof that bombs can kill and guns can kill. Yet with 155,000 foreign troops, the Iraqi military and the Iraqi police, this cannot be stopped.

The evidence is clear that stopping terrorism is not a matter of banning things, killing others or thinking that force is the way out. Violence begets violence.

In the end, good security can simply make the job harder, but terrorism will never be stopped unless justice, economic well being, fair and honest communication, etc. become commonplace.

Terrorism is partly the result of the world militaries getting so powerful that traditional revolution is nearly impossible.

One way to spread democracy is through a positive example. It is through the thoughtful and kind of use billions of dollars to help people rather than suppress them. It is through the expansion of liberties. It is through increased communications and education that we can not only admit to past mistakes, but also take corrective actions against the oppressed who may, just may, have a legitimate beef, even if their way of expressing it has no justification.

What religion says that violence brings peace? What ethics, morality or philosophy suggests that war and brutality lead to civility and honor and love?

UnixroninNovember 24, 2005 12:45 PM

Personally, I suspect I wouldn't be focusing very well at all with a pencil stuck in my eyeball. ;)

She's right on the mark. Once again, the Emperor has no clothes, and is most upset when called on it.

El BizarroNovember 24, 2005 5:56 PM

Yes, Vanstone, for once in her life is right. She is, however, a psychopathic bitch. I can imagine how this came up - her and one of her sycophantic aides on a long distance flight pissed as farts on all the free bubbly in first class.

"Why, I could just take this wine glass and break it and cut your throat with it"

"Ooh, yes you could"

"Or this pencil, I could shove it through your eye"

"Ooh, how ghastly"

"Or I could force feed this inflight magazine down your throat until you choked"

Etc etc to the sound of aforementioned sycophantic aide nodding their head and cooing and awing at Amanda's terrible brilliance.

Yeah, she's right, airline security is like stacking deckchairs on the titanic, but I don't think you'd like her solutions. If I know Amanda, like I know Amanda, her solution would be something like:

"Ban all non-white, non-christian, non-english speaking and non-rich people from flying and you will solve the problem".

Thank's Amanda, you're a star...

AnonymousNovember 24, 2005 7:48 PM

Well I agree with her comments, but I don't know anything about her. I also dis-agree with the it's difficult to kill someone with 'bare-hands'. It's not difficult, it's quite easy and you don't have to kill someone, you can simply paralize them with next to no force or kill them. Any well trained combat martial artist will know this and be confident doing it. Military and especially a professional terrorist would be.
Besides, if there are 20 people I have a knife, a broken CD/DVD, a piece of glass, or a pen, if I put you in a hold and threaten to kill you, do you really think a bunch of people will jump you....probably not, they wouldn't the blood of the individual on their hands.
Maybe one might be stupid enough to try, so you slice the first guy's carotid artery, and then take out the assailant.
Granted if 10 people pounce on you, they will get you. That's how police do takedowns all the time. But if your trained, someone will pay before they get to they are successful.

JohnNovember 25, 2005 6:25 AM

Well, interesting discussion, to which I would add 2 comments.

1. Last year, I tried to take sparklers (long metal 'stick' that sparkles when lit) on board, along with some christmas crackers (match head sized banger), but both were rejected.
2. anyone can buy a nice large bottle in duty free, and I suspect that a broken bottle is more scary than a pencil!

Anonymous HowardNovember 25, 2005 9:38 PM

Vanstone should know a thing or two about security... Like how indefinite imprisonment of men, women, and children for the awful crime of fleeing one's oppresive homeland is a great way to create new enemies where once there were friends.

That said, I think I'd much rather be stabbed by a blunt metal knife than with the sharp end of a broken-off plastic one. Used in the right places, sharpness more than compensates for flexibility and brittleness.

In fact, with a bit of sand paper, any broken hard plastic is a potential weapon. Not to mention keys on lanyards, bottles (broken or not), and belts with metal buckles. Or virtually anything else other than blunt-tipped scissors which you are allowed to bring on board.

On the idea of arming everyone, let's not forget that passenger-to-passenger violence is the number one killer in the air, before heart attacks, DVT, CAT, and way ahead of terrorism.

Keeping that in mind, perhaps our priorities shouldn't lie with real security as opposed to apparent security. Terrorism is a comparatively small threat (the whole idea of terrorism is to instill fear that is disproportionate to the threat by using shock and awe tactics). Security measures that could truly provide effective prevention would most likely come at the cost of even more highly-strung passengers ready to jump at each other's throats would likely cost many more lives.

Bruce SchneierNovember 25, 2005 9:48 PM

"On the idea of arming everyone, let's not forget that passenger-to-passenger violence is the number one killer in the air, before heart attacks, DVT, CAT, and way ahead of terrorism."

Do you have a citation for that? I'd like to use that fact, but I need evidence that it's true.

A ProhiasNovember 26, 2005 12:00 AM

Bruce,

I don't believe passenger-to-passenger violence is the number one killer in the air as claimed. I believe it is DVT. I don't know if there is a single authoritative source to prove this, but here is a great start towards credibly establishing the extent of air-DVT related deaths:

http://www.airhealth.org/incidence.html

Bruce SchneierNovember 26, 2005 6:29 AM

"I don't believe passenger-to-passenger violence is the number one killer in the air as claimed. I believe it is DVT."

Certainly DVT (deep vein thrombosis) is the greatest health risk of air travel. But my guess is that the deaths occur after the flight lands.

But I don't know.

ProhiasNovember 26, 2005 1:48 PM

Yeah, that distinction is valid Bruce. I think risk of air travel to a person should be evaluated in a little more wholistic way (I don't believe you disagree).

Even more significant is that most people go about flying unaware of this terrible reality. Excuse me for getting personal: you appear to rack up a lot of miles. I hope you follow recommendations to diligently exercise your feet and legs every 30 minutes, or wear a compression stocking.

We are all aware that cardiovascular disease is increasingly becoming a killer of older people. When someone with cardiovascular risk factors gets a heart attack and is medically treated, they are rarely asked about flying in the past week as a catalyst. The next time a frequent flyer moans about airline security, you know what to tell them :-) Sorry for the propaganda but it is a worthwhile cause.

Bruce SchneierNovember 26, 2005 1:54 PM

"Yeah, that distinction is valid Bruce. I think risk of air travel to a person should be evaluated in a little more wholistic way (I don't believe you disagree)."

Oh, I agree. It would just be cool to be able to state as fact: "Passenger-to-passenger violence is the number X killer in the air," for whatever X is fact.

davejNovember 27, 2005 5:00 PM

I don't think they've gone far enough with banning items potentially used as weapons. As for cutlery who cares. Food could be pureed and drank in paper cups or bowls. To insure absolute safety I think everybody should fly naked, crew included.. Of course somebody with a pair of 44DDs could attack and kill, but what of way to go.

tony_gNovember 29, 2005 1:45 AM

Far better than a wine glass is the three-in-one weapon: a bottle of brandy, whisky or other high-proof liquor. When full, it can be used as a club; broken, it can be used as a stabbing or cutting blade; and the contents are highly inflammable. Moreover, you don't have to carry one all the way through airport security. They'll sell you one from the duty-free shop right on board.

FinNovember 29, 2005 7:29 AM

Recently I bought a bottle of reasonable brandy in duty free. The only thing strange about that is that the container was rectangular and plastic. As far as passenger safety goes I admit that this has a minor impact to terrorists, however it does mean that incorrectly stowed bottles which do fall out of overhead lockers periodically will give you a nasty bruise rather than scars or concussion. My dad has scars to prove it on two occassions. Once a bottle and the other time a wooden frame displaying a decorative wooden sword.

RichDecember 1, 2005 10:34 AM

A really effective flight safety measure would be to ban alcohol sales. I'd love to see stats on how many problems drunk passengers cause.

newtDecember 1, 2005 4:23 PM

The airline security situation in Australia is worse than you think it is (and probably worse than Senator Vanstone thinks it is, too).

Australia has two "tiers" of domestic ommercial passenger aviation. The first tier involves airlines like Qantas running Boeing and Airbus jets between Australian capital cities. The money is made on the trunk routes between the Eastern capitals: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, but for completeness' sake most of the large airlines also run services to Hobart, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin.

The second tier is "regional". Airlines you've never heard of before (mostly owned by controlling interests from the major airlines) like Rex, Airlines of South Australia, Kendell, and so on. They run twin-engine turboprops like Saab Metroliners and Cessna Conquests to tiny little towns all over the countryside, most of which have populations in the vicinity of 10,000 people.

Because the populations are so small, the airports serviced by these airlines are also small, and have hardly any movements per day. The Saab which Rex sends to Port Augusta this afternoon might be the only aircraft that operates out of Port Augusta for the entire day. The "passenger terminal" is often little more than a transportable building parked next to the runway. The aircraft's captain loads baggage and issues boarding passes when he's not flying the plane. It's a real cottage industry.

Anyway, the small city airports *have no passenger screening*. None at all.

They represent a huge hole in the system.

Lets say you're a terrorist and you want to get an Uzi into a Boeing 767 over Sydney.

You'd start by getting in a car and driving out to a little town in the middle of nowhere -- lets say the regional city of Whyalla in South Australia, population 15,000.

From Whyalla you'd call up a travel agent and book a flight to Sydney. The agent would need to get you to the nearest capital city from Whyalla, then they'd need to get you from that city to Sydney. So you'd end up with two tickets: One of them on Regional Express' daily Cessna Conquest service to Adelaide, then a second ticket for a Qantas flight in a 767 from Adelaide to Sydney.

You'd then drive to the airport in Whyalla and board your first flight. No security screening whatsoever because it's a regional airport, so your Uzi can be safely carried in your cabin baggage.

Upon arrival in Adelaide, you're air-side! You enter the terminal via the arrival gate, just like you would if you were arriving on any other flight, even though you haven't had any passenger screening.

Then, in Adelaide, you'd board your 767 service to Sydney, with your Uzi still in your cabin baggage. What you do with it after that is entirely up to you.

There are hundreds of regional cities in Australia which are serviced exactly like that. Whyalla/Adelaide/Sydney is by no means unique; I've regularly flown out of Brisbane and watched passengers from arriving regional flights parading into the terminal while I've been on the other side of a glass wall queuing for the metal detector and x-ray for my own baggage. *NONE* of Australia's regional airports offer any kind of screening at all, and *ALL* of Australia's capital city airports accept arriving passengers from regional flights into the domestic terminal without additional screening.

The only useful conclusion to draw is this:

Since the Australian aviation security regime erects zero barriers in the way of anyone getting weapons or explosives on-board commercial airliners, and since commercial airliners aren't blowing up or getting hijacked, the only possible explanation is that nobody wants to attack Australian commercial airliners.

If nobody wants to attack Australian commercial airliners, I'm left wondering why our Government has spent billions and billions of dollars on security screening equipment and staff at our capital city airports. These resources are clearly being wasted by screening exclusively honest people -- It's the only possible answer, because there obviously aren't any dishonest people, otherwise our airliners would be dropping out of the sky!

On Tuesday, ex Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser made a speech in which he accused the Australian Government of exploiting terrorism fears for political gain (http://abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200511/s1519473.htm)

I think everyone in your country and mine understands the truth of that sentiment, but there's a weird "denial of the obvious" field erected around our respective press corps, and individual reporters aren't approaching the subject matter because they fear the response the last few years worth of propaganda has lead them to expect.

newtDecember 1, 2005 4:32 PM

The airline security situation in Australia is worse than you think it is (and probably worse than Senator Vanstone thinks it is, too).

Australia has two "tiers" of domestic ommercial passenger aviation. The first tier involves airlines like Qantas running Boeing and Airbus jets between Australian capital cities. The money is made on the trunk routes between the Eastern capitals: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, but for completeness' sake most of the large airlines also run services to Hobart, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin.

The second tier is "regional". Airlines you've never heard of before (mostly owned by controlling interests from the major airlines) like Rex, Airlines of South Australia, Kendell, and so on. They run twin-engine turboprops like Saab Metroliners and Cessna Conquests to tiny little towns all over the countryside, most of which have populations in the vicinity of 10,000 people.

Because the populations are so small, the airports serviced by these airlines are also small, and have hardly any movements per day. The Saab which Rex sends to Port Augusta this afternoon might be the only aircraft that operates out of Port Augusta for the entire day. The "passenger terminal" is often little more than a transportable building parked next to the runway. The aircraft's captain loads baggage and issues boarding passes when he's not flying the plane. It's a real cottage industry.

Anyway, the small city airports *have no passenger screening*. None at all.

They represent a huge hole in the system.

Lets say you're a terrorist and you want to get an Uzi into a Boeing 767 over Sydney.

You'd start by getting in a car and driving out to a little town in the middle of nowhere -- lets say the regional city of Whyalla in South Australia, population 15,000.

From Whyalla you'd call up a travel agent and book a flight to Sydney. The agent would need to get you to the nearest capital city from Whyalla, then they'd need to get you from that city to Sydney. So you'd end up with two tickets: One of them on Regional Express' daily Cessna Conquest service to Adelaide, then a second ticket for a Qantas flight in a 767 from Adelaide to Sydney.

You'd then drive to the airport in Whyalla and board your first flight. No security screening whatsoever because it's a regional airport, so your Uzi can be safely carried in your cabin baggage.

Upon arrival in Adelaide, you're air-side! You enter the terminal via the arrival gate, just like you would if you were arriving on any other flight, even though you haven't had any passenger screening.

Then, in Adelaide, you'd board your 767 service to Sydney, with your Uzi still in your cabin baggage. What you do with it after that is entirely up to you.

There are hundreds of regional cities in Australia which are serviced exactly like that. Whyalla/Adelaide/Sydney is by no means unique; I've regularly flown out of Brisbane and watched passengers from arriving regional flights parading into the terminal while I've been on the other side of a glass wall queuing for the metal detector and x-ray for my own baggage. *NONE* of Australia's regional airports offer any kind of screening at all, and *ALL* of Australia's capital city airports accept arriving passengers from regional flights into the domestic terminal without additional screening.

The only useful conclusion to draw is this:

Since the Australian aviation security regime erects zero barriers in the way of anyone getting weapons or explosives on-board commercial airliners, and since commercial airliners aren't blowing up or getting hijacked, the only possible explanation is that nobody wants to attack Australian commercial airliners.

If nobody wants to attack Australian commercial airliners, I'm left wondering why our Government has spent billions and billions of dollars on security screening equipment and staff at our capital city airports. These resources are clearly being wasted by screening exclusively honest people -- It's the only possible answer, because there obviously aren't any dishonest people, otherwise our airliners would be dropping out of the sky!

On Tuesday, ex Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser made a speech in which he accused the Australian Government of exploiting terrorism fears for political gain (http://abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200511/s1519473.htm)

I think everyone in your country and mine understands the truth of that sentiment, but there's a weird "denial of the obvious" field erected around our respective press corps, and individual reporters aren't approaching the subject matter because they fear the response the last few years worth of propaganda has lead them to expect.

K AndersonDecember 16, 2005 12:31 PM

While reading the list of weapons, I remembered something I was told while travelling shortly after 9/11.

The co-worker I was travelling with had a friend who, after the initial restrictions went into effect, travelled with a package of 3 golf balls and a clean pair of socks in his carry-on. To security, he was a golfer with sweaty feet. In the event of a problem, he could drop the golf balls into a sock to make a blackjack. I just carried my keys with me.

AnonymousNovember 1, 2007 10:45 PM

I'd just like to point out a pretty obvious problem with the Big Red Button idea. There are lots of little airstrips that are almost unattended. So now the terrorists just need one guy in the air to get belligerent once his GPS tells him he's in the right spot, and another to drive a cement mixer onto the Bumfuck ri-County Airport runway and run like hell. Easy for a pilot to see and avoid, but will there be enough time for the air traffic controllers (if there are any) to call the FAA (or is it DHS? or FBI? or CIA?), get to the person who can override the controls, and wave them off? Our government's response time is not nearly sufficient to fly a plane.

ceccoFebruary 2, 2008 10:37 AM

We need better security policy, not only limited to check in. I remember you that this is a world wide problem, so we need a world wide solution.

flights beijingApril 19, 2010 2:31 AM

I agree with this... "We need better security policy, not only limited to check in. I remember you that this is a world wide problem, so we need a world wide solution." If there is security, there is safety.

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