There have been quite a few news headlines lately about how al-Qaida is apparently planning five attacks on commercial airlines flying to Europe around Christmas.
I have several flights to/from Europe around the holidays, so when my mom heard the news today she instantly sprung into “scared” mode. My response whenever these kinds of threats are discovered is to say that I’m ultimately happier knowing about the threats which have been uncovered, as opposed to the countless number of threats we don’t know about. After all, what you don’t know about can’t hurt you… until it does.
Anyway, I’m not an intelligence expert so won’t chime in further there. Instead I’ll just share what’s apparently being considered as a possible preventive measure.
The United States and United Kingdom are considering banning carry-ons and electronics in cabins on flights this holiday season.
In response, counterterrorism officials on both sides of the Atlantic have been discussing how to prevent the attacks. One remedy under consideration is to ban all carry-on baggage, though there is some question as to whether airlines would push back against such a draconian provision.
Another possible remedy: banning electronic devices from the passenger cabin. Officials are discussing whether to require that electronics such as cellphones, iPads and computers be placed in the cargo hold with checked baggage, which goes through a much more rigorous screening process. Detecting a bomb, if there is one, would be more likely.
As far as I’m concerned this simply isn’t an option. There’s no way airlines can pull this off. On so many levels. You simply can’t expect passengers to check their valuable electronics, not to mention completely disconnect — without a cell phone, laptop, etc. — for as long as they’re flying. What is this, 2005? 😉
I’m not denying the threat is real, and it sucks that the rate at which technology is improving also applies to the “bad guys.” But banning electronics and/or carry-ons is such a logistical nightmare that you might as well just stop flying, in my opinion.
Do you see any way that they’d be able to pull off a ban on electronics and carry-ons?