Newspaper Editors Don’t Need Carry-On

This morning’s New York Times’ editorial page joins many of its ink-stained brethern in calling for a ban on carry-on luggage. While as wrong-headed in its conclusions as other editorialists, they’ve focused on the right issue — improved security — rather than the “improved speed of boarding” argument which we showed in an earlier post lacked a common understanding of simple mathematics. I do think it’s a bit rich, though, for the NY Times to be using the security argument to support this reactive proposition when when they’ve brushed it aside in earlier editorials against proactive security-enhancing proposals such as passenger profiling and data mining.

I’m not trying to be any kind — left or right — of wing-nut. As someone who flies 2,3 or 4 times a week — a lot more than your average newspaper editor — I don’t think I’m arm-chair quarterbacking this topic. Every time I board a flight, I have real skin in the game, my own. And, having weighed the risks, I’d like to be able to get some work done on the 12 hours I’m strapped in a seat so that I can spend some time with my family when I’m not. While the NY Times editors, as the producer of printed reading material, certainly have a reason to hope that a carry-on-free cabin would cause “some people … to go over reading material, or even revert to pen and paper”, those of us with 21st-Century jobs know better.

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2 Comments.

  1. Hi Mark,

    Having just returned to San Francisco on a non-stop flight from Boston, I felt the need to vent some irritation at the airlines and felt this the perfect place to do it. 🙂

    I know that the airlines are cutting costs, so while it irks me that they no longer give out food for free, I have to admit that I’d rather have good pilots than good food (and it’s not like the food was good in coach anyhow). My problem on this trip was that the food service (buy a $5 snack box) was offered 30-minutes into a 6-hour cross-country flight. Most people, knowing the food service on board is lacking these days, were eating in the airport while waiting for the flight, myself included. Why can’t the airlines offer the food service, say, half-way through the flight when people are starting to get hungry instead of forcing people to eat immediately and then get nothing else but a small cup of some of drink for the rest of the flight? Sure, you can save some of the snacks for later, but it’s kind of a hassle to jam everything into the seat pocket in front of you (or wherever you can find to put it). It just didn’t make any sense to me.

    On a lighter note, the TSA agent at the security screening in San Francisco on the way out on Saturday was a one-man show. He kept us all informed and entertained in his loud booming voice, “Ladies, you CAN take lipstick on the plane. And men, since this is San Francisco, you can take your lipstick on the plane as well.” At least it got people smiling and eased the pain of the mandatory shoe removal.

    Safe travels,
    Amy

  2. Amy –

    One of the greatest things about Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class service was that they served you the meal when you wanted it, not when they felt like it. On a Miami-San Francisco flight, they fed us in the first hour and then we still had almost 6 hours left… to do what, watch Matt Lauer on Today show reruns? In-flight food is as much a diversion as a meal. I agree that on a transcon flight, they ought to space things out a bit.

    Regards,
    Mark