Not the ophidians or the movie—but the human kind that was thwarted this morning from blowing up planes flying from the U.K. to the U.S. I won't go into all the gory details (you can get that the gazillion news reports out there, such as this one from MSNBC), but if you have attendees arriving via plane for a meeting today, it might be a nice touch to hand out a goody bag at your meet and greet that contains all the stuff they had to pitch before getting on board (toothpaste, shampoo, chapstick, etc.). Just a thought on one small way to make what I'm sure is a not-fun flying experience today a little more palatable.
Someone told me that even books are banned from flights leaving the U.K. today, which I find unbelievable. What do books have to do with liquid bombs?
And if, as the news reports are saying, we've been following this plot for weeks, why is it that no one started confiscating water bottles until after the bad guys were busted? Call me crazy, but if I knew the plot was to blow up planes using liquid bombs, I would have started confiscating the stuff before D-day. While I appreciate that TSA and security forces elsewhere are trying to keep us safe, all this reacting after-the-fact seems at best ineffective to me.
Anyway, here's some perspective from Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, on what this might mean:
1. This development will reinforce for corporations the importance of knowing at all times where their travelers are. This has become a travel management best practice for global corporations. The Air Canada Tango controversy and U.S. travel distribution reform both point to the threat of content fragmentation and the implied consequence of travelers booking flights outside their corporationâ€™s managed travel program at â€airline.comâ€ wherein information regarding their whereabouts is lost.
2. Foreign flag carriers will likely see an immediate boost in traffic, as U.S. carriers were the apparent targets.
3. A considerable amount of business travel to the UK will be cancelled for today, and the rest of the week due to security concerns as well as airport hassles.
4. Business travel to the UK will likely remain off if corporations and travelers are not confident that the threat has been eradicated.
5. Business travel demand will likely be dampened, at least somewhat, if additional security measures are perceived to be truly onerous. This has implications for domestic U.S. travel as well as U.S.-to-UK travel.
6. A falloff in business travel demand could blunt the upward pressure on U.S.-to-UK Business Class fare levels, which have been very strong this year.
7. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and some Members of Congress, will likely use this opportunity to argue for the removal of the cap on the number of airport screeners.
8. Registered Traveler program (RT) detractors will likely seize on this opportunity to argue airport security is serious business, and as such, resources, including TSA management time and attention, should not be diverted for the benefit of a small segment of the flying public. RT proponents will look at new levels of airport hassles and delays and argue the development only underscores the importance of the RT program.
9. New momentum will likely build behind Secure Flight. Some will argue (per the above point) that TSA resources devoted to RT should be immediately redirected to Secure Flight.
10. Fractional jet and corporate flight department options will receive greater interest from corporate security executives and senior management for security and executive productivity reasons.