Security Update – The Parrot Sketch

Joe Sharkey brought up the thorny question of how to frisk a parrot in a recent article in the New York Times. He was flying with his wife and his parrot Rosie to Phoenix in the wake of the fizzling underpants scare and there were concerns the parrot may be carrying some form of weaponry.

"Strap a hand grenade under its wings and Bob's yer uncle"

“Does he bite?” the screener at the checkpoint asked warily. “She doesn’t bite,” I said.

“Because we have to check under the wings,” he said.

“In that case,” I said, “she might bite”

This, inevitably led to some anxiety at the checkpoint. However, Sharkey’s wife remembered one of Rosie’s tricks, often employed to amuse visitors.

“Rosie, do an eagle,” my wife said. Inside her cage with the screener’s face framed in the open door, the bird promptly spread her wings wide.

The screener had his look under the wings and lowered his wand. Merriment ensued all around — but it had to look pretty silly.

Silly is probably the right word. But the Sharkeys managed to complete their voyage without further incident.

In the wake of the increasingly bizarre set of TSA instructions on airline security, however, Mr Sharkey canvassed opinion from his readers on what extra precautions the TSA could take to foil any further explosive underwear incidents. The reply he received from Mads Oyen, a policy specialist at UNICEF in New York, is my favourite.

Mr Oyen suggested removing from the plane any seat which had previously been used by a terrorist.

If he used, say, 36E, remove that seat. Then this cannot be tried again.

Brilliant, effective and, most importantly, cost effective.

Mr Oyen also had some sage opinions addressing the TSA rule that passengers on flights to the United States not be informed of where they were, by cockpit announcements or by those video-screen maps that show a plane’s position.

Not only remove the in-flight maps, but tell people after seating that they are headed to a destination they are not booked for. It is important that security measures are unpredictable.

I personally will not feel truly safe until someone with Mr Oyen’s foresight is at the helm.


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2 Responses

  1. First I think this may have solved the problem of airplane and bird in flight collisions. Congrats! I think it will take some work to find a better way to clear them through security as some birds may not like having to spread eagle…..and we have recently tried the not right destination ploy with a slightly different twist….pilots didn’t answer…..flew a couple hundred miles over destination….. a few people got upset…. but now who knows maybe there was a terrorist on board and was deterred and we never knew it as we were so good….. maybe this happens everyday and we are so good we don’t even know just how good! It’s like the duck you pissed off and then the duck sneaks into your home moves everything around then puts it back just like it was and so you never even knew it was there…… scary? So, we better not piss off any of those birds.

  2. […] Here’s some links to our previous posts on the subject of airline security – C’mon Yemen, man up!, Security Fail, The only thing we have to fear is fear itself and Security Update – The Parrot Sketch. […]

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