Books Banned on Flights: An Inconsistent Policy

Booksquare points to this LA Times article about LAX passengers traveling to London having to check in their laptops and shifting to reading books in the process. But the folks in Southern California are a hell of a lot luckier than those flying from SFO to London, who were forced to check in all books before the ten hour flight to Heathrow.

In fact, books are being banned at a number of airports:

In that last article, a traveler named Allison Yearsley remarks, “The thought of 10 hours without a book is awful.” And I have to agree. Short of a terrorist explosion (statistically improbable), I can’t think of anything much worse when flying. What a stupendous waste of time!

The folks at Heathrow have gone overboard with their security paranoia. This was, after all, a foiled plot. Banning liquids is one thing, but have they not considered that permitting books might allow passengers to remain calmer and more relaxed, thus causing less of a burden to both security and passengers? They’ve banned matches and lighters from security. What exactly are the passengers going to do? Rip out pages and fold them into paper airplanes? Wow, weapons of mass paper construction!

Further, why do Angelenos flying into Heathrow get books and those up the coastline don’t? Like any madness, there’s no consistent method here. Or perhaps those flying out of LAX are more likely to cause a scene. Or maybe it’s all designed to facilitate Paris Hilton.

Whatever the reasoning behind book banning, these new flight restrictions have transformed the act of flying into something resembling a mobile solitary confinement cell.

* — Even worse, a couple was forced to pack away their kid’s coloring books.


  1. i agree. the way that this is being portrayed over here is completely mad. it’s as if the media has gone hysterical over it. and what gets me is that when the 7/7 tube disaster happened last year hardly anything was done on the tube to prevent disaster – books weren’t banned, not even bags was banned, and yet that was acceptable. but there seems to be a weird thing that happens in regards to airplanes that makes those in power go that bit further towards crazyness. at the moment it’s winding me up – it’s on every channel at the same time.

  2. I am sure the no hand luggage policy will be here to stay AND it will have a significant impact on airport and airplane design:
    a) all shops after customs/security will have to close since you cannot bring the items on board.
    b) the overhead locker in airplanes will become obsolete giving us more headspace nd a headache fro airline desginers Boing and Airbus.
    And finally I am sure airlines will quickly adapt to the new situation and will soon carry a library with bestsellers since they already distribute free papers.

  3. i’m wondering where it stops. if they can put explosives into book bindings, surely they can put them into wallet bindings. certainly detonators could be built into keychains. how are people supposed to check their wallets and keys with the chances of losing your luggage as they are? you’d think the world has gone crazy until you remember, oh yeah, it’s always doing that.

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