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Scary Toothbrush Prompts Shutdown of World's Busiest Airport 284

McGruber writes "The big buzz for travelers today is the story of how a scary toothbrush prompted the closure of Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 'Airport officials told Channel 2 Action News that an electric toothbrush began vibrating inside a bag checked onto an AirTran flight, causing workers to alert airport officials to the strange noise.' The terminal and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) subway were both temporary closed 'out of an abundance of caution.' ATL has been the world's busiest airport by passenger traffic since 1998, and by number of landings and take-offs since 2005."
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Scary Toothbrush Prompts Shutdown of World's Busiest Airport

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  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 04, 2013 @08:30PM (#42483209)

    It's nice to see that we haven't let the terrorists win... oh wait.

  • by Oxford_Comma_Lover ( 1679530 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @08:39PM (#42483335)

    Nine times out of ten it's an electric razor. But every once in a while it's a dildo. Of course, it's company policy never to imply ownership in the event of a dildo. We have to use the indefinite article, "a dildo", never "your dildo."

    Parent is a Fight Club reference, for those who haven't seen it.

    All-in-all, this is a step up if we didn't also arrest the person whose toothbrush it is.

  • What happens... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @08:41PM (#42483369)
    This is what happens when we let fear reign supreme. All common sense goes out the window.

    Seriously, logic and common sense seem to go out of the window whenever air travel is involved. The conversation should have gone something like this:

    Security Officer: Err, what's that buzzing noise

    Passenger: Whoops, looks like my toothbrush turned on, I'll just turn it off

    Note the distinct lack of mass panic and knee-jerk reactions.
  • This isn't news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kwerle ( 39371 ) <kurt@CircleW.org> on Friday January 04, 2013 @08:45PM (#42483403) Homepage Journal

    Please add a TSA section so that I can ignore it.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @08:47PM (#42483435)
    Of course they shut down airports for no reason whatsoever because they have no motivation NOT to because they are paid by the government, not the airlines themselves.

    A worker who is hired by the airline and reports to airline management is not going to overreact because an overreaction means that the airline loses money. On the other hand a TSA agent has no reason not to shut down an entire airport. I mean, what do they have to lose? It isn't their money, they'll get paid no matter what and the airline doesn't have a say in their hiring/firing decisions.

    We really need to abolish the TSA and replace it with security guards who are hired by the airline itself and security policies decided by the airline itself. Thus allowing for passengers to choose where they feel safest, be it in an airplane where all the passengers are free to carry pistols if they so choose, or in an airplane where passengers are subjected to an intensive cavity search before boarding, or anywhere in between.
  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @08:48PM (#42483449)

    Cost who a million dollars?

    Did they have to hire additional TSA agents?
    Did they pay compensation to anyone for the delay?

    Why can't these stupid TSA agents realize that if you hear buzzing its not a bomb. You won't hear the bomb that kills you.

  • by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @08:50PM (#42483473)

    ...for the hundreds of thousands of dollars it must cost to close the world's busiest airport? Is anyone held responsible? Who eats the losses? Do the good citizens of Atlanta? Or is the cost passed on to the airlines, which in turn pass them on to their customers?

    Maybe this is why my $600 flight overseas this spring comes with $800 in taxes and fees...because of electric toothbrushes.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @08:52PM (#42483503)
    Bin Laden... scaring US airports with a toothbrush since 2001. Death is not an impediment.
  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Keith111 ( 1862190 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @08:54PM (#42483531)
    When's the last time anyone has made a bomb which beeps, ticks, or vibrates?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 04, 2013 @09:05PM (#42483669)

    except the moment the security hired and ran by the airline company is even slightly negligent in an attempt to save the airline money, you will come here and post this exact same post, only complaining that the airline security has to incentive for passenger safety.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 04, 2013 @09:09PM (#42483713)

    We have devolved into a Country of lunatics who cannot do any kind of cost benefits analysis. It is just plain sad to see the Country go from a leader of the free world to a bunch of cowards willing to give up their freedoms for an illusion of security.

    There have been more deaths in the last decade from drownings and household fires each than from terrorists. Many more people a year take their own life than died in 9/11. Nearly 15 times as many people die PER year in car accidents than died in 9/11. Approximately 3 times as many 15-34 year olds are murdered EACH year than died in 9/11.

  • Dear old people: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 04, 2013 @09:10PM (#42483723)

    Bombs neither tick nor vibrate anymore (that's if they ever did)...

  • by SmarterThanMe ( 1679358 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @09:19PM (#42483805)

    What sort of idiot bombmaker would make a bomb that vibrated, ticked or had a big freaking waste of money LED showing a countdown? It's right up there with literally having a red wire and a blue wire. The extension of this, then, is what sort of idiot "airport official" closes an airport because he saw something vibrate?

  • It's been tried (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @09:30PM (#42483883) Homepage Journal

    Screening by airline personnel was the standard prior to 9/11. It wasn't clearly better.

  • Re:What happens... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 04, 2013 @09:48PM (#42484039)

    If it was a bomb, do you think it wouldn't have exploded instead of vibrated? Really?

  • Re:It's been tried (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jschrod ( 172610 ) <jschrod@aCOFFEEcm.org minus caffeine> on Friday January 04, 2013 @09:57PM (#42484095) Homepage

    I'm not aware of any TSA screening that found any terrorist suspect. But I'm aware of thousands of lost hours due to TSA screening for all travellers. I'm also aware of lost income from tourism who don't travel to USA any more, owing to the draconian processes at immigration. AFAICS, the changed screening process have done a lot of harm, and no good.

    Thus, I severely doubt hat airline personnel screening really wasn't better.

    But then, I'm European and I think we should not let the terrorists win by giving up our freedom, our civil liberties and our life style, as US folks often seems to believe to be necessary. I would have liked to say that this comes from much more terrorist attacks in Europe than in USA (albeight not such a big one as 9/11) -- but that's not true, KKK terrorism caused more deaths than 9/11 much earlier.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lightknight ( 213164 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:01PM (#42484129) Homepage

    Indeed. Nothing like seeing security forces have a spaz attack over an electric toothbrush to make me feel safe.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:25PM (#42484325)

    Can you charge parking fees for an airport enforced quarantine?

    I don't know. But if I were a betting man, I'd say .. yeah.

    As far as costs go.. those flight crews still get paid. Ticket counters are going to be *much* busier. and not just at Atlanta. Flights to Atlanta needed to divert, and those passengers need to be rebooked. Flights out of Atlanta are canceled. The passengers that would've gotten on those planes downstream, don't. *Those* passengers need to be rebooked. The passengers stuck in Atlanta probably can't all be fit in the unbooked seats for the day following, so that'll cost extra in public relations at the least. But they probably will offer inducements to other passengers to get them to reroute not through Atlanta to create extra empty seats out.

    So.. yeah. costs. From lots of places, even if the airlines don't pay a dime to the passengers stuck in Atlanta.

    And while this isn't a cost for the airlines.. a lot of stores in the airport probably lost a lot of revenue. A stranded customer base has a very different purchasing volume than a regularly turned over customer base of passengers coming off flights.

  • by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @10:33PM (#42484367)

    We have devolved into a Country of lunatics who cannot do any kind of cost benefits analysis.

    No, we have devolved into a country of lawyers, and politicians who can do cost-benefit analysis.

    If something bad happened to that plane, then the lawyers would be lining up to sue someone/anyone, and that includes ATL, the airline, and any other government deep-pockets that were in any way involved. And the politicians know how bad it would look for them to be connected to this in any way, so their cost-benefit analysis goes something like this: "I cost a lost of money to a lot of people, the benefit is 1) a lawsuit won't stick to me, and 2) I can use it as an example of how I care about the public when it comes time to be re-elected."

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @11:47PM (#42484823)

    Everyone who feels safer now please raise your hand.

  • Re:well done. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @12:48AM (#42485169)

    No, people fly planes into buildings, people fly ships into space, and people do a great number of other things. What separates the ones flying planes into buildings from the ones flying spaceships is that the first group is crazy in a bad way, and being crazy in a bad way is wholly independent of religion.

    For instance, Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, identified his religion as science and claimed to be agnostic, the crusaders identified as Christian, and the 9/11 terrorists identified as Islamic (quick note: I'm not suggesting that science is a religion; rather, I'm suggesting that crazy acts can be perpetuated by someone regardless of their claimed religion or lack thereof). The most you could say is that certain religions attract that sort of crazy more often than others.

  • Re:What happens... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @06:53AM (#42486471)

    My 2c to that: Security and freedom are divergent goals. If we want to be completely safe, we'll have to be locked up in our homes. We risk death or injury every time we step out into the world. I thought this is what the "land of the free and home of the brave" in your national anthem meant. If you want to be free, you just have to be brave.

    They should really change the anthem "land of the trapped, home of the cowards". As it is whenever people around the world hear it today they just laugh at America.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 05, 2013 @05:48PM (#42490281)

    the TSA


    a bunch of morons

    You're being redundant.

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