The vast majority of terror killings on airlines are by bombs hidden in checked luggage. To date, less than half of all checked baggage (and almost no cargo) is screened for explosives.
El Al Airlines, with the world’s most efficient security, is often consulted for anti-terror advice. In 1987 an Israeli expert drafted a thorough security plan for Pan American Airways. It involved profiling passengers, hiring only professional security staff (not minimum-wage high school dropouts), and carefully inspecting all carry-on items, checked baggage, and hold cargo.
The company rejected the idea as “overly expensive” and “intrusive to passengers.” A year later, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland—from a bomb in unin
spected checked baggage. Pan Am soon after went out of business.
As long as airlines continue to gamble with passengers’ safety just for the sake of stockholders’ dividends, we are all in danger.
—According to the Department of Homeland Security, about 730 million people travel on commercial airliners each year. More than 700 million pieces of their baggage are screened for explosives and other danger-ous items—or so they claim. Of course, we should all be aware of what we’re packing in our carry-on luggage—anything that might be considered dangerous could be confis-cated at a security checkpoint. DAVID NEELEMAN, founder, JetBlue Airways