In the wake of Friday's foiled terrorist bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, tough new security measures are being implemented on international flights bound for the U.S. Basically, we're just a couple more failed bombings away from flying handcuffed to the armrest, naked except for hoods over our heads. But for now—in addition to much more invasive and time-consuming pre-flight screening—the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has decreed that the last hour of every flight be spent confined your seat (no bathroom privileges!) without a blanket, pillow, reading materials, personal belongings or even the precious succor of television. Those who flew over the weekend say it's a whole new world up there.
Henry Chen, a San Francisco businessman, was in the restroom during a flight from Seoul over the weekend when a female flight attendant "barged" in on him. "It was kind of weird, to have a lady try to get in," he tells the Times. "She said that they had to watch people being in the restroom too long." (On Sunday, another Nigerian man was removed from a Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit after becoming disruptive and locking himself in a restroom.) Two men who flew from Brisbane, Australia to LAX say their armpits were searched before they boarded their flight, and inspectors "rubbed their hands on the soles of our feet." And a woman arriving in JFK after a flight from Jamaica tells the Daily News the last hour of her flight was killing her bladder: "If I want to go, I should be able to go."
Here is the TSA's Aviation Security Directive detailing the new rules. International travelers are also limited to one piece of carry-on baggage, including a purse or briefcase, and it must be stowed in an overhead compartment for the last hour of a flight. Priya Prasad of Oakland, California tells the Times it took her an extra hour to get through security for her flight to Mumbai: "They’re being extra cautious, which I guess is fine. But I don’t understand what it is they’re looking for. They went through my bag three times, and still I got my scissors and tweezers on the plane."
And the Internet's own Jacob Lodwick got a taste of the new security measures on his Jet Blue flight back from San Juan, and recorded the pilot's defeated announcement of the strict new rules. Jet Blue apparently banned TV for the entire flight, leaving a "pissed" Lodwick with just his thoughts for company.