Delta Blues — Airline Security in the Age of Terrorism

Haim Watzman

Here I am stuck in New Jersey, while the four suitcases checked by me and Ilana are in flight. In other words, while security at Kennedy International Airport kept Ilana and me from bringing hand cream into the secure area, our luggage was allowed to fly on its own to Israel. If a terrorist wanted to blow up an airplane, would he rather use a jar of Ponds or a large valise?

The story began when we arrived at JFK last evening for Delta flight 86 to Tel Aviv. We checked our suitcases, received our boarding passes, had our carry-on bags x-rayed and our persons put through sensors. But when we arrived at the gate, we were informed that the flight would be delayed by an hour and a half. We waited, and then take-off was put off until midnight, and then until 1 a.m.

By that time it was clear that the flight would, at best, arrive only minutes before Shabbat came in, leaving us no time to get to Jerusalem. So we reluctantly relinquished our dreams of a warm Shabbat with our four children and asked to be rescheduled for Sunday night’s flight.

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