Update: See related post here, with discussion of how TSA directives may affect in-flight internet and entertainment services on domestic and international flights.
Here's an open thread for discussing the awesome new TSA in-flight security restrictions that will surely protect us all from future pantsbombers. Just like the war on toothpaste protected us from Mister Sizzly Pants' crotch-launched Christmas fireworks. How'd that loser manage to board a plane in Lagos packing Pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), then glide on through to a Detroit-bound Delta Airlines flight? What the hell's PETN? Is it in toothpaste? How did our supposedly tightened post-9/11 flight security system allow this to happen — despite apparent warning?
Incidentally, I took an early morning flight on Delta today from Latin America to the US, among the first international flights subject to a TSA security directive issued this morning. The pre-boarding procedues included the most invasive hand pat-down I've ever had, and a long line of guys with gloves at the gate, going through everyone's hand luggage in more detail than I've ever experienced.
As we boarded, the flight attendants announced that all passengers would be prohibited from getting out of their seats (for instance, to go to the toilet) or from using any electronic devices (phones, laptops, games) or having anything on their laps (even a book or a blanket) during the last hour of the flight. I tweeted about it from the plane. Bottom line, the new rules make your fellow passengers farty and crosslegged (ever try not going to the bathroom during the last part of a really long-haul international flight?), the flight attendants seemed to be just as annoyed about the meritless new rules as the passengers, and we were none the safer. The worst part? None of this would have stopped the pantsbomber.
Bruce Schneier today blogged, " Do we really think the terrorist won't think of blowing up their improvised explosive devices during the first hour of flight?" And as Schneier wrote back in 2008, "Only two things have made flying safer [since 9/11]: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers."
Related: Nigerians are seriously pissed off at the suspect, who is reported to be the son of a prominent Nigerian banker.
And the New York Times points out that what this would appear to mean for flights of 90 minutes or less: you won't be able to get up or use electronics for the entire flight.
* Origin of headline joke is here. Antinous came up with Mister Sizzly Pants, not me.