TIL that before 9/11, FAA regulations allowed small knives to be carried aboard aircraft by passengers. So even if screeners had found the hijackers’ knives they would have still been allowed to board Flights 11, 77, 175 and 93 with them.

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In 1993, I returned from Japan to the United States with three replica samurai swords and several throwing stars. I brought them on to the plane as carry on. The replica swords were were sold in the duty free shops at Narita International Airport. The throwing stars where attached to key chains that were easy to remove. They were also sold in the duty free shops. In about 2010, I went through a special TSA line for law enforcement officers. The guy in front of me was an armed law enforcement officer. who was traveling on official business. After showing his paperwork, authorizing him to travel armed, to the TSA, they told me he could not bring his McDonalds drink with him on to the plane.


9/11 wouldn’t have happened if the cockpit doors were barred shut (as they are today). In software engineering, we call that the minimum viable solution. All the rest is expensive and complicated security theater.


People forget pre-9/11 “hijacking” meant “fly to Cuba” not “cruise missile.” It was legitimately considered not a security threat for a plane to get hijacked. Even American Airlines standard procedure was to give the hijackers what they wanted. It’s not that people didn’t think of putting in steel bullet proof cockpit doors it’s that they thought, “so what? It’s not like they wild fly the plane into a building?” Prior to 9/11 dozens of planes had been hijacked.


Best part is, people still get knives onto planes. Knew a guy who accidentally put it in his carry on. It tripped the sensor, so they searched his bag. They found his glasses first, said that was what said it off, and sent him on his way. Wasn’t until he landed that he found the knife.


You used to be able to walk right up to the gate without a ticket too