So Long, Friendly Skies

Categories: Spaced City
It's still the safest way to travel.

Well, thanks a lot, terrorists.

If you're traveling by plane this morning, you'd better really dress down. By now, you've no doubt heard that British police have thwarted a would-be bomb plot against British flights destined for the U.S. The plot, as Brit officials say, was meant to unleash "mass murder on an unimaginable scale."

Lovely. The U.S. threat level is raised to High, or Orange for all commercial aviation operating in the U.S., including international flights. Flights from the U.K. to the U.S. are Red.

Tired of Fox News's overnight coverage, I (sleepily) called Marlene McClinton, a spokeswoman for Bush Intercontinental Airport -- and yeah, the former KHOU anchor -- for the scoop. She says that as of 5 a.m., security changes are still being formulated. But she confirms that all liquids are prohibited on all flights, with the exception of medication and baby formula. (No word yet if passengers have to taste the formula in front of airport security, as is the case in the U.K.) Also, passengers are expected to take off their shoes.

McClinton says there'll be receptacles for passengers to dispose of all the extra stuff that's now not allowed on flights. Folks can also expect increased random searches and a much stronger law enforcement presence.

If you're heading to Bush IAH or Hobby, McClinton says you should allow at least two hours for a domestic flight, and at least three hours for international. (Two international flights leave Bush before noon, others are slated to arrive around 1 p.m.)

So if you're lucky enough to be traveling today, McClinton's advice is to check the TSA's site for guidelines, and check with your individual carrier. As of now, there are no cancellations (of course, it's before 6 a.m., and the day is young). McClinton promises more details after 6:30 a.m., when there'll be a major press conference.

Bush handles between 1,600 and 1,900 flights per day, Hobby sees 800 to 1,000. So today should be a real joy. "It's going to be a tough day," says McClinton. "If you have a flight, I would really scale down and pare back. I would come in as close to sleek as I could." Or, look into Greyhound. — Steven Devadanam


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