Today wasn't a very good day to be jumpseating out of uniform. I hadn't seen the news before heading to the Minneapolis-St Paul airport, so I didn't know about the massive terror plot foiled in the UK. I was greeted by a TSA agent who told me to empty my carry-on of all liquids. At first I thought she was joking, I actually laughed. She motioned to a huge waste bin filled to the brim with bottles of every description. No joke. I dutifully handed over shampoo, lotion, and hair gel. Then I encountered two TSA agents who were rather suspicious over my airline ID, as they had never heard of my airline. It took a passing NWA pilot to convince them that yes, it IS a real airline even though we don't fly to MSP.
I flew to Dallas & had dinner with my friend Lori, and then hopped a late flight to Seattle. On my way through security I again had to convince the TSA that I flew for a real airline, plus they took my toothpaste and face cream. Looks like a trip to Target is in my near future.
If the disrupted plot was as big and as close to execution as initial reports make it out to be, this could have some uncomfortable implications for the airline industry. Many US airlines' newfound profitability has been at least partially brought about thanks to strong demand for international travel. The public's realization that al Qaeda is still out there planning intricate attacks on aviation could slacken demand for international travel from the US, and perhaps domestic air travel as well. Of course, the ill effects are nowhere near what they would've been if the plan had succeeded, and for that we can be thankful. A successful attack on US aviation would decimate the industry more than 9/11 did. The really big question, of course, is: what other plots are out there? Al Qaeda has been probing our defenses (Richard Reid, etc) & we've been lucky so far.
I'm sleeping in Seattle's terminal because the security code to get down to the crew room isn't working (no coincidence, I'm sure). Also, I lost my cell phone on a train in Dallas today. I feel naked without that thing.