Thursday, June 09, 2011

Some airplanes at risk if passengers leave cell phones on; my own incident with the TSA


There are a couple of stories about airline safety this morning.

Brian Ross is reporting  on ABC GMA that leaving cell phones (and Blackberries) on during takeoff and landing in flights could disrupt navigation devices in older planes (not the newer ones that allow WiFi and have more shielding).  Even one cell phone left on could cause an issue. John Nance questioned the findings.

On Monday morning, at the MSP airport, I noticed that I did not have to go through the new cat-scan-like device, just the old metal detector. The newer devices, which essentially show Xrays and no images of any possible erotic interest, would show a screener that my surgical plate in my pelvis is just that. I was surprised I wasn’t stopped.  Then I noticed I had left my MiFi card in my suit rather than putting it on the tray. 

I asked the TSA personnel if it could have been harmed, and they thanked me for honesty and ran the MiFi card back through security in the tray according to regulations. No, I wasn’t trying to see what holes there were, but they did miss this.  

The Verizon MiFi Secure card did continue to work just fine in the airport in giving a connection with moderate-speed Internet access, good enough for the road.  (Hotel WiFi’s seem to be pretty good.)

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