Weekend what we’re reading: Stowaway plans to sue, tighter terrorist watchlists, glamour in the skies?


The family of a 16-year old boy who, this past November 2010, fell thousands of feet to his death after evading airport security measures and stowing away in the landing gear of a major U.S. airliner traveling from Charlotte, North Carolina to Boston, Massachusetts, has hired an attorney and is expected to “pursue legal action of the highest order.”

It’s now time this story be told and all facets of it explored – including the considerable ominous implications to our national security at large. Most importantly, we intend to seek justice for a child who, although culpable for making irresponsible and immature decisions representative of his age, should never have successfully gained access to that airplane. Had airport security been up to par, he would be alive and well with his family today.”

The FBI indicated that terrorist watchlist criteria have been strengthened

After the Christmas Day bomber more than a year ago, the director of the FBI Terrorist Screening Center has said that now only one report of possible terrorist activity is enough to get someone placed on the terrorist watchlist.

Officials insist they have been vigilant about keeping law-abiding people off the master list. The new criteria have led to only modest growth in the list, which stands at 440,000 people, about 5 percent larger than last year. The vast majority are non-U.S. citizens.

“Despite the challenges we face, we have made significant improvements,” Michael E. Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said in a speech this month at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “And the result of that is, in my view, that the threat of that most severe, most complicated attack is significantly lower today than it was in 2001.”

The master watch list is used to screen people seeking to obtain a visa, cross a U.S. border, or board an airliner in or destined for the United States.

Flight attendant’s job is hard, challenging, wonderful

This story from the Dallas Morning News tells the ugly, the bad and the good or a flight attendants life. Jetting across the globe or flying across the continent several times a month, might seem, in the abstract, a good time, but reality of hours on your feet, broken sleep and changing time zones is harshly different.

The glamour attracted her to the job as a 21-year-old; today, at age 40, it’s a bit harder to find the thrill.

“If there’s glamour still in this job, I don’t really see it,” said Laura Glading, a New York-based flight attendant who serves as the president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. Having to work harder to earn the previous levels of income, coupled with more responsibilities and a coarser flying public, can create fatigue.

“I feel very motherly about it, but in my position I think our members are flying a very, very unhealthy lifestyle,” Glading said. She has a hard time recommending the profession to people interesting in flying. “I think it’s gotten tougher for the fliers, too, but for our members the job has been a real struggle.”

Photo: http://www.ecslimited.com/ProjectDetail.cfm?id=61

  • MVFlyer

    Oh PULEEEEEZE–The kid: illegally avoids security; illegally got onto the tarmac; illegally stowed away in the wheel well, and it’s someone else’s fault? Security was lax? Maybe so, but that’s not why they’re suing–they want $$$$. And you know what, they’ll probably win.

    Another one for the Darwin Awards.

  • Nigel

    While I have every sympathy with the parents and other family members over the death of this 16 year old, he was responsible for his actions and as a minor (in most jurisdictions) his parents are utimately responsible for his actions. These actions were ilegal and/or criminal. Breaching security, illegally on the ramp or taxiway, stowing away in a wheel well thereby endangering an aircraft in flight.

    The airline should sue the parents, as should the State if this rediculous suit by the parents goes ahead. I wonder if sanity will prevail and if all involved will relax and stay away from lawyers. Somehow I doubt it.

    The only people who will benefit in the end will be the lawyers.

  • PauletteB

    Yet another instance of blamesmanship that will serve only to enrich the bottom-feeding lawyers who take such cases. My sympathies to the family, but the kid was old enough to make a decision to knowingly break the law.