UK Terror Plot Affecting Heathrow/Gatwick With Highest Security To Date

As you probably know, Scotland Yard has discovered a terror plot to set off liquid explosives on transcontinental flights from the U.K. to the U.S. To this point, 24 people have been arrested and 5 more are being searched for. The plan had been to set off liquid explosives that were transported in carry-on luggage disguised as sports drinks* in a series of 10 explosions on separate planes set off simultaneously creating mass hysteria and economic disaster.

The point that I find most interesting is not that Al Queda has shown us their creativity again, but that the resulting security measures are an astronomical leap from the previous raised threat level measures, at least in the United Kingdom. Here is the list of exceptions allowed** onto to planes leaving Heathrow Airport (note the fascinating changes I highlighted):

Hand baggage restrictions:
These measures will prevent passengers from carrying hand luggage into the cabin of an aircraft with the following excepts (which must be placed in a plastic bag***):

  • pocket size wallets and pocket size purses plus contents (for example money, credit cards, identity cards etc (not handbags));
  • travel documents essential for the journey (for example passports and travel tickets);
  • prescription medicines and medical items sufficient and essential for the flight (e.g. diabetic kit), except in liquid form unless verified as authentic.****
  • spectacles and sunglasses, without cases.
  • contact lens holders, without bottles of solution.
  • for those travelling with an infant: baby food, milk (the contents of each bottle must be tasted by the accompanying passenger) and
  • sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight (nappies, wipes, creams and nappy disposal bags).female sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight, if unboxed (eg tampons, pads, towels and wipes).
  • tissues (unboxed) and/or handkerchiefs
  • keys (but no electrical key fobs)
  • All passengers must be hand searched, and their footwear and all the items they are carrying must be x-ray screened. Any liquids discovered must be removed from the passenger.
  • Pushchairs and walking aids must be x-ray screened, and only airport-provided wheelchairs may pass through the screening point. In addition to the above, all passengers boarding flights to the USA and all the items they are carrying, including those acquired after the central screening point, must be subjected to secondary search at the boarding gate. Any liquids discovered must be removed from the passenger.

    *The actual plot appears to be to have carried sports drink bottles on board with a gel explosive at the bottom of the bottle dyed red with real red sports drink on top of the explosive. That way, if the bottle raised suspicion, and the terrorist was asked to drink the drink he would be able to actually do so. Frightening.

    **This list is ALL that is allowed. No books, no newspapers, no magazines, no toys for children, no electronics of any kind (which would also mean you would have to check things we have always been told never to check such as cameras and jewelry).

    ***Passengers are given a clear plastic bag to carry on the plane. (I feel sorry for any women on their periods. That could be a little embarrassing.)

    ****Security is literally calling doctors to verify prescriptions.

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