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New TSA rules ban notebooks, Wi-Fi in late flight

updated 11:50 am EST, Mon December 28, 2009

International flights get reactionary security

The US Transport Security Administration late Sunday implemented new rules that are likely to have far-reaching implications for technology on planes. The security measures will ban those on international flights entering the US from having any "personal belongings" on their laps for the final hour of the flight, restricting notebooks and most other non-handheld devices. Access to carry-on bags is similarly restricted for the same period.

They also preclude use of any communications or entertainment integrated with the plane itself for the final hour of the trip. The step not only restricts traditional services for passengers like phones and seat-mounted TV but also shuts down Wi-Fi services provided by carriers entering the US.

Strictly domestic flights aren't affected by the restrictions and would let carriers like AirTran and Virgin America continue to offer services for nearly all of a given trip.

The TSA guidelines follow a failed attempt by a Nigerian man to use chemical explosives to bomb a flight inbound from Amsterdam and are accompanied by measures like required pat-downs and personal property inspections. Critics have already charged that the measures are "knee-jerk" measures that would do little to stop either the latest attack or other determined measures, such as an attack before the last hour of a long international flight. [via BoardingArea]

by MacNN Staff




  1. kerryb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Out of control

    Feels like we are back in the fear slinging Bush era again. There is NO WAY to make flying or any other form of travel 100% safe. I travel to Europe a few time per year and I only hope that this panic dissipates in the next few months. Sure I can live without my laptop on a flight but the shut down of the entertainment on a 9 hour flight is excessive. One fear is that having a map on screen will alert potential terrorist when they are above US targets. Well you don't have to be a genius to look out a window after flying a certain time to estimate what you are looking at below. I guess gluing the windows shut will be the next step. Someone screwed up letting this man board a flight to the US, humans will always make mistakes you cannot eliminate that from the equation. For a feeling of safety people are willing to sacrifice being treated like paying customers and human beings.

  1. ScottG

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Attention Prisoners! (OOPS I Mean Passengers, Sorry.)

    We will be landing in 1 Hour and 10 Minutes.

    Please put all your stuff (EX. Laptops, Handheld Electronics, PDA's, iPhone's, we mean everything!) Away now please. You have 10 minutes to comply with the new rules of Passenger Confinement, and if you need to goto the Bathroom at this time, do it quickly. You can always use the Adult Dipper located in the seat pocket in front of you, right behind the Airsick Bag if you must go prior to landing. If in the unlikely case we are put into a holding pattern prior to landing, you will be required to put yourself in the same Holding Pattern as well. Any adults flying with small children on their laps will have to place the infant at this time in the approved Baby Box for landing which is stored above your seat.

    Following the return to your seats, please lock your belts in tight, seats upright, Hands must be folded with fingers interlocked, and heads facing forward, eyes open, and limit blinking to a minimum please, if you are observed looking around to much (Shifty Eyes) you may be deemed as a threat, and dealt with accordingly. If you have a love one who is scared to fly and want to hold their hand during the landing, please ring your call bell at this time, and we will decide if you may do this or not based on an individual basis, and next time you should consider taking the Train instead. Please note that anyone failing to comply with the new rules, or has any questions at all about the new rules will be dragged from the plane upon landing Hog Tied and placed in a holding area with no toilet.

    Now everyone SHUT UP and Be Quiet!!! I have to check on my EBay Sales as we land :-)

    Thank you for flying CON-AIR Today

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Exactly. This is silly.

    Keep in mind more people die in car accidents (or lots of other things, such as heart attack or smoking induced health problems) in 1 month than from years of terrorist acts.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Al Qaeda does not, nor has ever, existed.

    They say this guy claims to be Al Qaeda trained.

    There is all the proof one needs to know that this is all a load of propagandized BS.

    And if you doubt what I say about Al Qaeda, google it. And watch the BBC documentary if you find that. And watch the many videos on YT where senior CIA and military serviceman admit right on camera that there is no Al Qaeda. Or should that be spelt, Al CIAda.

  1. charlituna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    what this whole thing really shows us

    is that we need better communication between airlines. Mr Flaming Groin had been reported as unstable and likely to try something but no one told the airlines so they could do a more thorough search of his luggage and person.
    also, we need better chemical sniffing etc. this guy had components of an explosive on his person and at no time did a bomb dog or anything else pick it up. if such measures were used.
    and this syringe. he could have had it on him for a lot longer than the last hour. how was it not seen during the x-ray of his carry on, jacket etc. what line did he give to explain it. was he claiming to be diabetic, needed it cause he's allergic to nuts (in case of emergency),etc amd could he prove such claims.
    my roommate has a pacemaker and sets off alarms every week when he files and he's got a half dozen pages of certifications that yes he has a medical condition that requires a pacemaker, he's been vetted by the police and he's not on any watch lists etc.
    one would think if this guy is claiming medical condition etc he'd have something to certify it. and if he didn't, they would require him to turn over the chemicals for testing and/or lock up. and at the least they could and would rule out that it wasn't a liquid explosive.

    but now we get no electronics (which were not involved in this sitch), no belongings or access the last hour (so the next guy will grab the good earlier on) etc.

    and some poor guy who was held because he got airsick on a flight. the concern wasn't that he was in the bathroom for a long time cause he was ill, but he was Nigerian and it was the same Amsterdam to Detroit run as Mr 'I blew up my groin' (so folks were thinking this was Take Two). if no luggage is a possible clue someone is a terrorist why wasn't the guy pulled aside for a 'random' security check. why would they let him on the flight if there was a reason to believe he could be dangerous. sweep him and the plane to make sure someone didn't sneak something on for him to retrieve.

    and the bathroom thing. I"m so waiting for the first lawsuit. we all remember the business with the flight that was basically held captive in their seats for 4 hours with no bathroom access, drinks or food over a backup getting to the gates. you can bet someone is going to sue and probably soon.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    last hour

    Yes, because terrorists only want to attack in the last hour. If they did it before hand, they'd miss the end of the in-flight movie.

    Would it just not be easier, simpler, and cheaper to just put 5 armed men on each plane, who's sole job is to walk up and down the aisles wielding assault rifles and keep people in line?

    Or perhaps they should just say s**** it, go all out and turn airline travel into standard prisoner transport. Each flyer gets leg and arm shackled to their seats. Then given an injection to put you unconscious for the length of the flight.

    Seriously, it is where we're going, why not just jump there.

  1. Undo Redo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    The problem is on the ground, in security, not in the air. And nothing is foolproof.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And there's probably some schlub right now in Detroit all pissed off because he thinks this guy was the Nigerian gov't official who was coming to finally bring him his 20 million dollars, and now he's in jail!

  1. ibugv4

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Is why I drive to california from carolina vs fly.

  1. ebeyer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Trains or automobiles?

    Seriously. Now may be the time to take a second look at Amtrak. Slow as h***, not much cheaper than the airlines but you get to p*** when you wanna.


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