Flying the Unfriendly Skies with New Airline ‘Security’ Measures


Removing shoes, getting scanned and patted down doesn’t cut it anymore amid tightened airport security following the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day. Now, we’re being told to “hold it” during the last hour of flight, and the flying public is understandably pissed off.

While there are plenty of green remedies for bladder infections, there is little to placate the anger and stress resulting from the ridiculously long lines and humiliating security steps all resulting from the human factor: the government and airport employees did not do their job to keep a potential bomber off of a commercial plane.

This, despite the fact the would-be bomber paid cash for his ticket, had no luggage, and was reported dangerous by his own father, a prominent Nigerian banker. Sure, we can sit still for an hour, but not for months to come when we are forced to pay the price of incompetence.

Use of restrooms is a health and human rights issue. My bladder hurts just thinking about it. It’s bad enough we can’t use the toilets in most stores where we shop and spend money, let alone on an airplane where we’re trapped. No Starbucks down the street or other place to go, instead.


Referred to as a “smokescreen” by CBS News, the tightened security restrictions are seen as a knee-jerk reaction to the attempted attack on Friday. Nigerian suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was  flying from Nigeria to Amsterdam and then the U.S. when he tried to ignite the highly explosive PETN substance he had hidden in a soft plastic container on his person as the Northwest Airlines prepared to land in Detroit.

Passengers arriving on international flights were treated like naughty children, ordered to stay put in their seats during the last hour and not use blankets to cover their laps or their babies. They had to refrain from opening overhead bins to get their stuff and keep their hands in clear view.

CBS Travel Correspondent Peter Greenberg argues the one-hour flight rules are merely a bad camouflage attempt for not dealing with the real issues of how the guy cleared security in Nigeria and twice in Amsterdam, and was still able to board the airliner.

“The real problem here is that, tomorrow, if someone tried to detonate a bomb on a plane and right before he detonated it, he sang, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would issue a rule tomorrow saying no singing on a plane.”

Therefore, if someone roots through their carry bags or socks or steps into the bathroom before trying to explode a plane, we the passengers should not be allowed to do those things because it is now deemed a security risk. Passengers are sounding off about the measures, including letters in the L.A. Times that argue Americans are tired of paying the price of failed screening and lapses in human intelligence.

“We are so inept that instead of proactively listing people like Abdulmutallab on no-fly lists, we must torture the traveling public by denying them the use of the restroom,” wrote William Josephs of Encino, Calif. “During recent years, I have given up flying almost entirely, especially since the nonsense with the shoes began. Liquids were next, and now, woe be unto the poor individual suffering from gastric distress on any descending airplane.”

Another letter said it is ironic that we are told to stay seated to keep the plane safe, while “in every flight since 9/11 it is the passengers, up and wandering about the cabin, who have provided the only effective defense against terrorism. It is clear that there is only one requirement for joining the management team at the TSA: You must have first failed an IQ test.”

Images: Los Angeles Times, CNN

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.