Box Cutter Found On United Airlines Flight Causes Delay

A box cutter was found by a passenger on United flight 490 from Denver to Dallas Tuesday, causing a delay of almost two hours while the passengers were rescreened. From the AP:

Flight 490 had left the gate and was taxiing toward a runway when the passenger found the cutting instrument and notified a flight attendant, United Airlines spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said.

The flight attendant notified authorities, and Transportation Security Administration officials met the plane on the tarmac. McCarthy said all the passengers were taken off the plane and re-screened while officials checked the plane for additional weapons.

None were found and the plane took off at 2:25 p.m., nearly two hours after its scheduled 12:30 p.m. takeoff.

A TSA spokesperson told a local Denver TV station, “That’s why we have armed pilots and federal air marshals so that if prohibited items do get on board, there are other layers of security.” Do you really think someone could hijack a plane with a box cutter now? They’d be dead before they could say, “I’m just trying to open this bag of pretzels.” Chuck Norris would surely teleport in to save the day. Anyway, good job TSA. —MEGHANN MARCO

Box cutter onboard Dallas-bound plane delays flight [USAToday]
(Photo:Stephen Wiltherden)

Comments

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  1. Gasface says:

    Do I detect a hint of sarcasm?

  2. Pasketti says:

    If nothing else, the passengers would beat the snot out of anyone that tried.

  3. What the article doesn’t say is that the passenger who found the box cutter was not allowed to board the plane. He was tortured into giving a confession then locked in a secret prison that “doesn’t exist” and denied access to anyone especially a lawyer, despite not being charged with a crime.

  4. Kornkob says:

    I don’t see the problem here. They found something that had been used as a weapon in the past on a plane. They took action to ensure that it was an isolated item.

    *shrug*

    They are pretty much damned either way with this– if they don’t clear the plane again people would claim that they weren’t using reasonable caution. If they do clear the plane people complain that they delayed the flight unnessicarily.

  5. esqdork says:

    The TSA can steal money from 12-year old children like no one’s business but cannot screen out a box cutter.

  6. A TSA spokesperson told a local Denver TV station, “That’s why we have armed pilots and federal air marshals so that if prohibited items do get on board, there are other layers of security.”

    This statement bugs me. Seems to me that “we have armed pilots and federal air marshals” because TSA screeners cannot stop prohibited items from getting on board.

  7. ChiefDanGeorge says:

    Maybe the item was placed in the allowable 1 quart plastic bag. Liquids are the new WMDs for the TSA now.

  8. faust1200 says:

    Air marshals are on than less than 5% of flights according to various articles on the internet including the Washington Times. So good luck with that!

  9. synergy says:

    @esqdork: FTW!

  10. troublz says:

    Am I the only one that’s impressed that this ordeal only delayed the flight by 2 hours?

  11. MissPinkKate says:

    If I find a box cutter on an airplane, I’m putting my bag on top of it and keeping my big trap shut! What an asshole.

  12. valkin says:

    You can smuggle in a box cutter but throw out those normal size deodorants!

  13. MeOhMy says:

    @SteveJeltzFan:

    A TSA spokesperson told a local Denver TV station, “That’s why we have armed pilots and federal air marshals so that if prohibited items do get on board, there are other layers of security.”

    This statement bugs me. Seems to me that “we have armed pilots and federal air marshals” because TSA screeners cannot stop prohibited items from getting on board.

    It shouldn’t bug you – it’s an illustration of one of the fundamentals of security called “Defense-In-Depth.” Knowing that no single security measure can be completely foolproof, there must be multiple layers of security. Even if the TSA screeners were awesome at what they do, it would still be necessary to have additional layers of security. If the TSA said “We don’t need locked cockpits and armed pilots because nothing gets by the screeners. Ever.” that’s the time to really get pissed.

    I wonder what happened to the person that reported it. I once inadvertently snuck a pocket knife past TSA screeners. I put it in the bin with my wallet and keys and didn’t even realize it was there until I picked it up. I really wanted to be honest and let someone know but I figured the end result would be me getting detained for hours, potentially arrested and either way missing my flight and my honeymoon cruise, so I ditched the knife and went on my way. Nothing like discouraging good citizenship.

  14. timmus says:

    Flight 490 had left the gate and was taxiing toward a runway when the passenger found the cutting instrument and notified a flight attendant, United Airlines spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said.

    I bet after all that, this passenger was a VERY unpopular person for the rest of the day. For chrissake, a maintenance worker probably left it there.

  15. wesrubix says:

    What’s disappointing here is that TSA didn’t find it in the first place, assuming the box cutter boarded the plane from a person. Oh wait, of COURSE it did. Be it flight crew, current passengers, or past passengers…

    ugh.

    Friends of mine who’ve flown El Al (Israeli Airline) say the security people there go through all of your luggage. They pad you down (gender matched) and they find anything and everything. If the US is going to do travel security right, follow the airline that has never had a hijacking, ever, in its entire existing: El Al.

    Oh what’s that? You want to do it the American way? It should be privatized you say? Not Federalized by oh I don’t know, a group that wouldn’t slack off say, the Marines, or the Naval Reserve. Oh wait, those are all in Iraq? Oh ok. Then I guess we’ll go with your way.

    My Sarcasm Meter broke half way through.

  16. Trai_Dep says:

    I’d be okay w/ multiple layers of defense if they focused on credible threats, not security Kabuki.

    Anyone pulling out anything other than a fully-loaded Uzi will be beaten to a pulp before he stands. Even if he escaped that fate, the pilots now would (regretably) watch thru their keyhole while the guy slit the throats of the entire support crew then each passenger. That ship has sailed and terrorists know it. TSA does not.

    Likewise the “liquid explosives”, which have been shown to be malarky.

    Like other posters said, copy what works from other countries and discard the rest. But of course that won’t happen cuz TSA is myopic and hates ferriners.

  17. gundark says:

    Seriously, this is insane. Terrorists have “terrorized” us to the point where logic and common sense are thrown out the window far too often.
    MissPinkKate is 110% correct. I would rather worry about kicking some ass at a mile high then be delayed 2 hours over a freaking box cutter. Besides if someone was going to use it, dont you think they would keep track of it instead of letting it be “found”?
    The TSA is a failure, does anyone actually feel safer then before they did body cavity searches on us?

  18. joethebob says:

    Price of flight from Denver to Dalls: 79$
    Price of box cutter: 79 cents

    Price of pissing off a plane full of passengers, a flight crew, and a security team due to their own paranoid policies: priceless

  19. royal72 says:

    OMG!!! a box cutter! everyone, i found a box cutter and were all gonna die!!!… please continue to panic in an orderly fashion and be sure to live in fear, so you willingly give up any and all of your constitutional rights.*

    *constitutional rights are implied only and have no actual value. rights may be revoked at anytime for, but not limited to: nazi t-shirts at walmart, being of middle eastern decent, having an attitude, using chop sticks, steroids in baseball, carrying a water bottle, smoking, having a copy of the bill of rights, being fat, not watching american idol, having frankie goes to hollywood on your ipod, concealing a pack of starburst, not taking your fda approved drugs, believing the declaration of independence… and what ever the fuck else we think of.

  20. guroth says:

    “Not Federalized by oh I don’t know, a group that wouldn’t slack off say, the Marines, or the Naval Reserve.”

    I think some men in the navy would be oh too eager to pat down other men.

  21. Jory says:

    Imagine guys, that you found a box cutter under your seat on a plane. I’d probably report it to, lest someone else find it under MY seat and report me and I have to go through that whole being arrested/tortured ordeal.

  22. Landru says:

    I have a friend who returned from a trip and had a one-way ticket and an expired drivers license.

    He knew he would raise all sorts of flags so he went to the airport early to check in.

    They xray’d and double checked his carry-on, ran him through a special security line so they could wand him (twice!).

    When he got home and unpacked his bag, he found a box cutter that he’d forgotton about.

  23. strathmeyer says:

    In flight, do you think you could explain to the flight attendant that you just found this box cutter before everyone else on the plane beat you to death?

  24. Trai_Dep says:

    If you’re a love machine with a 10″ “friend”, do you have to warn the flight attendant? Would the TSA want to measure it? Subject you to an extra vigorous pat-down while in line?

  25. Trai_Dep says:

    (I’ve found: yes, yes, no unless you request it)

  26. ahwannabe says:

    @wesrubix: Tell me about it. El Al hires ex-paratroopers as flight attendents, and absolutely nobody messes with them. And nobody calls them “stewardesses” either.

  27. Nygdan says:

    I’d think it rather sensible to delay the flight if there is a blade found on board. The 911 hijackers apparently only had boxcutters, and no one fought back against them. Planes since 911 have been hijacked in different parts of the world, and the passengers didn’t storm the hijackers en mass.

    Especially since this was only a two hour delay. Heck, they delay flights for 12 hours if its too rainy.

  28. Trai_Dep says:

    Nydan: can you cite a flight that was hijacked with box-cutter type weapons that was successfully comandeered after 2002?

    You’d think we’d all have heard of it. Ad naseum. But I don’t recall it happening.

  29. William C Bonner says:

    I once couldn’t get my seat to stay in a fully upright position. Something in the mechanism was broken. I found out about this while we were taxiing out from the gate.

    When the flight attendant was telling me to put my seat in the upright position for takeoff I pointed out the problem. She said I could either hold the seat up during takeoff or we could go back to the gate.

    I held the seat upright during takeoff, or at least when any of the flight attendants could see me.

  30. MusterMark says:

    @wesrubix
    What’s disappointing here is that TSA didn’t find it in the first place, assuming the box cutter boarded the plane from a person. Oh wait, of COURSE it did. Be it flight crew, current passengers, or past passengers…

    ugh.

    Friends of mine who’ve flown El Al (Israeli Airline) say the security people there go through all of your luggage. They pad you down (gender matched) and they find anything and everything. If the US is going to do travel security right, follow the airline that has never had a hijacking, ever, in its entire existing: El Al.

    Ah, not true. Once in the 60s, the Palestinians did it.
    Yes El Al does have ridiculous security. The one time I flew to Israel they questioned each member of our party for about 15 mins separately. Said stuff to us in different languages, I guess looking for a reaction…. They asked us questions about each other, why we were going, and then asked them again, checking them against our original answers.
    I was all together a very interesting experience.

    And everyone working on the plane is ex military cause they are all israeli and every israeli serves in the military!

    El Al is also subsidized my the government, so they have no fewer then 6 armed plain cloths soldiers on every flight to and from israel, how much do you think that would cost?? And did I mention compulsory military service?

    So “lets be like el al” is not the answer. Its not even viable.