- Everyone must stay seated one hour before landing on international flights. (This assumes, of course, that nothing happens at all while the plane is cruising.)
- No blankets or pillows or items in laps in the last hour of a flight. (Will baggy clothing, sweaters or hoodies be next?)
- No announcements from the cockpit about cities, landmarks or perhaps even when planes start to descend. (Some travelers may shout “hooray!” but most appreciate progress reports. Are we really thwarting terror by not knowing whether the city seen out the window is Kansas City or St. Louis. Hint: If it has a big river and arch, it’s St. Louis.)
- No route-tracking displays on international flights. (Anyone with a watch can, with simple calculations, roughly estimate where a flight is at any given time.)
- No laptop computer use in-flight. Some passengers reported this. Let’s hope it’s simply over-aggressive low-level TSA officials, air marshals or flight crews.
It seems pretty clear to anyone with a brain that these new rules will do nothing to actually stop terrorist attacks. I don't think that any terrorist will say "oh, I won't be able to track my flights progress so I better call off my attempt to blow the plane up". And what if a terrorist does get up 10 minutes before landing? What are they going to do? Shoot him? One would think in the time it takes the stewardess to get up from her seat and tell him to sit down, he would have already blown up the plane.
The new rules they should immediately implement are simple. Anybody in any of their "suspected terrorist" databases gets extra screening. Everybody. Given the full body scanning technology out there, it seems like it would be pretty quick to get those that require extra screening, screened without too much hassle. Even if the list is 500,000 people long, how many of those are flying at any given time?
There are reports that the terrorist got on the plane without a passport. Apparently the story given to the airline personnel was that he was a Sudanese refugee and that he didn't have a passport. While it is good that the personnel were only human and wanted to help, those rules are there after all for a reason and there should be little tolerance for their circumvention. Now I would understand if there was some leeway for Sister Mary Catherine on her way to a new church or someone who was clearly a retiree from Sarasota, Florida but a muslim paying for a ticket to the US in cash with only a small carryon and no passport? Doesn't that sound suspicious at all? Maybe you wouldn't circumvent the rules in that instance?
As usual government finds an idiotic way to try to fix the problem, promoting the illusion that "the system is working".