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No Evidence Aviation Security Makes Flying Safer

South Pole
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No Evidence Aviation Security Makes Flying Safer


Airport security lines can annoy passengers, but there is no evidence that they make flying any safer, US researchers reported on Thursday.

A team at the Harvard School of Public Health could not find any studies showing whether the time-consuming process of X-raying carry-on luggage prevents hijackings or attacks.

They also found no evidence to suggest that making passengers take off their shoes and confiscating small items prevented any incidents.



Adelaide, Australia
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1. Re: No Evidence Aviation Security Makes Flying Safer

Why am I not surpised by this????

Shanghai, China
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2. Re: No Evidence Aviation Security Makes Flying Safer

This is like trying to prove a negative. The only way to find out is to do away with the security checks and see what happens. The shoe bomber would'nt have tried to get on board if he knew his shoes were going to be checked.

Detroit, MI
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3. Re: No Evidence Aviation Security Makes Flying Safer

1. X-ray machines do not detect explosives. Maybe if your shoes have 14 guage wire sticking out of them it might be seen on the x-ray.

2. The TSA has a 70-90% failure rate detecting weapons and bombs on their own tests, even when they were tipped off that there would be a test. Just get 10 shoe bombers and seven will get through.

3. Plastic explosive could easily be concealed under your clothing. The walk through metal detector will not detect this. Very few puffer machines are in airports and it is very easy to avoid them.

4. If the bomber is planning on killing themselves anyway, why not just conceal your plastic explosive internally. Is everyone OK with body cavity searches to board a plane?

5. Cargo is still not screened.

The only useful security measures taken in the last six years are fortified flight deck doors, and the policy of not opening them if there is trouble. Passengers have also shown that they will take care of troublemakers on many occasions, including on 9/11, with Richard Ried and many drunk/unstable people since.

The rest of the billions of $ has been wasted on something that is nothing but show.

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: No Evidence Aviation Security Makes Flying Safer

I can't access the article, but everything tev says is true.

Except for the part about it all achieving nothing. That depends on your point of view. From a terrorist's point of view, it's all been very successful.

The whole point of terrorism is to make people doubt their own safety and fear for their lives. Dai_hard's comment proves that it has worked in at least some cases.

Once you make people believe that their life is in danger, you make them change their behaviour. Forcing people to no longer be able to bring their own water, or sunscreen for a weekend trip, in their carry-on equals another successful mission.

Without terror, there is no terrorism.

Denver, Colorado
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5. Re: No Evidence Aviation Security Makes Flying Safer

I agree 100% with what amberm1 has said and I would like to add some things....

The OP's article doesn't surprise me because I have always felt that some of the security measures taken, have been a waste of time (i.e. SSSS). I believe that putting in these security measures doesn't actually protect but it just satisfies the passenger. In other words I feel that the government is more focused on making people BELIEVE that there safer than they really are.

Adelaide, Australia
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6. Re: No Evidence Aviation Security Makes Flying Safer

You are all right - especially amber - but i have just found it quite disappointing over the last couple of years that whenever anyone posted similar views on TA they were immediately jumped on from a great height by those who have been deluded into thinking that we do need all these ridiculously intrusive measures.

I have noted somewhat of change lately though- so maybe the flying public has finally had enough.

Dallas, Texas
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7. Re: No Evidence Aviation Security Makes Flying Safer

Definitely agree with all y'all. One of my friends is a wife of a pilot, has been asked on occasion to put something mimicking bomb, etc., in her bag as a test, and they've never found it.

I'm on a plane on a very frequent basis and have never felt any safer because of all the increased measures and idiocy. I've had lipsticks, nail clippers, nail files, small scissors thrown out--all that are allowed through just fine now (in the US). I've had razor devices--those thingies to open boxes--not found. And that's what was used to kill one of the flight attendants in 9/11, as I remember.

One exceptionally stupid TSA person wouldn't let me fly on my scheduled flight because the baggie I had my lipsticks, etc., in was not a commercial quart size baggie. It was a much smaller, better quality clear plastic, with a zipper. Met the posted guidelines, but he was a frigging idiot. I had to check my briefcase and catch the next flight. I spent my time calling TSA's complaint line, and within days they had signs up everywhere that smaller bags could be used.

They now let us purchase bottled drinks on the other side of the security system because of the financial problems it caused to vendors, not because they suddenly discovered that we weren't at risk.

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8. Re: No Evidence Aviation Security Makes Flying Safer

very worrying reading indeed.

most of the public believe these measures are for our utmost safety and that they protect us and are worth the inconveniences.

Cala d'Or, Spain
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9. Re: No Evidence Aviation Security Makes Flying Safer

We just have to accept that todays security measures are a mess. We will never live a a completely safe world. If the terrorists can not bomb planes they will blow up buses and trains (which they have done already.

What always worries me is that passengers get screened but what about the thousands of tons of cargo that are carried daily, no way does that all get checked. The Pan Am 747 Lockerbie bombing and the downing of the Air India 747 over the Atlantic are just two examples.

On that note - Happy Christmas

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10. Re: No Evidence Aviation Security Makes Flying Safer

What a load of cr@p that has been written here. At the very least the OP as usual and the quoted artcle are very hazy. They "can't find any studies" to support their theories is hardly very convincing evidence.

Ask yourselves how many "one man high-jackings" there have been in the last few years compared to the 70's, 80's and 90's. Yes possibly the security measures may not always stop the highly organised terrorist, but if they at least keep the stand alone lunatic at bay and save the heartache he can cause surely the security measures have to be worthwhile.

The security measures anyway are minor compered to the time and inconvenience already involved in air-travel sach as check-in, passport control, immigration, customs, etc, etc, etc. For goodness sake you are at an airport - IT IS ALL HURRY UP AND WAIT.

I am the world's most impatient person in airports but even I remember that people did get onto planes and fly them into the World Trade Centre, its not imagination , it did happen and lots of people died.