City Paper is not for tourists
Good morning, City Deskers. The big news of this otherwise quiet week is that Barack Obama has declared there was a “systemic failure” of U.S. national security because the government had information that, had it been pieced together, could have thwarted Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab‘s attempted airliner attack.
Also: that Abdulmuttalab was lonely and sad.
But let’s stop a minute to consider how all this will affect you. What will it be like to take to the skies from here on out?
Gizmodo offers the Unofficial Guide to Flying After the Underwear Bomb, which asks important questions like “Will They Search Your Underwear or Crotch for Air Safety?” (not entirely clear). It notes that you should probably always travel in a sweater, seeing as keeping a blanket on your lap during the last hour of flight is clearly an unacceptable risk. Also, you should “tinkle before the sterile period starts.”
This heightened sense of security has already paid off. Busted: a Nigerian man also flying to Detroit who, the FBI reported, had “spent a lengthy time in the restroom” because, and this is totally suspect, he was ill. Also busted: two men flying to Phoenix who spoke loudly in a foreign language (foreign=terrorist) and were watching, and this is totally suspect, The Kingdom. I mean, it’s about a terrorist attack on an American facility in the Middle East!
Gizmodo also has Homeland Security’s leaked Post Underwear Bomb airplane rules, though I’m pretty sure that’s not the official title.
One smart magazine summed up the new rules best when it said: “In the wake of Friday’s attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, the people who run America’s airport security apparatus appear to have gone insane.”
I did a little more research myself at the Transportation Security Administration Web site. In addition to information about the 3-1-1 liquids, gels, and aerosols policy for carry-ons (3 ounces, 1 zip-top plastic bag, 1 bag per passenger), here is what I found in the Helpful Hints for Holiday Travelers section: While “pies are permitted through the security checkpoint,” the following items should be placed in your checked baggage, shipped ahead, or left at home:
- Cranberry sauce
- Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
- Gift baskets with food items (salsa, jams and salad dressings)
- Maple syrup
- Oils and vinegars
- Salad dressing
- Wine, liquor and beer
Also, no snow globes.