As many of you know, a terrorist attempted to detonate an explosive device onboard a Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day. At this point, the design of the explosive device is under investigation, but it appears clear that the terrorist, who described himself as working at the direction of Al Qaeda, attempted to ignite an incendiary device that would have involved the plane’s fuel system, resulting in a conflagration and explosion capable of bringing down the aircraft.
As of today, December 27, 2009, the Transportation Security Administration has NOT issued any specific new directives, as a result of the situation. The only information available on the TSA website was this “Passengers flying from international locations to U.S. destinations may notice additional security measures in place. These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same thing everywhere. Due to the busy holiday travel season, both domestic and international travelers should allot extra time for check-in.”
Several international airports have been conducting increased security checks, including more frequent use of “pat-downs” to check for concealed devices that may be inert until mixed with other elements. In addition, many airlines are once again restricting carry-ons to one bag, which may not be accessed during the final hour of flight, if the flight is landing in the United States. In addition, these same airlines are requesting that personal items not be placed on the lap during the final hour of the flight. It appears that other airlines are restricting the use of blankets as covers during the final hour of flight, due to the terrorist covering himself with a blanket before he attempted to ignite the device he was carrying. Finally, many airlines are restricting passenger movements in the cabin during the final hour of flights (better head for the bathroom before this period or you may be stuck in your seat).
We will report more details on the potential for increased airline security when it happens. For now, it seems prudent to arrive at the airport early if you will be boarding an international flight for the United States.
As always, we recommend prudence when flying or when traveling away from home. While we cannot speak for others, in our opinion, the rest of the world is too important to ignore and too beautiful to disregard. We will continue to travel, as we believe that knowing more about other cultures is the best road to understanding and, eventually, peace.
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