It looks like I managed to return to Amsterdam late this morning through a narrow window of opportunity, so to speak, given the disruption to air travel that’s now biting hard following the terrorist plot in the UK that’s been foiled by police there.
I’ve been in New York for some business during the past three days (posted a few photos on my moblog), returning on the overnight KLM flight from JFK to Amsterdam. It was a direct flight, not via the UK, but the chaos at UK airports with the suspension of all flights to/from Heathrow and Gatwick today is already having a knock-on effect elsewhere in Europe.
There are some eye-opening changes for travellers as a result of this latest twist in the war on terror that I’m sure will have a long-term effect on everyone’s travel habits, and will be highly disruptive on business.
Right now in the UK, you’re not allowed to take anything on board a plane with you except for essential items like travel documents and your wallet or purse. No laptops, no phones, not even a book. Nothing in your pockets. What you do take should be carried in a clear plastic bag. And every passenger will be hand searched. For flights to the US, there’s an additional and thorough security check at the gate.
The Department for Transport has published a full list of the new requirements and procedures.
Even if these severe restrictions last only days or possibly weeks, I can see many elements of this becoming standard procedure and adopted in other countries in the interests of everyone’s security and safety.
If it helps stop the bad guys, who’s to complain?