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'Keep Your Hands Where We Can See Them,' Demands New TSA Flight Rules

December 28, 2009 at 9:39 AM | by | ()

Has this been the worst holiday travel weekend or what? Hopefully most Christmas flyers made it home last night safe and sound, but for those who fly today or later on this week, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has a few new rules to keep you on your toes at the security checkpoint.

In what is being called a "knee-jerk reaction" to the attempted terrorist act onboard Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day, the TSA introduced new rules. And, at the request of American authorities, international airports are stepping up their screenings for USA-bound flights. How long these new rules will last is unknown, but we're hoping the more ridiculous ones will fizzle soon.

So are electronics allowed on flights anymore, how many carry-ons can you have, and what's the deal with airplane pillows? Find out, after the jump.

Straight from the TSA, and Chris Elliott's blog, we have the directives that the TSA has asked airlines to use "a best faith effort to implement, as soon as possible..." for international flights heading to the USA. Be ready to be incensed:

· Boarding gate crew will perform a pat-down of all passengers and inspect 100% of passenger's carry-ons
· The 3-1-1 liquids rule will be strictly enforced
· Passengers must remain in seats within one hour of plane's arrival, with their hands clearly visible. During this hour, there will be no access to carry-ons and all airline pillows and blankets must be stowed.
· The in-flight entertainment map will be disabled throughout the flight. (NO WAY. This was our favorite channel!) And no airplane position announcements will be made.

A non-TSA directive that has been put into place by airlines like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, WestJet and Canada Air is to limit a passenger's carry-on items to one piece per person. Virgin Atlantic helpfully spells out the details: "this item should not exceed 23 x 36 x 56cm, (approx 9 x 14 x 22 inches) and 13lb/6kg." This means no backpack and purse or rolling suitcase and briefcase. If you do show up with one too many carry-on items however, the extra checked bag fee will be waived, and off it'll go into the cargo hold.

Amongst many rumors flying around over the weekend (one reason we waited to write this) was that electronics were not being allowed on international flights to the USA. This is not true—you may still bring your iPod, cell phone, laptop and other approved electronics onboard your flight, but you won't be able to access them if they're stowed one hour prior to landing. So FYI—keep you iPod out and ready with a one-hour-long landing playlist.

So what does the TSA ask travelers to do, in response to their rules? Allow "extra time for security," of course. That is all, and maybe brush up on those 3-1-1 rules.

Related Stories:
· What Exactly Happened on Northwest Flight 253? [Jaunted]
· TSA Guidance for Passengers on Heightened Security Measures in Place Following Dec. 25 Incident [TSA]
· TSA orders pat-down of all passengers during boarding [Elliott.org]
· British Airways Security Measures [BA]
· WestJet communicates new airport security procedures [WestJet]
· Airport Security [Jaunted]

[Photo: Greg O'Beirne / Wiki Commons]

Archived Comments:


With regards to the Maps... Won't a terrorist just get a GPS and use that in the plane to tell where they are? I've done it all the time. Oh well. I guess that rational thought has been pretty absent at the TSA for a long time now.


maps were my favourite part of the flight too - gutted. maybe they'd like to black out the windows too, just in case we spy a landmark?

The next obvious step

We already don't allow pilots to carry liquids or gels, so the next obvious step is to ban pilots from knowing where they are. Blackout ALL the windows, block their navigation aides, and have the air traffic controllers guide the planes down. Because I'm sure that if a pilot is going to take a plane down, he or she is going to do it using 3.1 oz of hair gel, otherwise impossible using only 3 oz of hair gel.