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Airlines lose business after Christmas Day Terrorist Attacks on Detroit

December 28, 2009
DALLAS, TEXAS - DECEMBER 27:   A TSA officer s...
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A terrorist flying from Nigeria to Detroit who ignited a substance supposedly used to detonate explosives has cost the airlines money already, with shares of stock dropping amid concerns of decreased business travel.  The airlines want new safety restrictions to be easier on passengers, and most passengers who aren’t traveling for work seem ready to comply; it’s the passengers who travel for their weekly commutes that may not put up with the restrictions.

While some officials seem unfazed by the travel restrictions’ effects on passenger travel,

Darryl Jenkins, an airline industry consultant, predicted that any increase in airport lines would be temporary, until security screeners become proficient at operating under new rules.

“This is disruptive, and we all hate it, but I don’t think it’s going to affect (travel) demand,” Jenkins said. “Now if it had been a successful attempt, that would be something else.”

others recognize that the drop in airline shares indicates customers are already second-guessing airline travel.

As a passenger who has had to travel for business, as has my partner, we are well-acquainted with airline delays, and we are choosing other modes of travel when at all possible.  I used to love to fly, mainly because I get carsick and hate the idea of spending 8 hours in the car, but as airline costs have increased (more money for bags, for pets, for tickets in general) and perks have decreased (inability to use the bathroom when needed, getting stuck on a terminal for 8 hours, not getting clean air or water, no access to food, etc.) the idea of spending $300-$400 on air travel is not as palatable. I am all for security regulations keeping us safe, but keeping people out of the bathroom doesn’t seem to address the fact that THE TERRORIST BOARDED THE PLANE WITH EXPLOSIVES IN HIS BACKPACK.  I don’t see how additional restrictions of bathroom usage and passenger movement will help when passengers board the plan with explosives.  Using the bathroom was a tip-off, not something normal and a clear sign of problems.  How is limiting bathroom use going to help keep us safer if bathroom use alerted the crew to the problems?

The problem was a security issue to begin with, and I have had my own issues with airport security personnel, who are rude, often abusive and have on multiple occasions offered to “pat me down” as I went through the security gates.  I have no metal plates, no car keys, nothing to set off the alarm, but I did take issue with the security guards examining my underwear in detail that had been in my purse.  And yes, they were men, and yes, I had my period, keeping clean undies for the “accidents” that can occur on long flights when passengers aren’t allowed to use the restroom.

As a mother who has traveled with an infant, I was hassled for trying to bring a car seat, hassled when I didn’t have a car seat, hassled for refusing to wake up my 12-month old to try to make her sit in a seat belt.  My argument was that it wasn’t very safe to try to wake the baby, hope she sat up straight without her carseat, hope she didn’t reach for me and fall out of her seat, and hope that the turbulence wouldn’t knock her over completely in her sleep state.

As a business traveler, it is now easier for me to travel by car, even if I get car sick, and it’s faster too.  There are no airport delays, no overcrowded flights, no problems stopping for food, no issues with being harassed by airline staff or security staff.  When it comes down to it, for a 10-hour drive, I spend an equal amount of travel time trying to work the airport systems.  It’s just not faster to fly anymore.  My partner found this out the hard way a couple of years ago when he would have been stranded for 2 days in NY due to weather delays and a flight cancellation.  He rented a car and drove home in 10 hours, with a stop at a hotel to sleep in an actual bed in between.

Seems flying the friendly skies may be a thing of the past.

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