Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shakes on a plane are now no-no's

Shakes on a plane are now no-no's. Some other liquids and solids are, too. Security measures have been constricted to better deter terrorists.

Q: What could be more rattling than watching a movie about slithering, hissing, scaly reptilians battling with passengers aboard Pacific Flight 121?

A: The prospect of flying with true-life, cold-blooded terrorists.

Recently, both stripes of snakes on a plane have generated substantial media coverage. However, the creepiness of the campy 2006 movie pales in comparison to the terrorist plot surfaced by a British undercover agent on August 10.

Terrorists were in the "final stages: of a plot to simultaneously blow up as many as 10 jets leaving Britain for the U.S., sending the planes and thousands of passengers into the Atlantic Ocean, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Thursday. British and Pakistani authorities teamed up to thwart the attacks, and 24 men were arrested in overnight raids in Britain, authorities said.

An undercover British agent infiltrated the group, giving the authorities intelligence on the alleged plan, several U.S. government officials said. (Watch as neighbors describe the dramatic arrests -- 2:18

Source: CNN.com - Agent infiltrated terror cell, U.S. says - Aug. 11, 2006

In response, British, Pakistani and American authorities have taken drastic measures to shed - or at least downscale - the probability of terrorist activity on airliners. Most liquids, gels, creams and lotions are now carry-on no-no's when departing or arriving at American airports. Consequently, many items popularly carried aboard, such as beverages, duty free liquids and personal care items, must now be checked with baggage or get grounded. Only baby formula and medicines that pass checkpoint inspection will be welcome in airplane cabins.

New restrictions affect departures from Great Britain, too. In the U.K., CNN reports, no hand luggage or electronic keyfobs may be carried onto a plane until further notice. The crackdown on keyfobs will likely shift the types and termini of ground traffic around airports away from personal vehciles and self-park-and-lock facilities toward alternatives.

Thisss circling of wagons may be inconvenient, yesss. But tightening security to keep snakes off planes works for me.