Damn. Let's run around and try to prevent something that's already happened, so it looks like we're DOING SOMETHING. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...
So we're going to piss off the traveling public, who will now cancel any non-critical flights (I'm not flying anywhere until they come to their senses, for work or otherwise). This will (as usual) cause more economic problems.
How in the hell does "keep people in their seats during the last hour" stop someone from blowing up the plane, oh say - WHEN IT'S TAKING OFF? How about randomly in mid-air? Supposedly the PETN that the NW 253 terrorist tried to light would have blown a hole in the side of the plane - but that's only effective when the aircraft is fully pressurized (like in the middle of a long flight - not when it's descending for approach). It would probably also be effective during the stress of takeoff (witness the concorde crash and others). So what are they going to do next, handcuff everyone to the seats before taking off? Provide same-sex chaperones for the lavatories (hope mine is extra thin...).
Plus, what the hell does "disable all communication equipment" have to do with stopping a terrorist attack? Supposedly the NW 253 terrorist was "in a daze", and I didn't see any reports that he tried to contact anyone. So, we have to make things especially uncomfortable for the 99.9999% of OTHER people when there isn't any reason to suspect this as a problem?
Finally, I'm pretty damn sure that a "full pat down, concentrating on the upper legs and torso" is a violation of a person's rights. Unless, of course, we're all getting arrested for being crazy enough to try to fly in the first place. I always thought it was "innocent until proven guilty" and they needed "reasonable cause" to violate someone's rights. I don't think they have "reasonable cause" to pat down every passenger just to make sure they're not bruising someone's feelings or causing someone to feel like they've been profiled. I think there's a big difference between a traffic officer profiling individuals (which has been an valid issue in the past and possibly still today in some jurisdictions) and security agencies profiling classes of individuals based on specific, valid intelligence. Of course, it seems like the security agencies are afraid to apply any intelligence.
So, count me out on commercial flying for the foreseeable future. I think I'll drive, even though driving is statistically more dangerous than flying. At least they haven't figured out a way to strip search me before I get in the car to drive.
Wow. Although the TSA has apparently began to ease some of these restrictions, all they have done is changed "must" to "at the discretion of the flight crew/airline". I still don't think it's going to make much of an actual difference, just like making everyone take off their shoes wouldn't make a difference if someone had a PETN bomb (not detectable by normal means) in their shoe - which they get to put back on after the security checkpoint. Just sayin'