Sunday, December 27, 2009

Numerous Reports: No Electronics on Random Flights

Lots of reports this morning that, as a result of Friday's attempted in-flight bombing, TSA will selectively ban electronics from the airplane cabin. Which of the following do you routinely check through security and carry on: cell phone, iPod, laptop, digital camera, DVD player, PSP, pager?

Here's the painful rub. Since you can't survive at the other end with, say, no cell phone or laptop on your business trip, you'll have to check your electronics as baggage. Note that airline boxes for checked luggage are a poor match for a laptop. And stolen electronics from luggage are a huge and under-reported problem. Many airlines will Fedex a suitcase to the destination for $80, but that $80 is a large fraction of the passenger airfare. And you'll probably have to clone your cellphone and carry the SIM card with you, assuming SIM cards are not considered electronic.

I cannot think of an action that will stop the U.S. economy dead in its tracks more effectively than grounding the economy's road warriors.

There is no good news in this story. However, Congress is at home. On January 18th, when Congresspeople try to return to Washington and have their Blackberries shunted off to the luggage hold, you may have a reconsideration of this policy.

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