The ban on liquids surely makes sense given the lack of a reliable, efficient way to detect liquid explosives on the passenger screening line. But the other fine distinctions in this directive make us think the best approach would be a ban on virtually all carry-on items, or at least a limit of one small personal bag per passenger to tote travel documents, keys, vital medications, reading materials and any other minimal items that are allowed.Give me a break. Do you guys ever travel? Take a business trip? Do you ever leave your ivory tower and get on a plane and try to change connections in bad weather with all that checked luggage? Or do you just remain holed up in your office, dispensing words of wisdom from on high (with pen and paper, no doubt)?
When we raised the possibility of a ban on most carry-on items a month ago, there was a chorus of complaints from travelers who count on using their laptops during the flight; or fear that valuable electronic devices might be lost, broken or stolen if checked; or resent long waits after a flight to get their checked bags. Some travelers have already shifted to trains or automobiles for short trips and more will do so if the inconvenience mounts. These are not trivial issues. Airlines, already financially strapped, depend on business fliers who are the most likely to object to a change in the rules.
Airlines could head off some of these problems by, for example, storing valuable electronic devices in locked overhead bins where they can’t easily be stolen, and hiring more baggage handlers to unload planes rapidly. Separating people from their laptops during flights would be painful, although some people could surely use the time to go over reading material, or even revert to pen and paper.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
The fatuous editorial of the day prize ...
Goes to the New York Times. From today's editorial advocating banning carry-on luggage from flights in the interest of improving security: