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Until mobile devices somehow magically charge themselves throughout your journey—you’re going to need a spot to plug in and charge up at the airport. The concourses and terminals have gotten a little bit better at adding ports and plugs, and now it seems like there’s a push overseas to add even more spots to charge up before your trip.
With that pesky new requirement regarding devices to be operational at airport security airports in London are pushing to get more options available to flyers.
Very quickly - before we get to the travel news in this post - can we just make a simple request? As you're about to read, airport security is getting bumped up across the world. This happened just as the 4th of July weekend kicked off. So things are going to be hectic enough without you idiots grinding checkpoints to a halt by trying to smuggle actual, real life, exploding fireworks on board airplanes. For fuck's sake.
Now that that's out of the way.
As we told you last Monday, various branches of the U.S. intelligence community have concluded that Yemen-linked jihadists, operating out of Syria, may be plotting to take down American and European airliners. The scheme would involve terrorists with Western passports slipping through security armed with a new generation of undetectable explosives. We suggested you might soon be seeing enhanced screening procedures.
Yesterday morning ABC News popped a story about a recent White House meeting - recent in the sense that it happened last week - in which top-level intelligence officials raised alarms about new threats to aiport security and airline security. Very short version: terrorists who have dug into Syria are reportedly working on a new generation of undetectable bombs, and so you will probably be feeling new security precautions both domestically and overseas. Happy Monday!
ABC got at least one source to worry "[this threat] is different and more disturbing than past aviation plots." Another talked about "creative" new bomb designs. The outlet also aired interviews on Sunday - which are embedded below, and included one with President Barack Obama - that were arguably even scarier.
Another day, another new fee for the airline industry and its passengers. The biggest surprise? The airlines have nothing to do with it.
In December, Congress approved an increase in the TSA fees applied to passenger airline tickets, raising the charge to a flat rate of $5.60 each way, up from the previous $2.50 each way for a nonstop one-way flight or $5 for trips that included a layover. The TSA has already said that it will try to add an additional $5.60 for segments that include a layover longer than four hours, most likely assuming that people with such wait times will exit and reenter the secure areas.
Airport Security / TSA / ORD / Chicago Travel / Airports / Airport News / Marriott Hotels / → All Tags
Those departing Chicago on the way to their summer vacation are about to have another reason to smile, as heading through airport security at O’Hare just got a little better and little more bearable. For most the shoes still need to come off and the laptops will need to go on the belt, but the whole scene will be more enjoyable thanks to some sponsorship and decoration from the folks over at Marriott and SpringHill Suites.
We’ve seen something like this before, but we certainly can’t complain about anything that makes the airport security process that much more enjoyable. Through a partnership with the aforementioned hotel chain as well as the TSA and the airport authority things are a little bit different over at checkpoint number three within the airport’s Terminal 1.
Have a question? Drop us a line.
Long lines and the intrusion on our privacy are no doubt two parts of what makes going through TSA security a frustrating experience. Compounding that latter part is the fact that many of the policies seem to either go against logic or contradict what we experience elsewhere in the world. For example, your shoes can stay on in Europe, but they must come off during standard screening in America. And there are plenty of other classic mind-blogging security head scratchers, such as this one.
But the biggest raise of the eyebrow might be that the TSA (sometimes) requires you to remove your light jacket or sweatshirt before you go through the x-ray scanner that has the capability of looking through things. If the scanners can see through us like Superman, why must we remove a jacket?
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You might just be smiling on your next trip out of Las Vegas, and it will have nothing to do with all the money you won — ‘cause we all know that’s unlikely. Some of the city's most well known celebrities, entertainers, and performers have teamed up to make a few cutesy little videos, as it’s all in the spirit of getting travelers through airport security quickly and efficiently.
Folks like Louie Armstrong, Carrot Top, and the Blue Man Group are all some of the featured acts, as airport officials hope that this kind of “Only in Vegas” approach will speed things up while at the same time having a little bit of fun.
Check out the video above, have yourself a chuckle, and remember not to make jokes when in the line to meet and greet the TSA—it’s not funny.
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How is this nonsense still a story? How - after it broke more than a week ago, and was already hopelessly tired back then - are journalists still producing new copy about "outrage" and "fury"? What details remained unexplored through the first three dozen articles, such that we needed more information a week later?
If you don't troll conspiracy theory forums or have a Google Alert set up for TSA, you might not know about video documented barbarism under discussion. You'd be the only one though, since the YouTube upload has been viewed by over 200,000 people in the last 10 days. It's at the bottom of this post too. You're welcome.
Bad Ideas / Hawaiian Airlines / SJC / Travel News / Airport Security / Airline Security / → All Tags
We weren't going to blog this story because there's not much to convey beyond what you already know. A 16 year old teenager fought with his parents, ran away from home, jumped the fence at San Jose International, climbed into the wheel well of an Hawaiian Airlines flight bound for Maui, and then somehow lived to tell the tale.
Hiding in wheel wells is the kind of thing that almost always kills people, which we know because their bodies then fall out of the sky. This kid somehow survived and is now being cared for by child services, so it's a kind of bittersweet thing.
That's really all that can be said about the incident, unless you want to talk about how no one in this country bothers to secure airport runways any more, and you don't need to hear that rant again. Except: it turns out that a 16 year old runaway is newsworthy enough for CNN's Anderson Cooper to devote a 90 second segment to it. And not just any 90 second segment.
Last fall the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a study showing that TSA's behavior profiling program - creatively named "SPOT" - was useless. The technical language was that the project succeeded in catching bad guys at a rate only "slightly better than chance," but that's GAO code for "worthless."
Naturally people assumed that the program would be scaled back. Instead - per a Washington Times report from last week that made its way around the Internet - TSA has expanded the program to BWI. Because why should a failure, especially a failure that members of Congress blast as "an intrusion into the privacy of the flying public," prevent programs from steamrolling forward?
Apparently there's a debate happening on the Internet - so says the LA Times - over whether the 14 year old Dutch girl who tweeted a terrorist threat to American Airlines was "a victim of security excess" or an "idiot." To which we answer, why can't it be both?
You'll recall that Sarah - of the now-deleted @QueenDemetriax_ Twitter account - tweeted to @AmericanAir over the weekend that "hello my name's Ibrahim and I'm from Afghanistan. I'm part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I'm gonna do something really big bye." The social media mavens at American responded exactly 6 minutes later (faster than they've ever done when, say, we've had a flight canceled) by publicly informing her that her "IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI."
Airport Security / Terrorism / Travel News / Airline Security / San Francisco Travel / SFO / San Francisco / Congress / Travel Politics / Politics Travel / → All Tags
This is a downer of a Friday story, but it's already getting some traction on travel sites. Plus it's going to be airport security news for the next few weeks. Plus it's probably going to affect your actual, physical airport experience. So you might as well get it on your radar now.
The short version - and you can read longer takes with details and videos here and here - is that the spring issue of Al Qaeda's lead magazine Inspire had a picture of the SFO AirTrain, which they captioned "Stand up, pack your tools of destruction, assemble your bomb, ready the detonation." You can understand why some people are talking about this.