The Pendulum Swings Yet Again….  No Laptops In The Cabin….WAIT…Now No Laptops In Checked Bags!

The Pendulum Swings Yet Again…. No Laptops In The Cabin….WAIT…Now No Laptops In Checked Bags!

A few months ago, the FAA and TSA said that laptops were becoming the choice tool of terrorists to blow up aircraft.   Panic ensued, passengers were pissed, nothing bigger than a smart phone can be in the cabin.  You were assured of imminent doom should anything with a battery come aboard a plane with you because someone would use it to blow you out of the sky.

Fast forward to today…..

Laptops shouldn’t be in checked luggage, they’ll spontaneously combust and become little terrorist devices that will blow you out of the sky.   Laptops and similar electronics must be brought aboard the aircraft if you are to survive that flight to Munich.   If you check your laptop, you don’t stand a chance of getting to your destination.  You’ll die in a plunging fireball…….

A little too much?  Sure.  But according to the FAA and ICAO, laptops apparently have no business being inside of checked luggage.

In a report released by the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) during its recent gathering in Montreal on October 27, it supports the FAA’s conclusion that packing a large electronic device into checked bags poses a substantial fire threat to an aircraft.

The FAA begun testing laptops inside of luggage after the TSA imposed a ban on electronic devices being brought into the cabin in the summer of this year.  At the time of this new TSA policy, no testing had been carried out to merit the safety of checking electronics equipped with large, volatile batteries into the cargo hold.   During the FAA testing, it was found that when a moderate heat source was added to a laptop inside a suitcase packed with other items such as clothing and items containing liquids, 1 out of 5 laptops showed ‘thermal runaway’ that could potentially ignite the laptop.

According to the testing, the most alarming discovery was what happened when the battery ignited causing other items in the suit case to catch fire.   Suitcases containing things such as aerosol (dry) shampoo, nail polish remover, hand sanitizer and other similar items that contain even trace amounts of alcohol resulted in the complete burning of the suitcase which led to adjacent luggage also catching fire. 

In the situation with having flammable liquids in the case with a ‘runaway’ battery, the FAA conducting 4 additional tests with a ‘runaway’ battery.    3 of the 4 tests resulted in a fire causing full destruction of the suitcase and spreading to other pieces of luggage in the cargo hold.   1 test had the fire contained inside the suitcase without any damage to outside pieces.

With all this said, it now appears that the ICAO is prepared to issue an edict to its member airlines to add Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) to the list of hazardous materials that are banned from checked luggage.   

We should see this change take effect in the next few weeks since no one is opposing the FAA’s findings or the recommendation to ban laptops in checked bags.

 


 

No Electronics Ban On Europe – USA Flights……..It’s “Off The Table” At This Point

No Electronics Ban On Europe – USA Flights……..It’s “Off The Table” At This Point

After a series of meetings in Brussels, involving heads of national security for the EU and USA, as well as airline security specialists it appears that an Electronics ban on flights between Europe and the USA may not be as imminent as we had feared.

In comments made by the group, it appears that there is an increased willingness for airlines to work with one another as well as will government security specialists in order to prevent the ban.

This information sharing included confidential exchange of intelligence between the EU and the Department of Homeland Security in the USA.

Critics of the ban suggest that a ban would cost passengers $1 billion in lost productivity each year and lead to a significant drop in air traffic between Europe and the USA.

According to one meeting participant, it was suggested that the electronics ban was ‘off the table’ at this point and no plans exist for implementing one in the near term.

This same group is scheduled to meeting in Washington DC next week to expand on their discussions.   We can only hope that they realize how frivolous such a ban would be and continue to avoid its implementation.

 

The TSA Is About To Get More ‘Touchy / Feely’

The TSA Is About To Get More ‘Touchy / Feely’

According to an article published earlier today by Bloomberg, it appears that our friends at the TSA have revised their screening policies as it relates to ‘patting down’ passengers at security check points.

Citing a 2015 study concluding that more and more weapons are making it past screening procedures, the TSA has notified its officers to be more thorough when patting down passengers.    Up until now, the TSA had 5 different approaches when it came to physical contact or screening of  a passenger.   With the new policy, that list of 5 has been narrowed to 1, and that ‘1’ is more comprehensive than the previous 5.

A spokesman for the TSA stated that passenger will ‘notice that the new pat-down is more involved’.   The TSA also said that this will apply to airline crew.    The TSA randomly screens a small number of ‘known crew’ passing through ‘crew security’, but that small percentage of crew being screened will be subject to the same new scrutiny as a passengers.

According to the article, the new strategy has been quietly rolled out in smaller airports over the past 2 weeks, and is now being rolled out to airports nationwide.  No mention was made if this would affect ‘Pre Check’ or similar expedited security programs.

 

Turn and Cough……