Air Safety The Israeli Way

Completely off-topic for NYE:

Regarding the latest attempt to blow up a US airliner, there’s been a lot of words spoken on news channels and written in mainstream media and on blogs about the TSA, air safety, and whether terrorism on board passenger airplanes can be stopped. There’s complaints about the way security inspectors at airport do (or don’t do) their jobs. Low-paid, bored workers, despised simply for doing their tedious jobs, make people take off shoes but inadvertently let cigarette lighters and pocket knifes onboard.

If you want to see air safety done properly, travel on El Al to Tel Aviv. Then travel back again. El Al jets have been prominent targets for attacks for decades. The Israelis have learnt how to keep their jets in the air. From Wikipedia:

El Al is widely acknowledged as the world’s most secure airline, after foiling many attempted hijackings and terror attacks through its security protocols.

When my girlfriend and I travelled on El Al from Frankfurt to Tel Aviv a couple of years ago, we were questioned in detail before we were allowed to check in by a polite woman about how we met, how long we had known each other, why we travelling, etc. We went through normal Frankfurt airport security measures, then a thorough double pat-down from Israeli guards at the boarding lounge. The pat-down include private areas. Our plane, while on the ground, was surrounded by German police. An APC with a machine-gun turret was parked nearby. As the plane taxied and accelerated for take-off, a German police car drove alongside for as long as possible.

On the way back from Tel Aviv, all our baggage was x-rayed. In her backpack my girlfriend had some souvenir salt and sand she scraped up from the Dead Sea and put in plastic bags. This looked suspicious in the x-ray, so her bags were searched thoroughly.

Something that stood out was that every person involved took the job seriously.

It was an experience.