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View Full Version : Weapon on a plane story.



farmerjumperdon
2005-Nov-11, 04:22 PM
I had an experience 2 weeks ago that meakes me more nervous than ever about flying.

I was returning from FL, having packed up all my Mom's lifelong collection of worldly goods. Each morning, I'd get up and get dressed, hanging my buckknife on my belt to aid in cutting boxes & tape all day. It's kind of routine for me to wear it around the farm all day anyway. So on the day of departure, I go thru my routine and the knife and it's leather sheath end up hanging from my belt. I return the rental car, check my bags, get a boarding pass & head for the screening area. I take off my shoes, jacket & phone, unload my pockets, and walk thru the detector - with 3 security staff standing in formation on the other side of it.

I hesitate momentarily as I pass to the other side, because it didn't go off! It always goes off on me (because of my zipper, belt buckle, rivets in jeans, and hardware in my neck, is my guess). I always get wanded, but not on this day. So I stroll over to the belt to pick up my goodies and as I'm putting my phone back on, notice the knife hanging in plain view from my belt. I almost involuntarily let out a relatively loud "Oh crap!" Now they are looking at me, and I quickly pretend to be fumbling for something in my kit bag and exclaim "Oh, I found it." (Quick thinking, heh?) They all look away and I go on my way.

I was going to remove it once I got to the gate, but decided that since there were no more metal detectors, and with my jacket on noone could see it; to just leave it alone. I thought removing my belt at the gate would draw attention. So I ride all the way home with a 5" blade hanging from my belt! This ain't no Cub Scout knife; this is a seriously sharp, 5" locking blade; and a good size hunk of metal.

Obviously, the detector was not working. I guess that can happen. But for me to walk past a small army of screeners! And don't those machines have alarms to warn of loss of function, or diagnostics, etc? I was really tempted to bring ot to their attention, but didn't feel like getting arrested, or at least detained to the point of missing my flight.

Amazing.

Swift
2005-Nov-11, 04:26 PM
5" inch blade - no problem. At least you weren't carrying a nail clipper!

dvb
2005-Nov-11, 04:34 PM
This sounds so much like a program I watched on tv two nights ago called the Fifth Estate. They do investigative reports, and the subject was about airport security in Canada. The program can be viewed online in its entirety.

http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/fastenseatbelts/index.html


Unchecked cargo ends up inside the belly of the plane and access to restricted areas can be gained easily by unauthorized cars and people. And a man intending to board a plane, whose clothes bore evident traces of a powdery substance that could be a potentially explosive chemical, was allowed through security without any swabbing of his clothing. It took only twenty minutes for Steve Elson to determine the combination that would open locked doors in restricted areas of an airport.

Sticks
2005-Nov-11, 04:35 PM
5" inch blade - no problem. At least you weren't carrying a nail clipper!

or even a comic book with a toy gun (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2810543.stm)

:naughty:

Candy
2005-Nov-11, 04:40 PM
What I don't understand is why you didn't let someone know the metal detector wasn't working? What if 10 bad people got past security shortly after you? What if those 10 bad people were on your flight? What if those 10 bad people repeated something similar to 9/11? How would you feel about flying then? Oh wait, it wouldn't really matter then.

Krel
2005-Nov-11, 05:48 PM
What I don't understand is why you didn't let someone know the metal detector wasn't working? What if 10 bad people got past security shortly after you? What if those 10 bad people were on your flight? What if those 10 bad people repeated something similar to 9/11? How would you feel about flying then? Oh wait, it wouldn't really matter then.

Because, good intentions or not, accident or not, he would have been charged with a Federal crime and prosecuted.

What most people don't realise it that there are a number of things on an aircraft that could be turned into weapons. I can think of four off the top of my head, and no I will not name them. If someone wants a weapon on an aircraft they are going to find away to get on aboard, but they are going to have a hard time getting past all the passengers after what happened on September 11.

David.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Nov-11, 06:02 PM
What I don't understand is why you didn't let someone know the metal detector wasn't working? What if 10 bad people got past security shortly after you? What if those 10 bad people were on your flight? What if those 10 bad people repeated something similar to 9/11? How would you feel about flying then? Oh wait, it wouldn't really matter then.

Good point. To tell you the truth I was not thinking real clearly that morning (obviously). It had been a rough week, physically & emotionally, and when I noticed the knife my 1st 2 thoughts were:

1) I can't believe the 2 people on my left side did not see it.
2) I've had this since I was a teenager and now I'm going to lose it.

On top of that, hearing horror stories of what people carrying far less have been put thru (can't say whether they are true or not), clouded my judgement since all I could think of was what might happen even if I voluntarily gave up my prized knife. I've heard they treat people pretty badly when they have made the security processes look bad. I mean, would they believe that it truly was an innocent error? Or would they think I was a wise guy trying to make them look bad? Or, worst case scenario, would they think I truly had bad intentions?

Maybe I should have stashed the knife somewhere, went back and asked them to check the detector, then got the knife before I boarded. But see, that then shows intended sneakiness, and really puts me on the spot.

I should have given it to some trusting looking person and given them $5 to please send it to me via mail.

SeanF
2005-Nov-11, 07:40 PM
I should have given it to some trusting looking person and given them $5 to please send it to me via mail.
On the secured side of the metal detector? You were trying to get rid of the knife because you weren't supposed to have it there, why would anybody else there take it? :)

I think once you're past the metal detectors, your only options are to keep going and hope noone notices, or "turn yourself in" and take your chances.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Nov-11, 08:00 PM
There is that. They would not have any incentive to do me that favor if it meant drawing trouble. But I didn't try it, it was an afterthought.

It is puzzling how nobody noticed. I'd like to think if they noticed, someone would have said something. I mean, I was in line with a lot of people, walked past half a dozen security staff; then there was the skycap, the ticketing agent, etc.

Maybe we've become that complacent already. Or I just didn't fit a profile worth examination. I've got an Iranian friend who flies regularly for business and liesure. He always gets selected. He really got the going over when he flew to Europe for 1 day to attend a family member's funeral.

Jeff Root
2005-Nov-11, 08:43 PM
First lemme say that I think all the security is a complete
waste of time and effort. I suspect that the biggest reason
for screening the passengers is that the airlines would have
to pay huge amounts for insurance coverage if there were no
screening.


I should have given it to some trusting looking person and given
them $5 to please send it to me via mail.
I've only flown once in the last 20 years (Two planes there
and two planes back, in 2002), so I don't have much experience
with the system, but the minute I first heard that knives and
the like were being confiscated, I figured that entrepreneurs
must have started setting up mailing services at the gates at
airports all over the country the very next day. The airlines
themselves could do it (for additional $$), and put your knife
on the same flight you are on.

I mean, how obvious an opportunity is that?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

jt-3d
2005-Nov-11, 10:14 PM
I don't think anybody believes that the system is perfect. The best we can hope for is mostly effective as a deterent. I think you did the right thing to keep yourself out of trouble. Still I question your wisdom in coming here and telling the world about it.

Good thing you were'nt a sick old man or you'd have been screened for sure just to prove they aren't profiling.

Stregone
2005-Nov-11, 11:24 PM
A friend of mine has a little swiss army knife kind of thing that fits in a credit card slot in his wallet. It has tweezers, a screwdriver, a compass, and other swiss army knife sorts of things. It also has this wicked little serrated blade just a couple inches long that you grip between your fingers (no handle, you grip it between your figers like you could punch with it.) he's been through airport security with it a ton of times.

genebujold
2005-Nov-12, 12:02 AM
Don of Borg - Cool, Calm, Collective - you were lucky.

Actually, you are lucky to be alive.

We chose you to test our systems. Obviously our systems failed. They will not fail again.

We are Borg. You will be assimilated since you've completed your task.

jumbo
2005-Nov-12, 01:23 AM
Personally i think a fair bit of airport security is there to reassure passengers rather than for any effectiveness.
It has gone to some mad extremes nail clippers and Joe Foss' Medal of Honor being amongst items banned from flights because they might be used to attack someone. I think passengers need to be checked thourughly but there are holes that can be exploited and if someone points them out they are liable to be looked at with suspicion.

What i have found a touch silly is that on my last few flights i have been through security and been checked etc. No nail clippers or anything like that. then on the other side of security in the departures lounge i have found a shop selling a mens magazine with a free razor on the cover as a promotion and a pub serving food such as steaks. (Which obviously requires the passenger to be handed a steak knife)

Candy
2005-Nov-12, 02:48 AM
Because, good intentions or not, accident or not, he would have been charged with a Federal crime and prosecuted.

He could have called the Reservation Office and reported this to an agent from the airport. He would only have to say the Metal Detector is not working at Terminal X in the RSW airport. He wouldn't have to give his name or how he knew. The airlines take these types of calls very seriously, and they investigate.

At my airline, there is a lady who calls once a year from Nevada to report a potential plane crash. The flight is always from the DEN to LAX market. She has "psychic" abilities. We know she's a nut, but we still investigate. She's been wrong 4 times out of 4 times. :)

LurchGS
2005-Nov-12, 05:05 AM
I like the idea of setting up a booth to mail stuff for these people.. I think I'll look into it.

I agree that the "security" at airports is mostly there to make the public feel better about being crammed into a disease-carrying soda can with wings.

However, leaving emotional attachments out of it, I do think it's best to bring the functionality of the gate to the attention of the gatekeeper. The worst that will happen is that they'll confiscate the item in question.

<opinion> any group of passengers who allow their airplane to be hijacked by a fool or five with knives deserve what they get. </opinion>

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Flying is fun, it's airplanes that suck