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Passengers flying into U.S. face stricter security measures

Travelers taking international flights to the United States today faced pat-down searches, new limits on carry-on luggage and more thorough screening at airport checkpoints after a Nigerian man who claimed to have ties to Al Qaeda allegedly tried to bomb a jetliner headed to Detroit.

Federal authorities have called on airlines and airports around the world to tighten security measures, including frisking all passengers headed to the U.S., extra scrutiny of carry-on items and limits on passenger movements during the latter part of a flight.

Umar Abdul Farouk Mutallab, 23, today was charged with attempting to ignite an incendiary device aboard  Northwest Airlines Flight 253. The flight, from Amsterdam, was preparing to land in Detroit on Friday when the incident occurred.  Passengers overpowered the suspect and the Airbus 330, with 290 people on board, landed safely.

After the incident, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advised airline passengers that they would see additional screening measures related to domestic and U.S.-bound flights and advised travelers to report any suspicious activity or behavior to law enforcement officials.

The new rules limit on-board activities by passengers and crew members while in U.S. airspace. Among other things, passengers must remain in their seats during the last hour of the flight and cannot have access to their carry-on items or place any personal belongings in their laps.

Because of the heightened security measures, airlines and governments worldwide advised passengers to arrive at the airport early and to expect delays, missed connections and canceled flights.

"I understand why this is being done, but I feel like we are playing into their hands. It's like a Catch-22," said Grace Regnier, 65, who arrived at Los Angeles International Airport today aboard a WestJet flight from Edmonton, Canada, that was delayed two hours.

Regnier and her companion, Pat Cunningham, flew to Los Angeles to take a cruise along the Mexican Riviera. At the Edmonton airport, she said, they went through scanners twice and everything in their carry-on bags was inspected.

An hour before landing, Regnier said, the passengers were not allowed to have anything on their laps, use any electronic device or leave their seats, even to use the lavatories.

In response to the U.S. government's heightened security, Canadian officials have ordered airlines and airports to conduct additional screening, limit travelers to one carry-on item and restrict passenger movements. Canadian officials also advised passengers to arrive early at airports.

In Amsterdam, travelers bound for the U.S. underwent pat-down searches while airline passengers in Belgium were advised to report to the Brussels airport three hours early to allow for a second security check at the boarding gate.

At London's Heathrow Airport, travelers headed to the U.S. were searched twice and allowed only one carry-on item, and Italy's civil aviation authority required more thorough searches of passengers and baggage.

Airline and government officials said the restrictions had been imposed indefinitely and varied from airport to airport.

"The Department of Homeland Security immediately put additional screening measures into place for all domestic and international flights to ensure the continued safety of the traveling public," said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. "We are also working closely with federal, state and local law enforcement on additional security measures, as well as our international partners on enhanced security at airports and on flights."

The new measures were noticed by Diane Sen, 23, and Neil Dass, 24, of Portland, Ore, who spent their honeymoon on Fiji. Before boarding their overseas flight to LAX, they said they were screened three times and saw extra staff and guard dogs patrolling Nadi International Airport.

Sen added that she did not mind the additional scrutiny and the thorough search of her carry-on bag. "The more we have, the better we feel," she said.

-- Dan Weikel and Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: Northwest Flight 253 (Northwest is the parent company of Delta) sits on the runway in Detroit, having landed safely after an alleged attempted terrorist attack. Credit: J.P. Karas / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (34)

I am always amazed by people who would rather die than be inconvenience. All carry-ons should be banned and all passengers patted down or body scanned.

They remind me of people who though they may not be global warning deniers still oppose anything that will cost them money even if it can avert a catastrophe. Both groups never really took the admonition "you can't take it with you" seriously.

Here we go! Punish the innocents and ignore the obvious!
Why are we letting anyone from Nigeria in this country?
When are we going to stop ignoring the obvious and stop harassing old American (not simplyUnited States Citizens, that means nothing, real American) women in wheel chairs?
Maybe when we stop affording asylum to Somalis (who then go on vacation to terrorist training camps).
Doesn't this country have standards anymore? Can we please regain our sanity and close the door to the dregs.

I don't mined! Let's hire the Israelis to do security the right way!

This is ridiculous. So I am expected to just remain in my seat for the last hour and I am not to bring carry on bags when I fly now. The very bag I bring on the plane because I dont trust the airline to not lose my luggage. So out of millions of people flying we now have 2 instances of people trying to blow up planes in flight, both of which failed. Because of this I now have to put up with even more useless security measures. So not only can I no longer fly with such deadly objects as toothpaste, toothpicks, tweezers, deoderant, or a toothbrush, I now have to sit in my seat without anything in my lap. Total waste of time.

i just wonder what is going to happen to the kids who are crying one housr before the flight and people with weak prostate who need to urinate or people who fall sick and have to sue the bathrooms.

i can understand the extra pat down and even a last miute check of the carry on baggage but his is insane. medically this is not allowed. we shoudl think of the reasons why this happened in the first place.

people will stop flying shorter flights like lax/las vegas, sfo etc.

This is silly. It's never been little old ladies from Canada trying to bomb US airplanes.

We need decent profiling and we need it NOW.

Passenger safety trumps the PC, anti-profiling ridiculousness.

I agree with those who say that these restrictions just play into the hands of the terrorists by restricting our freedoms, one big step at a time.

First, after 9/11 we had to all be searched like criminals, from little children to old people and nuns. Had to leave our luggage unlocked, and ever since, theft from luggage has skyrocketed, including by baggage handlers. ANd ADDED the risk that someone could slip something into our luggage after it's screened: if they can steal, they can put things INTO our luggage.

After Aug 06 we can't bring water past the gates or onto the plane. So when the plane is delayed or hot we sit and swelter and thirst. The new ruling that says airlines can only make us suffer like that for 3 hours is little consolation.

Now we will be physically patted down even more thoroughly. And since they can't risk "profiling" those most likely to blow up planes, that means rubbing down middle aged and elderly women and children, too.

NOW we must stay in our seats for the last hour AND CAN'T EVEN USE THE TOILET. There will be a long last-minute line so this means that really, we'll have to line up at least 1 1/2 hours before landing or poo and pee in our pants. (No, there's no "polite" way to put that kind of indignity we're being forced to endure.)'

This is physical cruely that animals would not be allowed to be subjected to. Especially to those with bladder problems, the elderly, pregnant women, and children. And what kid can sit still that long? It's torture for claustrophobes. On top of not being able to access laptops or cell phones last hour - you can't land with laptops, so you will have to put them away well before the last hour, a serious disruption to business flyers.

AND WORSE OF ALL IT MAKES NO SENSE because a determined terrorist could just blow up a plane well BEFORE the last hour. When they try THAT, will we be strapped down the whole time, and forced to wear diapers?

Will we be strip-searched if one of them smuggles something in in a cavity or his underwear?

WHERE will it end before they start "profiling?" Yahoo News reports are that this terrorists' own father went to the US embassy in Africa to warn them about him being dangerous but was ignored because he "had no proof." HOW STUPID. What father in a Muslim country would do such a thing if he didn't have very good reason? He was already known to associate with Al Qaeda.

Instead of common sense we're ALL being treated inhumanely.

Just how long did they spend thinking about the impact of these new regulations? I mean, they came out with them in one day and they're all addressed to this one, specific terror plot (even though the terrorists do something new each time).

So far, the ONLY effective security measure has been the other passengers beating the crap out of any would-be terrorist.

So I have to ask, what do these security measures accomplish? Are they going to make people wet their pants if they can't hold it? Or is the idea that pissed-off passengers will be even more likely to attack terrorists?

I would pay good money to fly on an airline where everyone just accepted the risks and we didn't have to put up with these ad hoc rules.

I just don't get this and am shocked that people go along with the creation of random rules AFTER ONE INDIVIDUAL does something preposterous. No getting out of your seat one hour before touch down??? How militant! How insane! A modern western nation creates a militant rule for civil aviation after a third-world moron brings explosive on board THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN STOPPED IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!

Isn't this insane??? Fear Fear Fear. We are ruled by fear throughout our daily miserable pathetic lives. This whole world is going to the pits... And we all deserve it because we let things like this take place. We let one uneducated, slimy dirt bag low-life from a third-world country dictate HOW WE ARE GOING TO LIVE!!!

Why couldn't an effective rule have been in place BEFORE something like this took place? Why wasn't the shoe incident a few years back enough of a reason to fix things so this didn't happen?

Why... If there was an answer to this then 9/11 would never have happened. WE Americans allow it to happen, by putting band aid on world problems.

WHY WAS THIS PERSON GIVEN A TWO-YEAR VISA????!!!! Fire the idiots that gave it to him!!! There was Not enough background??? How insane is that statement?

I really wish you terrorists that think this is an awesome and amazing thing to do would get a life. It is almost 2010 and airplane high-jackings are a thing of the past. How about move into the twenty-first century and do something a little more creative with yourselves. This is starting to seriously get annoying. That is all you little pests do is annoy people, nothing more. Hint hint...1 man cannot take out a plane with some 230 passengers. How about investing your time in taking out credit companies or something by cyber crime. It is the twenty first century after all.

As much as I love travelling and visiting friends overseas, this latest additional screening has totally put me off travelling (I am in Australia). There are security measures then there are security measures. How many wet plane seats are there going to be if one can't get up and go to the lavatory - an hour is a long time to some people to hang on - and then the added time having to wait till one gets off the plane! I am all for having security measures but not when they go overboard with them. What has happened to the body scanning equipment and normal scanning procedures? And checking for bomb residue on electronic equipment? Wasn't that sufficient? Or is it, that some airports like the one this terriost came from, relaxed so much in their checking procedures? Last time I travelled (3 years ago) I was still having to take off my shoes to get them scanned, no liquids on board, laptop scanned, camera looked at, twice through different scanning checkpoints, hand luggage checked and already limited carry on items - I believed that was sufficient.
I think common sense needs to prevail here, I do believe in security measures but not when they go insane and make travelling completely unpleasant.

"The new rules limit on-board activities by passengers and crew members while in U.S. airspace. Among other things, passengers must remain in their seats during the last hour of the flight and cannot have access to their carry-on items or place any personal belongings in their laps."
So for the last hour of the flight, I am safe from some nutty person; but what about the rest of the flight. I am sorry but this does not make any sense to me. Would someone explain the logic to me.


Why is there never a MOVIE of what took place ... you mean to tell me in this age of CCTV there are no hidden cameras on planes? Yes, I know dont give ideas but please ... with all the security you can not tell me there is no such device on board planes. I know, that would add to already skyrocket crazy costs of flying.

In closing, I feel the majority of airports do a FABULOUS and kind job with passengers coming/going -- Ive never had troubles outside of long waits sometimes, and hope people keep showing respect where due. And vice versa.

As a person who loves to fly and travel I find the security restrictions and the hoops we must jump through just keep getting dumber and dumber. I thought the 3 oz or less of liquids was an extremely dumb restriction but this... Now passengers are not going to be allowed to use the restrooms during the last hour of the flight! Ridiculous, this borders on human rights violations. Nothing like being a prisoner on an airline flight these days. You are going to force people who may have to relieve themselves to hold it for over an hour. Don't be surprised if passengers start soiling the seats. What if someone is sick and need to vomit, in that last hour? Guess they get to throw up on everyone around them.

Now we won't have access to our carry-on items for the last hour of the flight either or have anything in our lap, absolutely ridiculous. Anyone who is on a short flight of 1 hour or less who planned on getting some of there business done on the flight is now out of luck. You won't have access to that laptop, or even your business papers to read. You can just forget about preparing for that business meeting you will be attending when you get off the plane.

And if it wasn't bad enough the airlines are sticking it to the flying public by charging them for every checked bag, now we are being propelled down the road of not being able to have carry-on luggage period. First it's you can't touch the luggage during the last hour of the flight, next it will be no carry-on luggage allowed. Flying really sucks these days!

Why don't you just make everyone fly naked and be done with all these stupid rules? If everyone flew naked they wouldn't have too many places to conceal anything that could be used as a weapon. For hygienic purposes you could line all the airline seats with those paper covers that they use in a doctors office and change them out for the new passengers after every flight. This really might solve many of the security issues.

And for the Nigerian idiot who caused the latest airline rule changes and all future idiots who try to blow up an airline in the USA or anywhere, could our government and other governments take the proper stance and execute the man pronto, rather then detaining this jerk as a permanent inmate in the prison system.

There is a slight error in the article: Delta is the parent company of Northwest, not the other way around.

At any rate, its saddening that these measures had to be put in place, and I'm concerned that we're addressing the symptoms and not the problem. The problem with this is that we really need to stay one step ahead of these people, even if it means profiling not based on ethnicity but instead potential risk and background.

Have a safe and happy holiday season, everyone.

How ridiculous,.... a few mentally unstable individuals behave badly (read as, dangerously),.... and we all are now subjected to the punishment, indefinitely.
As IF, many people are going to follow the mentally unstable individual's lead.
I don't think so. Over-reactive policy here in place, once again, limiting the movements of the well-behaved people over 1 or 2 incidents.

Wow, if this same way of thinking was applied to a myriad of other things that people routinely do in life, no one would be able to move an inch without 'breaking some security rule.'

Hmmm,... after all, Tim McVeigh, (AMERICAN terra-ist) outfitted a rented Ryder truck with an explosive device. Wonder why renting a truck hasn't been outlawed yet? ???

And nope,... the so-called 'security' measures don't REALLY make anyone safer, because there are a myriad of NEW ways that if another mentally unstable person wanted to attempt to inflict harm on many, that he or she likely could,.... 'security measures' or no security measures.

And with all the delay in airport terminals, with literally thousands waiting around for hours, I think THAT is much more of a security nightmare waiting to happen,..... 'cause NOTHING is screened before people enter an airport terminal, nor is anything screened when vehicles enter an airport parking area or drop off area.

Wake up people. These new "security measures" are more b.s., (just like taking off your shoes, throwing away all liquids, scanning for metal, etc.)
NONE of those security measures stopped this NEW incident.

When will it stop????.... when everyone rides naked and shackled ????

Can't wait to ride on those pee stained airplane passenger seats, left behind by those who "couldn't hold it", during that last hour of flight when he/she was denied the lavatory.

I just checked the calendar and its not April 1, so this can't be one of those
"Ha-Ha, Gotcha --April Fool's!" news articles.

Therefore, one is left attempting to deduce some explanation for the hasty announcement by Homeland Security of Irrational and Idiotic new security
measures for airline passengers:

1.) Secretary Napolitano is on holiday and Inspector Closeau is Acting Secretary
until she returns next week.

2.) This was considered the best way to position the Department to defend
itself in next years budget allocation and maintain a bloated payroll
of thousand of good-paying jobs for U.S. citizens with a high school
diploma or G.E.D., no felony record, and no other marketable skills.

Additionally, it offers department employees relief in paying down their
post-holiday credit card bills by increasing next months paycheck
by working unlimited over-time.

3.) Taking note of the timing of the incident on the Northwest flight to Detroit on a Friday stock market closed holiday.

Taking note of the announcement of new security measures so quickly causing question of whether they may have been drawn -up and composed prior to the incident involving the Nigerian passenger.

Taking note that the suspected terrorist is reported to be a university student in London and son of a former Nigerian ministry official and bank chairman.

One then asks whether or not our Dept. of Homeland Security may have been infiltrated by one or more operatives in a new version of the classic "letter
from the Nigerian Minister and Bank Chairman" scam.

The new security measures add no measurable degree of safety
while contributing immensely to making a flight to or through the U.S.
into a torturously burdensome and uncomfortable ordeal.

Analysts of the U.S. airline industry and travel related industries will calculate
a significant reduction in spending on discretionary air travel to and through
the U.S.

We will see the result Monday morning when stock market trading resumes with a significant drop in price of the stock in these companies.

If a Nigerian con is on - expect to see tens or hundreds of millions of dollars
in profits in brokerage accounts holding "Put Options" in these stocks.
Most likely through The City - London.

Please request your state attorney general's office and the S.E.C. to put a temporary freeze on international transfer of funds from trades in these stock

Also don't let them forget that certain actions carried out with intent to cause
damage and decline to U.S. companies and economy are covered under the U.S. Patriot Act and other statutes and are punishable as forms of "terrorism".

Great, another civil liberty destroyed in a too-late knee-jerk reaction to yet another failed attempt.

When will we as Americans take back our liberties and say ENOUGH?

The horse is out of the barn...it's too late to close the door now.

Orwell must be spinning in his grave. My goodness what's next an undergarment check. "1984" has nothing on this madness.

Gotta keep that paranoia flowing and stomp some more on our civil rights! Soon, we'll ALL be slaves - to the government. We already work about a week a month for the government, all of us except for criminals - the new darlings of the U.S. Let them all in (oops, think we already did) so they can thieve, rape, torture, and murder us - and then be pampered and protected. But just let me get on a plane and go. Enough with this rubbish. I suspect they'll be hiring proctologists soon in order to inspect each and every bodily orifice...too bad a proctologist can't help them get their heads out...

Glorifying terrorism is the worst mistake we are making. These hasty actions , post facto, are nothing but instilling more confidence in the minds of the terrorists. They achieved the result they wanted. FEAR in everyone and destruction of economy . The airlines will see reduced travel, extra expenses. and additional losses which will be recovered from the traveler in the name of additional security charges. Why cant all the intelligence the country has , find such people and eliminate them.

It is sad that no one in our multi trillion dollar government thinks of finding a way to eliminate the cause rather then band aid the symptoms.

Glorify heroism and not terrorism.

And here we witness the skillfully manufactured insanity of present day humanity:
Grace says; "I understand why this is being done, but I feel like we are playing into their hands..." You are Diane, you're hanging on the bad end of the puppet string.
Then Diane Sen says; "... that she did not mind the additional scrutiny and the thorough search of her carry-on bag." "The more we have, the better we feel,"...
It's a very good thing that humans do not require intelligence in order to 'feel better'...
Enjoy the euphoria Diane.... while it lasts.
So, Georgie (Skull and Crossbones member) Bush, Sr. finally gets his New World 'Odor' a.k.a. the Nazi Reich, Part Deux, ticking along quite smoothly thanks to sonny boy Georgie (Skull and Crossbones member) Bush’s' skillful manipulations to create the faux Nero-Burns-Rome/Hitler-Burns-Reichstag events of 9/11 (19 FABRICATED hi-jackers of who I was personally told by an AZ Flight School could barely drive or park a car or finish a 1/2 hour written exam in under FIVE HOURS!) and the Georgie-Father of all, George Orwell, is finally and fully vindicated!
Amazing how just yesterday this was a firecracker ignited on an aircraft by a jerk, and today it got promoted to "incendiary device" and overnight the perp got 'hired' by the Al Qaeda media corporation. Useful, all so useful.
I really don't know which is worse; abject slavery or bottom line stupidity?
PS: Psssst, I have a very few bridges left for sale, cheap.

Correction:" You are GRACE, you're hanging on the bad end of the puppet string.

Besides venting your frustrations here, why not start harrassing your elected officials about going overboard on security?

The InformedSkeptic, go away. Your tripe has no use in this blog/forum/newsstory.

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