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Old Jun 20, 12, 10:07 pm   #1
 
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NPR: Med Student Rescues Body Part From Airport Security

Bristol Airport security and EasyJet manage to nearly kill an innocent woman, set major regnerative organ therapy back by months or more, and cost a medical team $21,000 for arranging a private flight to fly around the perilous airport security.

NPR: Med Student Rescues Body Part From Airport Security

Bristol really sets the bar high, how can TSA top this?

Apologists or those who think those of us voting for change are making too much fuss: this is why I say this inane airport security is actively making us less safe.

Insane, fear-charged airport security isn't an annoyance to live with or another wasteful tax to write-off from your wages. It's downright dangerous.
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Old Jun 20, 12, 10:18 pm   #2
 
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While I understand the point, this took place in the UK (easyJet doesn't fly to the US). Thus, the TSA is not involved.
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Old Jun 20, 12, 11:14 pm   #3
 
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Originally Posted by cmn.jcs View Post
While I understand the point, this took place in the UK (easyJet doesn't fly to the US). Thus, the TSA is not involved.
Yes, it was Bristol, that's why I said they set the bar really high this time. TSA has been stealing the headlines for most of the past decade, but they have their work cut out, so to speak, to get in the lead again.

This nonsense isn't confined to just the U.S. Rationality and weighing risks using solid science need to happen everywhere.
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Old Jun 21, 12, 2:33 am   #4
 
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Seems a bit fishy. Firstly he booked easyjet, but it says it was the only direct flight so that is probably reasonable. But he didn't think to get some written documentation from the airline and just went straight to security?
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Old Jun 21, 12, 5:27 am   #5
 
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NPR: Med Student Rescues Body Part From Airport Security

The clear lesson is that airlines and airport security are built for a very narrow use case. Anything outside of that use case they are unable to understand, or assist. In the story, the solution was a private aircraft.

As "security" makes airline travel progressively more troublesome and dangerous access to private aircraft will be increasingly valuable. Additionally, the "security" will create larger markets for remote meetings, perhaps in the business-oriented virtual world discussed in today's WSJ.
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Old Jun 21, 12, 8:33 am   #6
 
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This story should be front-page in any countries that are participating in the War on Liquids, which could have literally cost a life. If the patient had died as a result of this, it would mean that airport "security" has cost one life--and saved zero, resulting in a net loss of life. It's already been noted that the increase in driving to avoid the TSA has resulted in more deaths than 9/11 itself.

If the private airplane were not available to come to the rescue:

Trains from Bristol to Paris: 5h 20m
Flight from Paris to Barcelona: 1h 40m

Of course, you'd have to assume that "security" would be willing to let you through in Paris with your liquid OBL.

Unfortunately, if you tell this story to a pro-TSAer, their response will be the following:

- Well, they got the organ in on time, didn't they?
- That could have been a liquid bomb and blown the airplane up!

I recently had the following conversation with a pro-TSAer:

"What would happen if someone stood up in flight with a gun and announced their intent to hijack?"

"That won't happen; the TSA keeps guns off airplanes."

"If someone wants to get a gun onto an airplane, they will. The TSA has a 50+% failure rate finding guns. Even if they were perfect, someone who works in an airside vendor could put a gun in the middle of a pallet full of goods and sneak it right in."

"But that's different."

"OK, so what happens if someone pulls out a gun in flight?"

"The passengers would panic!"

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Old Jun 21, 12, 8:53 am   #7
 
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Originally Posted by cmn.jcs View Post
While I understand the point, this took place in the UK
Four years ago. Don't know why NPR has resurrected it.
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Old Jun 21, 12, 9:04 am   #8
 
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If this was TSA no doubt they would ask for the name of the organ donor so they could check and make sure he was not on the No Fly List.
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Old Jun 21, 12, 11:40 am   #9
 
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Old Jun 21, 12, 12:13 pm   #10
 
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There are standard procedures in place designating flights which carry perisable organs. Sending one of these organs with a med-student through airport security without any paper work isn't one of them.
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Old Jun 21, 12, 1:05 pm   #11
 
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Originally Posted by joeyrukkus View Post
There are standard procedures in place designating flights which carry perisable organs. Sending one of these organs with a med-student through airport security without any paper work isn't one of them.
It wasn't sent "with a med-student ... without any paperwork ..."

It was carried by a professor who is an MD who had previously contacted the airline to make arrangements. A non-aviation person can't be expected to know the local ins-and-outs of airline and security procedures; that's what they're paying the airline for.

The med-student merely did what many grad students are very adept at--finding an out-of-the-box workaround in the form of a short-notice private flight.

Too bad there's probably no way to bill EasyJet and/or whatever entity controls security at Bristol for the flight.
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Old Jun 21, 12, 6:14 pm   #12
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Originally Posted by joeyrukkus View Post
There are standard procedures in place designating flights which carry perisable organs. Sending one of these organs with a med-student through airport security without any paper work isn't one of them.
The thing is while this was destined for transplantation it was not being carried by the people who normally carry transplant organs as it wasn't a cadaver organ in the first place.

Thus he didn't know the details. He called and asked, he was told it was ok. Why should he think he needs to do more?
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Old Jun 21, 12, 8:15 pm   #13
 
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
Thus he didn't know the details. He called and asked, he was told it was ok.
By whom? Many here know the pitfalls of dealing with low and mid-level airline employees. You get incorrect information, the bum's rush or both. Finding someone with the knowledge and authority to deal with whatever your problem is can be a long and frustrating saga, one in which a university professor would be hopelessly lost. Probably accepted the first answer he got from some outsourced call center drone.
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Old Jun 21, 12, 10:02 pm   #14
 
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Birchall told reporters he had gone to the Bristol Airport ahead of time and was given specific packaging instructions, which he carefully followed.
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Old Jun 22, 12, 7:30 am   #15
 
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Originally Posted by Wally Bird View Post
Many here know the pitfalls of dealing with low and mid-level airline employees. You get incorrect information, the bum's rush or both. Finding someone with the knowledge and authority to deal with whatever your problem is can be a long and frustrating saga, one in which a university professor would be hopelessly lost.
More to the point: how do you know that the person giving you an authoritative answer actually (a) has the authority to answer, and (b) actually knows the answer? This is a common failing in most areas of life, not just airline security; most people are incredibly bad judges of their own lack of knowledge in an area.

Frankly, after reading the stories here at FT for years, I don't find anything surprising about this story at all. Okay, the element of drama involved with saving a person's life is unusual. But getting conflicting information from airport security officials about what is and isn't allowed through a security checkpoint --- especially regarding an unusual item? Happens every single day.
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