Saturday, August 12, 2006

The best approach to fighting air terrorism may be the simplest

The New York Times today printed an editorial that asks a provocative question: is standardizing the near-ban on carryon items used by British airports in the wake of the foiled liquid-bomb plot the cheapest, most effective solution to improve air security?

For the past fifteen years, I've traveled up to 75,000 miles per year on airlines, including a fair amount of international travel. I usually carry on at least a backback briefcase stuffed with a laptop, PDA, music player, books, crosswords, documents, snacks, etc. It's almost inconceivable that I could survive a trip with merely a Ziploc bag of personal items.

Yet I know I could survive. We all could. And the airlines could go a long way toward making it tolerable on board without all your own stuff--bring back onboard meals, a selection of magazines, sophisticated video and audio entertainment a la JetBlue Airlines, even decks of cards (remember when those were offered on every flight?).

And investing additional billions in more complex detection equipment, which the next terrorist innovation will evade, is almost too depressing to consider.

How about it? A no-carryon policy to combat air terror. We could live with it.

(Photo from AP/Wide World Photo)

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