Dennis Prager

If the government prohibits airline passengers from getting out of their seats during the last hour of a flight, I hereby announce that I will get out of my seat either to escort someone who needs to use the lavatory or because I do. I understand that I may be arrested, but I am willing to make this a cause celebre.

Aside from a genetic incapacity to be directed by irrationality, I will make this protest on behalf of fellow passengers who are in pain because of this idiotic rule. What are diabetics, for example, supposed to do? And considering the fact that "the last hour of a flight" is always more than an hour, often considerably more -- given the frequent delays in approaching airports and given the approximately 15-20 minutes between landing and passengers actually disembarking.

I am not prepared to obey rules that hurt the innocent while doing nothing to prevent terrorism.

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When exactly will airline passengers be permitted to relieve themselves? Seatbelt signs are now illuminated -- meaning passengers are not allowed out of their seats -- for at least the half hour it takes to leave the gate and achieve optimum altitude. And on many planes, those signs are (often pointlessly) illuminated for much of the flight after that as well.

Therefore, if passengers are not allowed to get up during the last hour, that would mean that on a two-hour flight, passengers would be fortunate to have a total of 20 minutes when they could stand to stretch, get a book or go to the lavatory.

Furthermore, since passengers are also not allowed to "congregate" outside the lavatories, passengers will actually have to compete with one another in order to get to the bathroom. The slower ones, or the ones seated furthest from the lavatories, may not have any chance to go to the bathroom in a two-hour or longer flight.

These useless, dignity-robbing,\ rules could have been averted if available technologies and a more intelligent approach to catching terrorists had been adopted.

One such technology is full-body scanning.

According to Robert Poole, adviser to the White House and Congress on airport security following 9-11, the explosives "which the terrorist concealed in his underwear would have been detected had he been required to pass through one of the 15 millimeter-wave body-scanners now in use at Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport)."

And Charlotte Bryan, a former top TSA and FAA official, told CNN that a body scanner could have stopped Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, terror suspect on Northwest 253.


Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.
 
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