According to what is being reported, US Navy SEALS during a recent raid on al Qaeda in Yemen (you might recall the raid from the news because one of the SEALS was killed) recovered specific intelligence suggesting that terrorists were intending to use bombs concealed inside laptops to bring down airliners. Furthermore last year an al Shabab terrorist attempted to do this on a flight out of Mogadishu he blew a hole in the side of the plane, fortunately only just after take-off, he was apparently sucked out of the hole and killed but the pilot was able to turn the plane around and land everyone else safely. The battery compartment in a laptop in which the explosives would be hidden is not that big but it would only require a small amount of explosives to blow a hole in the fuselage if it was positioned next to a window, at altitude this would cause a catastrophic loss of cabin pressure and destroy the plane. The same bomb packed in the middle of a suitcase full of clothes and surrounded by other bags in a container in the hold would not likely cause catastrophic damage there’s therefore a much better chance that the plane would survive. Of course Pan Am Flight 103 that was destroyed over Lockerbie in 1988 was apparently blown up using explosives hidden inside a radio cassette recorder placed inside a suitcase that was in the hold, but the terrorists had removed a good portion of the insides of the machine to accommodate the explosives so it was I presume a more powerful bomb than would be the case with one hidden in laptop. I would hope that the assumption might be that the screening for hold luggage would pick up a bomb of this size. Also as someone interviewed on the radio this morning said separating the bomb from the bomber is always a good idea, if the bomb goes in the hold the bomber should have no control over where it ends up even if they could still set it off remotely from within the cabin say by mobile phone which I assume might be possible. Inside the cabin the bomber can place the bomb exactly where they need it to be to cause the most damage and set it off far more easily. The real problem is that the bomb makers are getting more and more sophisticated at producing IEDS that are very difficult to detect, the fear is that they have managed to find a way to secrete a bomb inside a laptop so well that airport security would very likely not find it. In the event that that happened then an entire plane load of people could be killed. I don't have a laptop but I do travel with an iPad and I'm used to having to get it out so that it can be x-rayed so that they have a much better chance of seeing if it looks suspicious, on my most recent flight after they had already done that and just before boarding someone asked to see it and ran what I assume was an explosives detector over it just to be absolutely sure.
It seems to me that there may well in fact be good justification for a ban, however the way that this whole thing was announced and has been carried out is not good, furthermore I cannot understand why US carriers seem to be exempt unless this has been done for commercial advantage. I also don’t quite understand why the US and UK bans don’t apply to the exact same countries, airlines and airports, that doesn't make much sense as we are both responding to the same intelligence. Likewise if the US is banning cameras why is the UK not also doing so? I'm glad I'm not just about fly via one of these airports because I might well be somewhat confused as to exactly what is allowed and I how should carry it to ensure it arrives in one piece at the other end and doesn't get stolen. However inconvenient all of these things are you should always remember to blame the terrorists and not the security people who are just doing their jobs and thank them, even when you are annoyed and wondering why they've picked on you and why it all takes so long. Better to be inconvenienced than blown out of the sky.
As many people are thinking baggage handlers of the sticky fingered variety will be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of all the valuable electronics that will be in people’s hold bags now. No doubt the guys who operate the baggage wrap machines will also be rubbing their hands together. Perhaps we should all be buying shares in companies like Pelican and Pacsafe who will no doubt also be doing good business as a result of this.
I am afraid until someone can develop a foolproof method of detecting explosives problems like this will just go on, the awful events that have just occurred in Westminster outside our parliament in London just illustrate that we have to take the issue of terrorism very seriously,
Edited by inyathi, 23 March 2017 - 01:25 AM.