It seems that the UK government has completed a report after the NW253 incident, and I’m afraid if you’re a traveller, here’s a hint – it’s going to get worse.

  • A No Fly list is to be set up (well we’re only a few years behind eh?), including deep screening, and no entry into the United Kingdom at departure countries
  • New Intelligence teams to identify individuals who could be terrorists (Government intelligence? Oxymoron there. Moving on)
  • More information sharing – in other words, yes your data about your travels will be mingled more than it is at the moment.
  • A Harder push for e-Borders to implemented at all UK entry points (which is currently under investigation by the European Union for interfering with the rules of Freedom of Movement).
  • Direct flights between Yemen and the United Kingdom are suspended until further notice (which kiboshes Yemina’s services) due to security fears and concerns over safety are addressed.
  • Nude-o-Scopes (Millimetre Wave Scanners/Full body scanners)  to be introduced next week at UK Airports.

There have been calls for both deeper internal investigations to possible people in the UK, and the safeguarding of civil liberties.

In other words, expect some liberties to be whittled away in the name of security theatre (Let us remember that MMW scanners would probably not have picked up the bomb), and remember to leave plenty of time to get to the airport and get through security.

Just makes you want to pack your bags and fly off into the sunset eh?

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I think this video says it all really in regards to how silly some of the kneejerk reactions to the NW253 Incident for Canadians travelling to the USA….

Thanks to: Things in the Sky

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It seems what some considered as “little things” are making airlines lock down quickly.

Three people made verbal threats on the plane as it was taxing at Heathrow. The plane was brought back to stand, and Police swarmed on board. These people were arrested, and the plane brought back onto Heathrow T3, with armed police and sniffer dogs checking the plane out.  Other Heathrow operations were unaffected.

It seems that some people made the mistake of getting drunk before getting on board a plane….

In addition there have been incidents of planes being diverted inflight due to threats made “under the influence”.

In other words – go easy on the drink people!

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Well it sees the USA isn’t the only country that can do kneejerk reactions.  The UK Has commenced a review of airport security, with the upshot of it being Millimetre Wave Scanners (MMW) being implemented in UK airports for deployment by end of January.

How do they work?

According to Wiki…

Clothing and other organic materials are translucent in some extremely high frequency (millimeter wave) radio frequency bands.[2] This frequency range is just below the (related) sub-millimeter “Terahertz radiation” (or “T-ray”) range.

The millimeter wave is transmitted from two antennas simultaneously as they rotate around the body. The wave energy reflected back from the body or other objects on the body is used to construct a three-dimensional image, which is displayed on a remote monitor for analysis.

Obviously, there are privacy concerns, including the threat of abuse of images (although the promise of instant deletion of images quite frankly doesn’t wash with me), but it still boils down to one person behind a screen examining the images.

Herein is the problem. If a person is having an off day, and misses something – oops.

The big question is this however – Is this all just security theatre? By that I mean is it there to reassure the public that something is being done, or is it just a “Show of force” with nothing more behind it. It should be pointed out that no disclosed threat has been identified by security means.

Even the Home Secretary has confirmed this in his speech:

“It is clear that no one measure will be enough to defeat inventive and determined terrorists and there is no single technology which we can guarantee will be 100% effective against such attacks,”

- Alan Johnson, Home Secretary

In addition, Alan Johnson said there was only a 50 to 60% chance that a body scanner would have detected bomb materials allegedly carried on NW253.

Only combined with the possibiltiy of passenger profiling (which itself could open a whole kettle of fish), could this stand a chance in hell of working.

I think I know the answer to the security theatre question, and I’m sure you can guess what I think it is too…

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In very good news (and news I missed by my own admission) both Chris Elliot and Steven Frischling  have had their subpoenas for information regarding the now infamous SD-1544-09-06 TSA Directive withdrawn by the TSA.

In addition, the TSA will replace Fish’s MacBook that was damaged by the investigation.

The TSA describes their investigations nearing completion satisfactory. I call it a cockup of epic proportions – least of all thanks to Runway Girl finding out that a notebook that an agent was using was left in a public place.

My congratulations to Elliot and Fish. And since I read their blogs now, you’ll find them on the left hand bar to visit from here.

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Well with the massive changes happening, it seems that now this could hurt operators, with shares in Delta and AMR (American) dropping by about 4%, UAL (United) down 3.4% and US Airways down 6.7%, with fears that this incident will depress air travel further than it is at the moment, and that the extra costs of implementing security changes will affect the back pocket – let alone the experience in the ground or the air.

Meanwhile there seems to be some libraliation of the knee jerk reaction, with the following in the TSA Directives:

  • Extended security wait times, allow at least two hours for security at the gate.
  • A physical pat down by security at the gate prior to boarding all flights to the United States
  • A complete physical inspection of all bags being carried on flights to the United States
  • Flight crew may make no announcements or reference to position or landmarks while flying over US airspace

Maddening things like:

  • IFE shutdown T -1 hour before landing
  • Access to carry on items T -1 Hour
  • Blankets

have been recinded, pending further decisions by the TSA, however

  • Satellite Phones
  • Moving Maps

Are still awaiting clarification.

TSA Directive SD-1544-09-06 has been posted at  http://www.elliott.org/blog/full-text-of-sd-1544-09-06-authorizing-pat-downs-physical-inspection/ which is the initial response.

President Obama has requested a full review of airline security. In other words, Napoli and the DHS/TSA will have to get their ass out of gear and work for once.

The message for travellers alas is clear as crystal. Arrive early, Expect delays and expect everyone to be twitchy.

More advice and commentary:
http://boardingarea.com/flyingwithfish/2009/12/28/tsa-modifies-sd-1544-09-06-who-will-fix-the-broken-system/
http://www.elliott.org/blog/full-text-of-sd-1544-09-06-authorizing-pat-downs-physical-inspection/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8432947.stm

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It seems the airlines are taking deep action after the NW253 incident.

Companies have updated their travel advice to include:

  • Only one item of hand luggage, including items bought airside (British Airways and Virgin will not charge extra) 
  • If your presents are wrapped, check them in
  • Passengers subject to “pat-down” searches before boarding, on top of usual security checks
  • Customers to remain seated during final hour of flight
  • No access to hand luggage and a ban on leaving possessions or blankets on laps during this hour

Anyone can spell the words “knee jerk reaction?”

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British Airways

BA has imposed an immediate bag restriction on it’s US flights, restricting one bag per person only from Heathrow or Gatwick. Expect security checkpoints to have increased as well as well as other airlines following suite .

BAA is reporting  (Heathrow Airport)

“Travelling to the USA?  Passengers travelling to the United States should expect their airline to carry out additional security checks prior to boarding. To support this process, which will take time, please allow extra time to check in and limit the amount of hand baggage taken on to the plane.”


Air Canada has modified its restrictions too



“Air Canada advises passengers travelling to the U.S. that due to enhanced government security measures air travellers should arrive early at airports to allow extra time to clear security screening. Passengers should also expect flight delays, cancellations and missed connections, and limit themselves to a single piece of carry-on baggage.

Air Canada recommends passengers travelling to the U.S. to arrive early at the airport for their flight in order to allow adequate time for additional personal searches. Under new rules enacted by Transport Canada and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, passengers and their carry-on baggage will be subject to full searches both at airport screening points and prior to boarding at the aircraft gate area.

As a result of the added security precautions, passengers should also expect delayed and cancelled flights as well as missed connections. Air Canada will endeavour to transport passengers to their destination as quickly as possible and rebook passengers who miss their connections at no charge.

While these measures directly affect only flights from Canada to the United States, domestic and international flights may also experience delays due to airport congestion and delayed aircraft. For information on a flight’s status please consult www.aircanada.com.

 In addition, new rules imposed by Transport Canada will limit the amount of carry-on baggage to one item per person travelling on flights from Canada to the United States.”

Expect more changes as the story develops

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It seems that Delta/Northwest Flight 253 Amsterdam to Detroit had a little “fun” on it, with an attempted terrorism attempt on it.

A 23-year-old Nigerian man was trying to ignite an explosive device as the A330 begun it’s 20 minute approach to Detroit. He was overpowered by some of the 278 passengers and 11 crew.

Reports say he burnt his leg. No-one else was hurt. The suspect was in a database indicating “a significant terrorist connection” although it did not appear on a “no-fly” list (so much for intelligence eh?)

President Obama, has ordered increased security for air travel. Reports are indicating that  security is being increased at all ports heading to America especially at LHR.

Reporting:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8430699.stm
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2009/12/26/336620/passenger-attack-aboard-delta-a330-fails.html

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Welcome to GhettoIFE.com!

I’m your host – Kevin – and I’ll be here to guide you through the maze of modern travel, and hopefully add some insightful comment and humour.

With GhettoIFE getting on for 2 years old, I’ve had a bit of a design refresh, and tidied up, so for older viewers who make it here – yes, it’s the same content will all the usual sarcasm as always.

As well as random posts on the days events, my trip reports and a few other bits, there will be a few “regular” slots including:

  • The News – Commercial aviation news in a bite size ripped to bits segments.
  • Trip Reports – When I actually go swanning off to explore the world.
  • The Soapbox – Where I get to rant and moan about things – Signed Annoyed of Birmingham.
  • Airplane p0rn – Yes it’s my photography lovefest of air planes All clean for work. Published every Sunday.
  • How to save money … so far on telephone calls and how to get money on flights back via cashback
  • And analysis on IFE and what’s happening in the world of IFE

GhettoIFE.com is updated once or twice a day depending on what’s going on in the world when I’m at my base, and a lot less frequently when I’m away travelling.

All the posts have a slightly twisted and humours bent, and of course comments are open. Please feel free to drop your thoughts in.

I don’t Twitter, nor do Facebook – so it’s traditional email through the comment boxes or direct at blog@ghettoife.com

Thank you for choosing Kevin’s Ghetto IFE. We know you have a choice in blogs.

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