After one attempt and a copycat
scare to bring down American jetliners over Detroit, Michigan in as many days,
the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has implemented new policies
restricting passengers from going to the bathroom or having blankets in the
last hour of flights. It does not take a genius to realize this is a
meaningless response to terrorism since the terrorists can just act sooner in
flights. What it is though is the Brady approach to airline safety.
Brady Laws, as they are known, named for James Brady
who bravely took a bullet to save the life of President Reagan in 1981, place
restrictions on law abiding citizens to purchase guns, as criminals do not buy
guns from lawful dealers. The same applies to the new FAA rules restricting
airline passengers from going about their normal business. The parallel is
clear - rather than taking immediate action to screen potential terrorists by
requiring the screening of all passengers in oversees stopover flights to the
United States, the Obama administration is taking feel-good actions to limit
the actions of the average law abiding citizen.
there's CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations which published a story
on December 7, 2009 called "Passenger Makes
Up Islamic Terror Fantasy" which is meant to villanize Americans who fear
Muslims in air travel when terrorism is done in the name of Islam. The fact is
Americans have every right to be concerned with their personal safety. Had the
airline Christmas Day 2009 passengers heading to Detroit followed the Brady
Approach and waited for police to arrive to arrest Northwest Airlines Flight
253 Islamic terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, they would have all been dead.
Passengers took decisive action to save their own lives and those on the ground
- the people who took action are heroes just as Captain Chesley "Sully"
Sullenberger is. They all went beyond the call of duty and saved lives, but for
some reason they have not been recognized as the heroes they are.
By this time, Al-Quada and other terrorists are
rethinking their methodologies to implement the same explosives on American
jetliners while the Obama administration is working to block what has already
failed and probably won't be tried again. President Obama is playing checkers
while Al-Quada and other terrorists are playing chess. Sure, it is hard to
anticipate the plans of terrorists, but that's Homeland Security's job.
From a consumer standpoint, the Obama administration
has done nothing to belay consumer fears. The reason airlines now charge for
the things people used to take for granted like checked baggage is that the
airlines are struggling to keep alive in an era of cost cutting with heavy
competition. Today's airlines work on pennies per air-mile for profit, making
their money on volume, so by not immediately addressing air travel consumer
fear the Obama administration is inherently inviting hard financial times on
the ever-struggling airline industry.
business standpoint, travel has become somewhat obsolete. Seminars, meetings
and training sessions are regularly held via Internet video. Travel is time
consuming, taking valuable time away from other projects. Business travel,
therefore, is reserved for making an impact statement, be it in sales or
From a recreational travel
standpoint, consumers are doing what they have to, and the longer the total
air-travel time becomes, the greater the chance potential air-travelers will
just drive instead of fly. People don't want hassles so while the new FAA rules
may forbid blankets in the last hour of a flight; nobody wants to wait an hour
to go to the bathroom. Let's face it - convenience travelers do not want to be
denied basic conveniences.
But that's not how the Obama
Administration sees it. The liberal view is to regulate the usage of inanimate
objects and even bathrooms while conservatives want to regulate or block
personal behavior. Safety, however, is not a matter of political labels, at
least it shouldn't be. The question is how to address the issues in a way that
improves security and reassures air travelers. So far, the answer has been to
make every air traveler feel like criminals by instilling movement restrictions
on passengers as if people are cargo. This does little to either reassure air
travelers of their safety or to actually address safety.
Implementing cosmetic changes alone sends the
message that the Obama Administration thinks American consumers are stupid and
will not realize that putting a red ribbon on garbage does not improve the
garbage. Right now the last thing airlines want are jittery potential
customers, so the administration needs address actual security concerns. That
is if they want the airline industry to survive.