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Sunday, December 27, 2009

The one that always gets away

As most of you have seen in every form of news media, there was another plane bombing attempt over the Christmas break, which thankfully was not successful.

Now, the agencies which should focus more on "how the hell did this guy get the explosives on the plane" have instead focused on "how can we harass regular folk more" after this incident..

The latest reports read(this is from Times)

"In the final hour before landing in the US, plane passengers are now banned from standing up, using toilets, opening lockers and covering themselves with blankets."

What next?

In the final hour before landing in the US, plane passengers will have to get naked and freeze on their seats when the pilot says "freeze". They will not be allowed to move till the plane lands and the pilot says "unfreeze"?


One stupid dude gets through and now every airline passenger will suffer for it the next three years or so. Especially pity those who now have to travel with the elderly or small kids.

I still remember,

a. having to throw away my baby's milk at a security counter only to find that the plane carried no milk

b. my wife's 75 year old grandmother having to remove her mangalsutra(thali) at the check point and her refusal ending up in extra searches

c. so many shaving gels, toothpastes, etc. being tossed for their size (I still think if you are really a bomber, you would figure out a way to do the damage within 100ml of volume!) and the fact that the toothpaste clearly smelled like kids gum, had Dora on it and my little one was ready to even eat and show it was indeed toothpaste all falling on the deaf years of the security inspectors whose only qualification seemed to be a healthy hatred for humanity..

d. the extra long double, triple safety checks at international airports, for US bound flights only

e. my relative who was standing in his undies in front of everyone because his pant was not able to hold on its own when he removed his belt at the security checkpoint (come on now... if you have a big tummy which expands and contracts with every meal, you have have one of those wide belts and you try holding a boarding pass, a wallet and your pants all at the same time and trying to have your hands flat so the security dude can do his metal detector thingy on you!)

More security measures will be underway over the next few months they tell us.

If I cannot be part of the solution, would like to be part of the problem.. not the terror problem, but the airport security problem!

Going forward they should make a new rule that all passengers will be given a plastic poncho/jump suit kind of thing before the flight. It will come with a "built in undie" and that will be the only thing they will be allowed to wear on the flight. The jump suits will be color coded by airlines and will have advertisement logos on them from sponsors.

All other things like poonals, aranaikayars, thalis, etc. etc. will have to be packed with the clothes and jewelry and put in the suitcase. No carry on baggage of any kind will be allowed.

You will be weighed before and after you come out of any restroom and MRI'ed to verify that there are only expected changes in your body after your restroom session. As an added bonus, airport doctors who watch your MRI will give you a free prescription for your problems they find during the scan. They might even reassign your seat with respect to the bathroom location, based on what they find in the scan.

This way no need to search anyone.

Time to start "airclothing.com" and start getting those sponsors for the jumpsuits and make some money.

Oh wait, isn't that how they transfer prisoners on airplanes in the movies?

Next time maybe if our entire family takes swimming lessons and starts rowing fast enough, we could go visit relatives in India by boat?

Seriously, flying is going to be soooo overrated!

On another note, what was this guy thinking? Blowing up a few people on air and a lot more on the ground is going to do what? (other than make those TSA inspectors snap on new gloves and smile their evil smile). Also, even with all the convoluted logic of 70 virgins waiting for this dude after he kills himself and everyone around him (all media tells us that the number 70 is accurate, although no one seems to have come back from the dead to verify the headcount of the virgins), what use are 70 virgins if you have blown your groins to smithereens?

More than a quarter of a million people perished in a Tsunami five years ago and the world keeps turning.

Now what can we do to stop more of these "undrawer" bombers from getting on planes? How can an average airline passenger dude like me help? ( No, I will not stop complaining about how airline travel has become a crappy experience..)

Please tell us how to make things normal again or at least go in the right direction?


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I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Vidhya wrote...

you wrote it in a funny manner. but yes, air travel as it is with kids is difficult. Add to it these checks.
i got lots of baby food jars in my bag and had to open every one of them and taste them. And these jars are to be used within 1 day if not refrigerated. So other than the little what is consumed, everything goes waste!!!

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 11:07 PM, Blogger Sanand wrote...

This is both informative and thought provoking. It is so sad that air travel which was meant to be more convenient has become the most inconvenient way to travel. Some people have nightmares the day before they are about to travel because it has become so mentally taxing.

Nice post and it is good to find the humor in the content too.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 11:21 PM, Blogger Kavi wrote...

The question is where will this end ?

In a recent case ( two - three day old ), a chap who went to clean the plane, hid himself in the toilet...and bingo the plane took off.

I was scared. That they might come up with no toilets in planes !

its possible ! Sigh !

Virgins ! Bah !

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 6:50 AM, Blogger janani wrote...

Hmm I agree with you 100% about inconvenience of air travel. I prefer driving mostly within the US. But I think this inconvenience is a small price to pay to stay alive and let others stay alive too.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 10:49 AM, Blogger Doli wrote...

Point e was really funny although it might have been very embarrassing for your cousin :) As you pointed out rightly, travelling by air is becoming a pain day by day

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 10:55 AM, Blogger Sundar Narayanan wrote...

vidhya, it will be very difficult to bring older people who have to use restrooms frequently on flights.

Anand, Welcome to this blog.


Kavi, great question? Where? and you are right, pretty soon no restrooms in flights. today's news is no wifi will work on flights.. so no checking emails, web browsing etc. as of today on inbound US international flights.. don't know about domestic.

Janani, we all put up with a little bit of extra inconvenience every time and it becomes okay to inconvenience people and the funny thing is someone is going to come up with a newer way to breach security.

first shoe bomber ->now remove shoes and belt and put on security counter.

next underwear bomber -> no going to restrooms..

next, some guy will come with a pan paraag bomb and before you know it, no food on the airplanes..

the point is that these inconveniences do not make us any safer. how many things can you check?

If this guy had links to terrorists, how did he not show up on any watch list and how did he get on a plane? I know people who have Khan as their surname and they get questioned every time at airports! it is ridiculous.. now this guy just gets on a plane?!


this is the problem. if they stop harrassing people with elders and kids and spend more time

a. looking people up and down who seem suspicious
b. double check against watch lists

maybe things would be better..

the TSA has a lot to learn from Israeli airport security.


I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Vidhya wrote...

Yes, I agree. I have not traveled with older people on flights, and these checks help make trips as un smooth as possible.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 2:50 PM, Blogger janani wrote...

>> if they stop harrassing people with elders and kids

Then all terrorists would travel with old people and kids! :-)

As for watch lists - people get onto those lists after their known involvement with some illegal activities. What about first timers? And even if an all encompassing watch list does exist, wouldn't you feel safer on flights knowing such security measures exist?

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 7:03 PM, Blogger Sundar Narayanan wrote...

this was right on!


those inspectors at the airports are not going to catch the real deal. they are only good enough to harass people who put up with it.

this is like the highway patrol who catches the dude doing 69 on a 65 speed limit zone and lets the dudes who are racing at 90 between the cars with no regard for life go.

kids milk, old lady mangalsutra's etc. dont do shit to the planes. but the agents waste precious time with these things that the real problem dude smiles, and slips through. the agents are probably happy that this guy has no food containers, no prams, etc. to be checked and are happy to let him slide!

at least that was the point of the post.

the gizmodo post is a more direct take.. instead of my attempted humorous one.



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