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9:51am on Friday, 18th August, 2006:

Freedom of the Skies


Here's my latest idea for making money: risk-aware airlines.

You set up an airline that doesn't bother with security checks. This will make it less expensive, and it'll be much quicker to board your flight. People can take whatever they want onto the plane, so long as it's legal for them to carry it in the street. Flying from one US state to another US state and they both allow personal handguns? Not a problem. Feel the need to cut your fingernails on a transatlantic flight? Those clippers are fine. Want to explode the plane in mid-air? Well, we'll stop you if we notice your bomb, just like we would if you had one in the High street, but we're not going to knock ourselves out looking. Our aim is customer convenience and reduced prices. If you see a bomb, please use your eating utensils to disarm the bomber.

Would terrorists and other crazies try to kill themselves and everyone else on board? It's possible, but they won't enhance their reputation by doing so — the attitude of the general public would be that the passengers knew the risks, and if they do get killed, well, it was their decision. Sure, most flights with the airline are more agreeable and cost less without all those tiresome security hassles, but if people want to take that kind of risk, well, they can't complain when it works against them.

The thing is, even if terrorists brought down one flight every month, you'd still have a greater chance of dying in a car accident on your way to the airport than you would of being killed by a suicide bomber.

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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).