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Reflections Air Travel in the Post 9 11 World

Air travel in the United States since 9-11 has been changed by the airlines and homeland security and there are still doubts as to the safety from terrorist attacks. The steps taken to prevent terrorist bombs or aircraft takeovers have been expensive and have created airport security delays to the chagrin of passengers. Many other approaches to increase safety are available but, unused. This is primarily the result of human nature and a lack of good problem solvers in the airline industry and government homeland security. Also, many extraneous matters are included in airline safety to appease politicians and unions. The union approach does not provide the best personnel to perform current requirements.

This is the 21st century so we should use existing technology and create some new ideas to promote quality safety. If people are truly interested in carbon counting for global warming prevention they could kill two birds with one stone and conduct business using telecommunications and computer. This would eliminate costly travel and use less fuel. When traveling for business is deemed absolutely necessary the airline could provide comfortably designed, throw away paper suits for every passenger to wear. It would be designed for public acceptance of those traveling and allowed in “tie and suit required restaurants” or formal affairs as if they were a tux or evening gown. This coupled with travel kits provided at destinations to eliminate luggage would be an immense saving for the airlines. Expensive scan machines and security personnel revert back to prior 9-11 quantities or very few. Luggage would be eliminated. Exceptions would be very small and easily checked medications that a traveler may absolutely need. Business materials could be mailed or e-mailed ahead of time to destinations. Alternately, business requirements could again, be provided by telecommunications using computers, cameras, and other equipment from the home base of the traveler. The airline could realize more profit when the fuel savings changed the air/seat/ mile factor. Instead of trying to carry a mountain of personal belongings the emphasis would be on better airline service and more options in flight. At the destination the hotels would have computer terminals for customers and a new business or two to provide more optional personal cosmetics, working materials, cold medicines or even more food. If this sounds far fetched, think of the problems of worrying about your personal computer during a trip. Also of concern is carting around luggage and loss of luggage. The traveler would now be free of this burden. All of these suggestions could also apply to travel for pleasure. The “spiffy and comfortable air traveler clothing” could be purchased prior to going to the airport or at the airport by the airlines. A clothing box for everyday clothes would be Fed X’ed back to your residence. There would be no pockets to worry about on the travel clothing. If pockets are wanted during your destination time they may be purchased at the hotel with attaching Velcro on to your throw away paper suit. With little cost the airline clothing could be designed with different patterns, logo or pictures to make them fully palatable and even fun.

When entering the boarding area at the airport passengers would enter the security gate and traverse an enclosed tunnel designed to a “dog leg” curvature. This tunnel could have a seat or even a horizontal escalator. Out of sight of the security gate the tunnel would have automatic scanning instrumentation at the middle point of the tunnel tube. Just after the scanning equipment, explosive static machines would be passed through by the traveler. If explosives are present they would ignite and that section of the tube would seal off. A giant fork lift arrangement would remove the individual traveler and the explosive part of the tunnel tube from the mid section of the tube. This section would be trucked to an isolated area for homeland security post incident investigation. To be politically correct arrangements should be provided for twenty three additional surprise arrivals. From that point it will require a good clean up crew. The missing section will be replaced with a new section of tube by the fork lift machinery and boarding will commence. Also present within the tubular tunnel will be automatic toxicity scanners and a scanner for anthrax. The costs of such a system would be off-set by less airline fuel requirements due to aircraft weight and balance improvement, less security employees and faster aircraft boarding.

In conclusion a safer mode of air travel is provided for those who must travel, more business will revert to use of telecommunications and computer systems, the airline will profit and the air travelers will be happy campers. Everything eliminated during air travel may be considered as deep rooted human habits with good riddance. Now travelers are much safer.