December 28, 2009

Shaken sense of safety and security scramble

As you may know, a foiled attempt to blow up Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam as it approached its destination into Detroit on Christmas Day, left the world frightened and the TSA scrambling to try to figure out how to prevent such incidences from happening again. In case you’re not up to speed, 23-year old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was intercepted by passengers as he tried to light an explosive device that he had hidden under his clothes. He was taken to the cabin and searched by the airline crew for additional weapons and then transferred to the hospital to be treated for minor burns that he incurred when the bomb’s detonator failed to light. Abdulmutallab, who is of Nigerian descent, studied in London and Dubai, and has an otherwise clean record. He claims to have trained in Yemen with Al Qaeda. He was listed on a government “watch” list after his father alerted authorities that his son might be up to no good, but evidence had not been gathered to qualify him for the  “no fly” list.

Following the incident, the TSA issued changes to security procedures, including two screening stages for all international travelers, the prohibition of in-flight entertainment (like our Live TV!) during the first and last hours of flight, no blankets during the last hour of the flight, and- perhaps most discomforting- the inability to leave one’s seat during the last hour of flight.

The reactionary response was later revoked in part. Thankfully, we can now resume our normal offerings of Live TV on every flight, but Customers may experience longer waits at the security line and at the gate (we ask that all travelers arrive one additional hour early). We do assure everyone that they are free to use the restroom when they please!

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