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#21 Ryan

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 01:23 PM

I'm with you Drew. The checkin people wouldn't go for laptop purse.

I think this was a Canada specific policy, and to a degree was specific to Detla/Northwest (although all airlines were imposing some level of restriction). All of the travelers I saw in Miami and Minneapolis had their usual overstuffed roll aboard and overflowing shopping bags.

Leaving Canada, they required camera bags to be checked. I was able to carry on my laptop, but had to check its bag.

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#22 davelew

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 01:59 PM

Depending on which measurements you use, flying is still safer than driving. Yet we all go on the highway like it's back in the womb safe.


Nate Silver did some analysis on this, and came up with the chance of any given plane being targeted by terrorists was 1 in 16.5 million, and 1/3 of terrorist attacks on planes in the last decade have failed to injure anybody other than one terrorist who burned his own groin.

Is there any other part of our lives in which we devote so much effort, time and money to reducing the risk of a 1 in 17 million chance?

#23 echeng

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 07:42 PM

From the front page article:

Following the December 25 incident on Northwest airlines, TSA has tightened security measures for travelers, which means that travelers should arrive at airports earlier for increased security checks. In addition, some countries have instituted carry-on baggage policy changes. Although not all airlines have posted updated carry-on baggage policies, examples of new security regulations can be found on both United Airlines' and American Airlines' websites:

- United Airlines new security measures
- American Airlines new security measures

Specifically, it seems that flights to the United States from Amsterdam, Brussels, London, and Canada have changed policies that would make it difficult for photographers or passengers carrying sensitive or fragile equipment to travel. Furthermore, on some flights, passengers cannot get up or have anything in their laps during the last hour of the flight.

The United and American security sites seem to agree on the following security changes:

For travel from all foreign locations to the United States:

- new security measures (more screening)

For travel from Amsterdam, Netherlands, from Brussels, Belgium, or from London, England to the United States starting Dec 30 or 31, 2009

- one carry-on bag only

For travel from Canada to the United States starting Dec 28, 2009

- no carry-on baggage that customers might have access to during flight, with some exceptions, including small purses, cameras, coats, laptops, medical supplies, musical instruments, and more

We'd love to hear from you if you have seen any changes in airline security policies that would affect traveling for SCUBA diving or for underwater photography.
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#24 dirtydave

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 09:47 PM

This just reinforces my resolution to avoid travel to or through the United States. They have every right to react to the last scare, just as I have to avoid their country. Instead of concentaring on the people who are the problem (and you know who I mean) they are forcing the rest of us to suffer. God save us from political correctness. How about targeting the potential trouble makers (yes, I'm talking about profiling!) and leave those of us who don't fit the profile alone. I don't see too many western diver terrorits!

#25 echeng

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 11:13 PM

How about targeting the potential trouble makers (yes, I'm talking about profiling!) and leave those of us who don't fit the profile alone. I don't see too many western diver terrorits!

The latest attempt was by a Nigerian man. That does not fit what most people consider to be the "profile." Or, are you just talking about targeting all non-whites?
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#26 dirtydave

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 12:33 AM

The latest attempt was by a Nigerian man. That does not fit what most people consider to be the "profile." Or, are you just talking about targeting all non-whites?



Sorry Eric the latest fool terrorist exactly fit the profile, IslaMIC extremist, on a terrorist watch list, coming from a known hotbed of Islaamic trouble makers (Yemen). i don't care what color your skin is, nuts exist everywhere but customs screens people every day. I have been pulled over many times for fitting the profile of a drug smuggler. (Young single male traveling alone with long hair and beard, carrying lots of bags to/from countries with drug problems) It is an inconvenience to be the only one checked on a flight but I understand why they would check.

What I object to is the poor security wasting time and effort on non likely suspects and allowing real problem passengers onboard out of some sense of political correctness. They even gave this last fool a Visa, although he was on a watch list. Why bother with a watch list if you don't even use it to screen people?

I happen to live and work in an Islamic part of the world, with Islamic students and friends and know that the overwhelmingly vast majority have peaceful intents but I also know where the nuts are being harvested. Let's use some common sense in screening people.

Edited by dirtydave, 31 December 2009 - 12:48 AM.


#27 cor

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 12:44 AM

The latest attempt was by a Nigerian man. That does not fit what most people consider to be the "profile." Or, are you just talking about targeting all non-whites?

The profile could of course be "Anyone that the CIA has advance warning of that they could be potential terrorists and are unstable" :) Seems to be a pretty high match.
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#28 echeng

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 01:27 AM

Fundamentally, I agree that there should be some way to "profile" according to metrics that make sense, but I'm not expecting policy that adheres to common sense any time soon. But being extra careful with people on watch lists is probably a good start!

Screening is a joke these days, anyway, and until there is a better way to screen, none of this is going to be effective. "Oh -- there's a zip tie on the zipper? Hmmm. Well, just go ahead, then."
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#29 echeng

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 02:10 AM

Actually, I take it back. I'm against profiling of all kinds -- specifically, racial profiling. I'm all for centralized watch lists based on intelligence and for picking someone out of line randomly and for being extra careful if someone is doing something suspicious, but I don't believe that profiling can ever be done in a way that is fair. I don't have faith that a typical security person at an airport isn't going to just default to racial profiling if he/she is allowed to make his own decisions.

I can understand why non-Americans don't want to travel through the States. Every time I come back -- especially via LAX -- I am treated rudely and with suspicion, despite presenting an American passport and being American-born, raised, educated, and taxed.

Last month, when I presented my passport and customs form, the guy asked (brusquely), "Whatchoo doin' here?"

I replied, "I live here."

But I had to hold back my tongue to prevent a dry-cleaning dream joke from coming out of my lips. I know it's not worth it when civil rights have been flushed down the toilet.

It's got to be many times worse for *actual* foreigners coming through the States.
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#30 matt215

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 06:42 AM

I heard an interview on the radio with the head of security for an Israeli airline (El Al I believe is the name). this airline was reported to be the safest in the world (how they made that determination I don't know). Anyway, they asked him what is wrong with American security system, and he said "Americans are looking for the weapon and not the terrorist." I think it sucks that everyone who is traveling has to be treated like they are a major threat. Target people on a watch list, or from certain countries, or that have travelled to certain countries, or that have certain names. I hate racism and discrimination of any kind, let me be clear about that, but the individuals who are planning and carrying out these attacks fit a certain profile. you just don't see camera wielding divers trying to blow up planes!!! ok, i'll get off my soap box...
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#31 bearaway

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 07:52 AM

I heard an interview on the radio with the head of security for an Israeli airline (El Al I believe is the name). this airline was reported to be the safest in the world (how they made that determination I don't know).


El Al is well known for that. You can read more about the usual security measures on El Al on wikipedia
See http://en.wikipedia....#El_Al_security

#32 bvanant

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 11:06 AM

I heard an interview on the radio with the head of security for an Israeli airline (El Al I believe is the name). this airline was reported to be the safest in the world (how they made that determination I don't know). Anyway, they asked him what is wrong with American security system, and he said "Americans are looking for the weapon and not the terrorist." I think it sucks that everyone who is traveling has to be treated like they are a major threat. Target people on a watch list, or from certain countries, or that have travelled to certain countries, or that have certain names. I hate racism and discrimination of any kind, let me be clear about that, but the individuals who are planning and carrying out these attacks fit a certain profile. you just don't see camera wielding divers trying to blow up planes!!! ok, i'll get off my soap box...

Remember Timothy McVeigh, he didn't fit much in the way of Islamic Terrorist. More to the point, if carrying scuba gear or cameras get you a pass then you will see terrorists with cameras getting on board. Same with families with kids. If you are willing to die to blow something up then you most likely are willing to take your kid with you. One problem is that the U.S. is just too big a destination for economically disadvantaged folks from all over the world, many of them fit the Islamic terrorist profile but come here to go to school or get a job. Hard to figure out which ones are the bad guys though. Technology can help, but won't be fool proof. I travel quite a bit (200K miles per year) for work and the pain of the airport keeps getting worse. Hopefully we will be able to accept the fact that if a plane gets taken down we still keep going to work.
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#33 Drew

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 12:10 PM

I think it's important to note this
1. El Al is a very small airline and Israel is a small country. It's easier to profile for a place where the air traffic is much smaller and there isn't a melting pot compared to the EU or north America.
2. El Al's security protocols are based on behavioral pattern recognition and not only racial or religious profiling. It is assumed they target arab muslims only because they are the purported enemies. In 1972, it was the Japanese group JRA who killed 24 people in Ben Gurion airport. Then there was the hijacker Arguello guy who was American I believe. How about that for racial profiling misses?
If we are to count extremists and concentrate on the muslims, then we are also screwed since all anyone has to do is change passport and religion. Chechen radicals are purported to be in collusion with Al Qaida. Can even the Russians tell the difference between a Chechen or a Georgian or even a Russian? They are both with caucasian backgrounds. Any system that picks race as a factor is flawed.

The Israelis claim they don't do only racial profile. However, with the overwhelming issues of Palestine and the Arab world, and being human, the BPR system is subject to human frailties, so naturally race does enter into enforcement. There are freaks everywhere in every religious and racial background.

To add to Eric's own experiences, I've been asked that very same question before at DFW, SFO, JFK, MIA and HOU (but not at LAX because my address is in LA). While I'm very aware that there's a certain act of self-consciousness when someone asks me that question, whereby I ask what sort of stupid question is that to ask me since my passport says it all? I do accept that if everyone else is asked that same question, then I'm the thin skin idiot who's hypersensitive. I've asked my caucasian friends who travel as much as I do if they've ever been asked that question. None have been asked that. Now why is that?

Behavioral profiling in theory is very sound when enforced by people who are smart enough to know how to do it. However, how many people with the intelligence to really profile a person without bias would work at TSA pay scales when they can get an equally mundane job in the private sector for much more money? Even then, can anyone say they are without bias? I'm sure some of it is out of ignorance or stupidity, but my point is that it is a flawed system. Eric's concerns about TSA's handling is valid and is being proven correct with the current system.

Now the terrorists aren't stupid either. Once they know the system, they'll find ways to pass it. That's what the PLFO did by using Japanese and Umar sewed explosives into his underwear. All this knee jerk reaction is hysteria. To stop people for getting up one hour before the flight lands? No potty privileges? The terrorist can't prepare 1.5 hours before the flight? Inflight entertainment switched off so the terrorist won't be distracted?

Well my new year's party had the same topic since a few of the people were flying back to the US. One of them had their flight cancelled ostensibly due to the crew trying to reprogram the inflight entertainment to switch off 1 hour before landing and it blew out the entire system, resulting in a cancelled flight. She saw it as a sign to stay and party :)

Happy 2010...and unhappy travels with TSA apparently!

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#34 MIKE POWELL

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 12:54 PM

What's next...Surgically implanted explosives that can't be detected by body scanners?
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#35 echeng

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 03:07 PM

I get on a plane early tomorrow morning. Yippee! Happy New Year! :)
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#36 Poliwog

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 06:07 PM

This is what Alaska Airlines has to say (just in time for the Olympics! When one goes to the US (at least for Seattle flights) from Vancouver one goes through US customs before getting on the plane - I have been through this a few times but have not noticed if this operation has anything to do with Transport Canada, mentioned below):

I believe U. S. Immigration and Customs, and presumably, Homeland Security officials conduct pre-clearances in Canadian Airports according to U.S. F.A.A. rules and regulations. Canadian Immigration and Customs officials conducting pre-clearances in American airports would be guided by the Canadian Aviation Regulations or C.A.R.S. for shorthand. The establishment of pre-clearances by both governments in each others countries is a long established policy created in a time when the air travel industry was more interested in making a passenger's journey more efficient and pleasurable.

I vaguely remember an incident many years ago at Toronto Pearson International Airport concerning a passenger being informed that he was subject to American F.A.A. law now that he had pre-cleared through American Customs and Immigration while still in a Canadian airport. I don't know if the U.S. Immigration officer was bluffing or not, but thought the offending passenger would probably be turned over to the R.C.M.P. for charges to be laid in the event of an infraction.
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#37 scubaseven

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 04:32 AM

People just have to accept there are risks involved in living.


Agreed.
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#38 marcw

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 02:36 PM

Does anyone know if there will be an issue with carry-on of ULCS 8 inch strobe arms? I can see some agent having an issue with the shape?

#39 tie

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 11:38 AM

To add to Eric's own experiences, I've been asked that very same question before at DFW, SFO, JFK, MIA and HOU (but not at LAX because my address is in LA). While I'm very aware that there's a certain act of self-consciousness when someone asks me that question, whereby I ask what sort of stupid question is that to ask me since my passport says it all? I do accept that if everyone else is asked that same question, then I'm the thin skin idiot who's hypersensitive. I've asked my caucasian friends who travel as much as I do if they've ever been asked that question. None have been asked that. Now why is that?


I'm white and certainly have been asked that returning back to SFO. I have had bad experiences with customs agents in the US and other countries, too, and also nice experiences around the world. I feel like the US agents are a little more likely to be jerks, but usually they are very friendly.

#40 meister

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 10:29 PM

SNAFU...
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