Downgraded: Boeing’s onboard computers
The Boeing 787, which has yet to actually fly, has been declared susceptible to hacking by passengers, because the planned inflight internet computers are “also connected to the plane’s control, navigation and communication systems.” Great. Boeing promises to fix the security gaps before the plane actually alights.
Upgraded, mostly: British carry-on luggage rules
After the alleged liquid bombing plot, British authorities limited carry-on luggage severely. Now, things are starting to get back to normal. Most — but not all — British airports allow two carry-on bags again. If flying to London, Heathrow and Stansted all two bags. Gatwick and Luton allow one. The BBC has the list.
Upgraded: The Evil Eye
Better not look too shifty and suspicious at airport security. The increased use of behaviorial profiling, known as SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation Technique), hopes to capture more genuine baddies and let the innocents pass through security unharmed. The problem, of course, is that you might just set off someone’s hackles unintentionally. Is it working? “Since January 2006, behavior-detection officers have referred about 70,000 people for secondary screening, Maccario said. Of those, about 600 to 700 were arrested on a variety of charges, including possession of drugs, weapons violations and outstanding warrants.” That’s 1% accuracy, folks. Nothing to be too proud of, yet. But it beats frisking nuns.
Downgraded: The Concorde
Upgraded: Tort law
Allstate Insurance has to pay out nearly a million dollars to a homeowner whose home was damaged five years ago by a low-flying Air France Concorde.
Downgraded: Airline blankets
Mmm… airline blankets… Reader J opines on his new blog about the fact that United doesn’t clean their blankets between flights. Yuck, indeed. Not to be an overly jaded buzzkiller, but that’s nothing new. Ditto for the pillows. Look for the plastic-wrapped blankets for maximum freshness. The pillows? Good luck.