Prudence v. Panic

If British authorities want to send people onto planes carrying nothing but their wallets and identification for the next week or so, that is reasonable. No one begrudges them a momentary anxiety about whether they successfully halted the plot.

If British or American authorities want to ban all liquids from airplanes, that might be reasonable as well, as long as the airlines are willing to step up and find ways to readily supply passengers with sufficient amounts of water as often they need it. There’s a reason why everyone in coach carries on a bottle of water these days.

If British or American authorities want to ban all carry-on luggage in perpetuity, preventing passengers from using laptops, iPods, portable DVDs or other electronic devices, as well as preventing them from reading books, writing on legal pads, coloring or drawing, and so on, then I’m pretty well done with flying to any destination over three hours away unless it’s an absolute and dire necessity. I especially draw the line at preventing people from carrying books on board.

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7 Responses to Prudence v. Panic

  1. Caleb says:

    Has that last horrific possibility been floated somewhere? Say it isn’t so!

  2. Nicholas Ridout says:

    I’ve not yet spoken to anyone here (here being London) who has boarded a plane in the UK, and so what still seems unclear to me is whether, for example, one might be permitted to take books and other material purchased airside. I can imagine not only a howl of horror from those of us for whom travel without reading would be a bleak prospect indeed, but also yowls of outrage from airport franchise holders.

  3. Timothy Burke says:

    Same for a lot of this: it would pretty well kill almost all of the businesses inside airports.

  4. Doug says:

    And no toys for kids? How many toddler tantrums can one transatlantic flight take?

  5. Ivory says:

    When I heard about the book ban, I decided that any plans I had to go to London in the next year were officially off.

  6. Nicholas Ridout says:

    Toys and books are allowed again. So do please come to London.

  7. Endie says:

    I was terrified at the thought of my September trip to Boston (from Edinburgh) without books. When it became clear that one was still allowed to buy books airside of security I was only marginally reassured: I dare say that facing 8 hours without any other diversion might finally force me to grimace my way through a Dan Brown novel, but it’s not my method of choice.

    What it did make me think of in a new light was the horror of certain prison punishment regimes that deprive the inmate of books, and leave him in a cell for 23 hours a day. Eight hours, with, after all, a flight full of people to play profiling games with, was enough of a thought by itself. Not to mention that it is unlikely that Air Iceland will force me to share a shower with Big Vern.

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