Passengers praise heightened airport security despite longer waits

'Whatever needs to be done, needs to be done' - Dublin traveler

Passengers arriving on international flights at San Francisco International Airport Monday said they were glad for increased security measures prompted by an attempted terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound flight Christmas Day, even though their travel time has been increased.

"Whatever needs to be done, needs to be done," said Dublin resident Konark Uppal, who arrived on a flight from Dubai, India, with his wife and 1-year-old son.

The security measures increased after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, a Nigerian national, allegedly attempted to destroy a Northwest Airlines aircraft by detonating a device on its final approach to Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Christmas Day, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The incident prompted San Francisco International Airport to beef up the number of San Francisco police officers working there, airport spokesman Mike McCarron said. He added that the security screening process has not changed.

Changes have been applied to international flights as well. The Transportation Security Administration posted a notice on its Web site stating that passengers flying into the U.S. from abroad may see additional security measures such as bag searches and pat-downs.

"During flight, passengers may be asked to follow flight crew instructions, such as stowing personal items, turning off electronic equipment and remaining seated during certain portions of the flight," the notice stated.

"With kids it's a nightmare," Konark Uppal's wife Gurminder Uppal said. "There were a lot of kids, all screaming, on the plane. You can't

change their diapers for the last hour."

Also in the last hour of the United Arab Emirates flight, passengers said they were not allowed to use headphones, get up to use the restroom or retrieve any belongings from their luggage in the overhead compartments.

Pillows and blankets were also taken away during the last hour of the flight, Gurminder Uppal said.

She added that the flight crew made no announcements regarding the status of the flight, which Gurminder Uppal called frustrating.

"On a 16-hour flight you want to know where you are because you lose track of time," she said.

Another passenger on that flight, a Ukiah resident who declined to give his name, said he noticed three differences on this international flight than on ones he has taken in the past.

"They don't let you have access to your luggage in the last hour before landing; as soon as you get off the plane they check our passport, even before customs; and they fingerprint you at immigration," the passenger said.

He said the security additions slowed down the travel time, but didn't cause any serious problems.

"It wasn't difficult, but it was different," the passenger said.

However, passengers on an EVA Airways flight that arrived from Taipei, Taiwan, just after the Dubai flight landed said that their flight crew had not instructed them to follow the same rules during the last hour as on the Dubai flight.

"It was a pretty normal flight," one passenger said, who declined to give his name. "We didn't have to stay in our seats for the last hour. We thought that was going to happen."

Another passenger, who also opted not to give her name, said they were only told on the flight not to use the restroom within 20 minutes of


President Obama addressed the nation from Hawaii today and said the investigation into the attempted terrorist attack is ongoing.

"This was a serious reminder of the dangers that we face and the nature of those who threaten our homeland," Obama said.

Laura Dudnick, Bay City News

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Like this comment
Posted by Alan L
a resident of another community
on Dec 29, 2009 at 8:12 am

Evidently someone did not appreciate my Orwell quotes. So let me use plainer language.

In the case of Mutallab, security forces knew or should have known that (1) Mutallab's father had reported him as a threat; (2) he was on a terror watch list; (3) he had a one-way ticket; (4) he had attended a terrorist training camp in Yemen; and (5) he did not present a passport when checking in for the flight. Despite all of this, he was still allowed on an international flight, where he attempted to murder about 300 people. I do not mention the American terror watch list because it is totally useless; 1 in every 300 Americans is listed on it, including my morbidly obese, white, Christian mother-in-law.

So the proper response is to improve training and rules for ticketing agents at the airline in question. Instead, what do we do? We create draconian new rules stating that no passengers are allowed to move during the last hour of flight. Mothers are required to leave their children wallowing in their own filth in order "to keep us safe". And what do we hope to prevent with these procrustean measures? Are we going to stop the Diaper Bomber from executing his ruthless schemes of death and destruction? No. These measures will accomplish nothing more than the inconvenience and discomfort of air travellers.

I have to wonder what the aim of this is. Is this simply to cow us into submission, to test our acquiescence to the faith that our paternal government knows what is best for us and will protect us from all boogeymen? Not so long ago, European writers used to despise monarchs for their paternalistic stance towards their subjects. They judged, rightly, that such paternalism crushed the human spirit of creativity and innovation and served no other purpose than to sustain the subject of the masses to despotic rule for the benefit of a small ruling elite. Has it come to this, now, that a once free people willingly bow before their masters, eagerly drinking whatever senseless drivel flies from the tongues of a servile press in defense of defenseless impositions? If they say all of these things are done for our safety, must we endlessly intone the mantra until the very core of our spirit crumbles into submission and blind faith in these absurdities?

I have no doubt the author of this story will find this offensive, but consider the appearance. A new rule is imposed on airline passenger that will not improve security one iota but will nonetheless impose significant discomfort and tedium on countless thousands every year. And are we really supposed to believe that every person interviewed thought this new policy was a good thing? It beggars the mind to even consider such a proposition. And that is why I termed this story as propaganda, because it willfully presents only one side of the story and is intended to create the impression that if you abhor these new rules, you are in the minority. In truth, I do not doubt that a majority of thinking people consider it a bit silly to claim that taking peoples books away at the end of a flight will make anyone safer. At least, I still have that much faith in human reason. Do you?

Like this comment
Posted by Terri
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Dec 29, 2009 at 10:34 am

All the meaningless, COSTLY, difficult to teach, theatrics are a waste. IF we ever decide we and our society are worth saving then we will get serious, act intelligently, toss phony political correctness and PROFILE. Don't pretend you care if you continue PC crap. How many warnings and how many like Ft Hood have to continue being murdered before you stop lying to yourself and others ? How many ? Do you have a number ? We've been lucky many times...our ODDS are getting pretty slim. How far are you going to push the odds before developing a brain and a spine.

Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Always nice to know how smart people are in government. Let's keep them in their seats in the last hour, no laptops. Yes that's intelligent. They have done nothing to stop a similiar guy from doing the samething and we are suppose to believe they are looking out for our welfare. LOL

Like this comment
Posted by RestOfStory
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Dec 29, 2009 at 10:56 pm

I completely agree with the sentiments expressed by the previous three writers. None of these fruitless and annoying measures would have done anything to stop this M____ Terrorist (text intentionally censored to meet requirements of the PC editors of the Pleasanton Weekly). (Yes, his "Religion" is a big part of the problem. Look at the direction he was receiving from his cleric(s).) Just remember that the "Change" a majority of you voted for is more interested in consolidating their power to silence any alternative voices than it is interested in protecting our country from these sort of people. If (I mean When) we experience another 9/11 event, this will provide the justification for implementing emergency measures that will permanently remove more of our freedoms. I bet the people who cried out against the Patriot Act will be completely silent about this real loss of freedom and rights. Every crisis is an opportunity in the planning of our current masters of change.

Like this comment
Posted by Ruth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Did anyone take notice that our Commander in Chief -- Obama -- immediately raced to to aid the son of his golf buddy. However it took Obama three full days to respond regarding the Detroit terrorism incident. When it comes to the safety of America, Obama...and his fellow Democrat Congresspeople rank our country as very low priority.

Like this comment
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Posters are smarter than governmental agencies.. help us please! Now there's a flurry of more pain for Sweedish grandmas from Iowa. Now let's order 4,000 million $$ bigger scanners, which will malfunction when we need them....which they keep forgetting to mention does not see into cavities or privates. Haven't they heard about the drug dealers that have swallowed baggies scheduled to be in stomach & bowel during checkin, etc. But we'll charge ahead with more waster $$, painful travel, etc DENYING REALITY...the ONLY thing that will work is PROFILING...and some signs reminding us POLITICAL CORRECTNESS KILLS...maybe YOUR FAMILY WILL BE NEXT !! Our lucky breaks have pretty well been used up. Enough stupidity !! Get HONEST ! YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT ! Since we seem to be clueless...take some lessons from Israel...take don't accept this silliness the way we're forced to.

Like this comment
Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Dec 30, 2009 at 9:35 pm


You are so ridiculous! 9/11 happened on Bush's watch, then he sat there for some seven minutes endangering the life of those school children after being told our country was under attack. Can you say duh!?

You just don't like President Obama, why don't you just say so instead of making of these stupid excuses for it. Be honest, it won't hurt you!

Like this comment
Posted by Martha
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Janna would be happy if the plane blew up...not a big enough deal for her to face up to. The TERRORIST should NOT have been ALLOWED on the plane. Our political correctness makes us weak, vunerable, and pathetic. I just saw family members of 911 victims, and they were disturbed that this guy was allowed on the plane !!! WHY was he on the plane?...because we'd rather pussy foot with terrorists and hassle a family with kids from Kansas, than stand up to world terrorists and say NO you're not allowed on our planes. The families were not happy with our joke of an intelligence system that sucks.

Like this comment
Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Dec 30, 2009 at 10:23 pm


DO NOT put words into my mouth. You know you should really be (Word removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)at Bush because he's the one who instituted all this Patriot Act garbage that obviously isn't working.

Martha would be happy if all Christians went to hell. Martha thinks everyone in P-town is selfish and greedy. That has about as much to do with what I said per your example. Shall I keep going? If you want to put words in people's mouth, let's go!

Like this comment
Posted by Martha
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Janna, you're mind's not connecting. You must not understand Patriot Act has NOTHING to do with US Embassy ignoring Father's TWO warnings and nothing to do with Virgina CIA sitting on the information.
I know you've always just copied the day's 'talking points' with grasping the content. Too bad you just had reduce the horrors of real terrorism down to petty politics. shame

Like this comment
Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Dec 30, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Actually, it's 'your.'

You know nothing about me. I think you're projecting quite a bit about those talking points. That's the right's thing. I don't use talking points you see, because I have a brain.

Like this comment
Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Dec 30, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Yeah, like how Bush ignored the PDB about 9/11 and Condaleezza Rice said they couldn't have imagined it even though the PDB was titled (paraphrasing) "Bin Laden Determined to Attack the U.S." Keep peddling your fantasies though.

Isn't there a Republican (DeMint) currently keeping Obama from appointing someone to head the TSA? What's up with that? Doesn't sound like that republican cares if we're safe.

How can you say it has nothing to do with the Patriot Act? That's where all the "lists" started.

Like this comment
Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Dec 30, 2009 at 11:23 pm

One more thing Martha:

You are the only one who is reducing this to petty politics. The first person you blame is our President. How is that NOT petty politics. Hypocrite!

Like this comment
Posted by Martha
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Janna, WHY are you SO knee-jerk defensive ! You MISTAKENLY say I reduced this to petty politics..that the first person I blamed was the president. WRONG on both ! In fact, I NEVER blamed or mentioned the president. But, IF the shoe fits...... I said WE won't say NO terrorists on our planes! That's bureaucracy like HomeSec,etc.. You're so USE to blaming presidents that you ASSUMED I was doing that too. It's BLOATED BUREAUCRACY where nobody steps up to accept blame. I said CIA was sitting on the father's tips. The whole country is talking about OUR country's survival, but YOU see that as POLITICS ?? The shoe must REALLY be pinching.

Like this comment
Posted by Martha
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Janna, I think you must have confused me with Ruth, who did mention the president.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Spelling police on duty here! Yup, the correct spelling is your and not you're...tee hee hee!

It seems to me that a few ole Plutonian hens are out to scalp you Janna? my my indeed...

(Portion of post removed)

Like this comment
Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Jan 2, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Our survival has nothing to with our defense. More people die from accidents, lack of health care, etc. than terrorists. I have no health care. I will more likely die from that than from a terrorist attack. You'll have to excuse me if I don't see that a priority in this country right now. I think most people are uber paranoid since 9/11. The right is pushing the whole "don't be PC or we might die" meme and it's just a distraction meant to keep people afraid.

You need terrorism to sell conservatism. That is how people are controlled.

I refuse to be afraid.

Like this comment
Posted by Janna
a resident of Dublin
on Jan 2, 2010 at 11:40 pm


Damn! I thought I was creative. Where do you come up with this stuff? My husband and I are laughing our butts offs!


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