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:
- From Australia to Heathrow
- From Russia to the US (but not apparently from Russia to the UK)
- From Seattle to Great Britain*
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.
© 2006, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.