Responding quickly to the Christmas Eve terrorist threat aboard a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit from Amsterdam, the US Dept. of Homeland Security announced new security procedures today in addition to not letting passengers use toilets one hour before landing.
Enhancing its screening passengers at security checkpoints, starting tomorrow all passengers on every flight arriving, departing or flying over the US will be required to remove their trousers or skirts at boarding gates for a last-minute underwear check.
According to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, news reports that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab – the man accused to trying to blow up NW253 – concealed explosives in his underpants are accurate “so we want to be sure that, along with making people walk barefoot through check points, and banning shampoo and deodorant, no one is trying to sneak explosives aboard in their knickers.”
She also announced that, as part of the new measure, passengers will be required to put their underwear on the outside of their clothes at checkpoints and, halfway through each flight, flight attendants will have each passenger give their bra’s, panties and briefs or boxers to the person sitting directly in front of them “who will wear them for the balance of the flight.”
Dismissing suggestions that this is a slapstick strategy straight out of Bananas, a 1971 Woody Allen film in which the famed writer-actor accidentally takes over a South American dictatorship, Sec. Napolitano told ABC’s Good Morning Americaon Monday “this new tactic will absolutely foil anyone from using their own underwear as a terrorist weapon.” Admitting that some passengers may not wear any underwear at all, Sec. Napolitano insists DHS is prepared. “Part of the new regulations requires airlines to carry spare underwear on all planes,” she says, “so everyone will be subjected to the same rigorous inspection requirements.”
On Wall St., news of the enhanced security procedures sent stock prices of apparel manufacturers Hanes and Jockey soaring in heavy trading Monday afternoon.