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I Do Not Think Hijacking Is A Threat Anymore  
User currently offlineEugdog From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2001, 518 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 5208 times:

The cancellation of some BA and AF flights due to possilbe hijackers was a mistake. I cannot believe the terrorists can realistically hijack a plane full of passengers with no weapons.

To succeed they would have to get past security checks for knives etc - possible but unlikely for all 4-5 terrorists to do it

Then they would have to overcome passenger resistence to a hijacking - even more unlikely. How can 4-5 terrorists overcome 100s of passengers who know they must resist at all costs. The terrorists would probably be beaten to death by outraged passengers.

The terrorist also have to breach the cockpit door which are now amoured. Even more unlikely given that there will be hundreds of passengers bearing down on them!

There are simply too many barriers to overcome - it may be possible to overcome one barrier but to overcome all three is virtually impossible.

The only possible scenario is if the terrorists rushed the cockpit as pilots go to the bathroom or food is brought it. But this would have to be done at the end of the flight and the terrorist would have to wait outside making themselves very obvious. But this is where security should focus upon preventing.

September 11 was a one shot only affair. The terrorists relied upon complete passenger compliance and chose planes with very few passengers. The terrorists cannot rely upon this anymore . In fact the terrorist failed to maintain control of one flight when the passengers revolted.

The biggest risk is a suicide bomber with a tiny amount of explosive aboard - they will be very difficult to spot!

[Edited 2004-01-03 12:39:07]

49 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 5183 times:

Hijacking has been and always will be a threat that any transportation provider has to address. While you point out a number of superficial deterrants to a hijack, the truth remains that a hijack is still easy to execute even with those in place.

The only way to counter a hijack is to have a scalable response protocol in place that can be escalated to the appropriate situation as needed. Proper planning, training and execution are a must for that.

User currently offlineFlyguyclt From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 537 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 5172 times:

While I appriciate your positve outlook. It is not realistic. It will always be a threat and one we need to always be prepared for and try at all costs to prevent.

Florida Express, Braniff II and ......
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30408 posts, RR: 57
Reply 3, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5153 times:

It has always been a threat.


The current infrindgements on freedom of travel, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure more then outweight any alleged benifits.

User currently offlineMarara From Australia, joined Oct 2001, 680 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5143 times:


Thanks. i'll have to inform the CIA, MI5 ASIO etc that you dont think Hijacking is a threat anymore. I'm sure they didnt take any of the points above into their cancellations, much less the airlines that have cancelled flights (which certainly hasnt flattered any of their reputations, let alone the $$ it has cost them to do so).

I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. Jerome K Jerome
User currently offlineVSGirl From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5135 times:

Hijacking has always and will always be a threat.


User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 67
Reply 6, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5114 times:

I wish you were right - but I, like B747-437B and FlyGuyClt, don't agree with your view.

First, your view that hundreds of passengers will come rushing at the terrorists - I doubt that: the human mind is a strange thing, and often enough, I'm sure, there'll be passengers who will think that complying with demands will still be the right way to react... the Stockholm Syndrome comes to mind there, even if this has - as far as I know - only been observed in longer duration hostage situations.

Second, you're right - there are lots and lots of new security procedures in place, but unfortunately - for us passengers and the crews - terrorists have not stopped planning at the point of 9/11. Their plans will, most likely, have evolved and adapted to the new security measures. As much as all of us hope that there are no holes in security, there have been enough events since 9/11 to prove that perfect security is neither there, not is it attainable through measures that we, as flying public, would or could accept. Perfect security is an illusion.

Third, do we really need hijackings anymore to create havoc? Just look at the situation of the last few days! At this point, all the terrorists have to do is create the "chatter" that something will happen - what happens then could widely be seen on CNN and others...

Even though all of us here would certainly appreciate it, if hijackings were a thing of the past, I doubt that any one of us will live long enough to see that goal achieved.

But, and this might be a somewhat shallow point of reassurance, in all probability, most of us will never, in their lifetimes, experience a hijacking: they're not really happening daily, and with the thousands of flights every day, the statistical probability is really very low.

It's just that low probabilities really suck if you end up on the wrong side of the statistic...

P.S.: When I started writing, only B747-437B and FlyGuyClt had responded - obviously, all the others seem to share the same opinion as well...

[Edited 2004-01-03 13:06:05]

Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineFlyingColours From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2353 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5110 times:

I believe that Hijacking is still a threat but no passengers will sit there anymore, passenger co-operation has gone out of the window. Now that it has been proven what can happen to a hijacked aircraft nobody will sit there quietly knowing that they could soon be flying into a building or something else.


Lifes a train racing towards you, now you can either run away or grab a chair & a beer and watch it come - Phil
User currently offlineFLYSSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7494 posts, RR: 56
Reply 8, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5092 times:

Eugdog, I agree 100%.

Terrorists are everything but stupid ! Why would they try to board a plane in LHR or CDG or JFK with all the security check and procedures ! How could they hijacke a plane today, with armed sky marshalls on board (on AF ) armored locked cockpit doors, video check system etc...
Especially when there are so many other much easier way to access an aircraft, by night, on a tarmac for example, or shut it down with a missile during take-off or approach... Personnaly, as a F/A that's what I am more affraid of !

User currently offlineAirGabon From Switzerland, joined Dec 2003, 955 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5022 times:

But what about security for flights from Africa (LOS, DKR, SAL) or smaller airports in Europe (LIS, KEF, WAW) to USA ??
People know the high security level at LHR, LGW, CDG, FRA, FCO, MAD etc... but is it the same everywhere ??

User currently offlineDonder10 From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 6660 posts, RR: 20
Reply 10, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 4929 times:

Apparently not all luggage at LOS and OUA is screened!

User currently offlineMirrodie From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 7459 posts, RR: 60
Reply 11, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 4915 times:
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just a quick note in passing, great discussion thread. I applaud you guys for keeping it on topic and urge you to continue to keep it on topic and not turn this into a political agenda/issue.

Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 18
Reply 12, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 4865 times:
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I'm gonna have to agrre with Eugdod, i simply cannot believe that passengers would just sit there and take it all in, especially after 9/11. Take BA 223, a 747-400 full of pax, people might be scared, but they are also angry. 4 or 5 terrorists with knives or other sharp objects is a dangerous proposition, but not a impossible doomsday scenario. Passengers would do what they did on the AA Richard Reid flight, man-handle the terrorists and try to disarm them (assuming they dont have guns on them). It would take courage and most likely someone will get seriously injured or even die. It's either do or die in a scenario like this, better to go down fighting than doing nothing. As long as the terrorists don't have guns, then there's always a chance.

And all this is AFTER they've penetrated the security on the ground.

In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineB777337 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 4794 times:

Hijacking has been and will always be a threat to civil aviation. All possible measures must be taken both at the airport and on board to prevent it. Although we may find these measures inconvenient, we have to accept them in the interest of flight safety.

User currently offlineFunFlyer From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 866 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 4785 times:

Only that hijackers of now like to kill everyone not just get somewhere.

Who cares about status?
User currently offlineEugdog From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2001, 518 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 4760 times:

Interesting responses!

I am not as positive as you think

I am sorry to say this that I am so terrified of suicide bombers that when I go to America this summer I will not take BA or any American airlines. I will take Air Canada and connect on a domestic US flight to my final US destination.

I am amazed Al-Queda have not brought down an airliner with a suicide bomber.

User currently offlineCaribb From Canada, joined Nov 1999, 1649 posts, RR: 7
Reply 16, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4733 times:

I think 9/11 has made passengers more aware of aircraft hijackings and because of it are more likely now than before to react to any threat of a hijacking on their plane. Perhaps not everyone but enough to give the hijackers a run for their money. The alternative afterall is certain death and destruction whereas before it meant ending up in another part of the world for several days.

Also as mentioned many times so far the threat of hijacking is far from over. It might be argued that terrorists won't likely use planes as weapons since the government has put so much emphasis on the threat that is now becomes a much more complicated option for them. So alternatives might be to shoot down a plane with a hand help missle launcher. Drive a truck full of explosives into a parked or taxiing plane or something pheripheral like that. In other words find a weak spot in the overall security, an area where there has been little change and use it to their advantage. Afterall prior to 9/11 who would ever have thought they'd plow two planes into office towers and bring them to the ground? Surprise is their best weapon.

User currently offlineWorldperks From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4705 times:

Suppose terrorists think outside the box? That's what they did 9/11. We're preparing for known threats but not 'outside the box' thinking.

Let's go back to the old communist concept of destroying capitalism through chaos and confusion. No need to blow up a skyscraper. Simply bring down a few airliners so people fear flying. If they fear flying, then they'll stop flying.

This can possibly be done by sending a projectile through the fuselage or window glass at high altitude (transcontinental, trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific). Thinking outside the box, we would need a miniature ballistic launcher shaped like, of all things, a ballpoint pen and made from Lexon -- the hardened industrial plastic. The detonator could be simple black powder -- not normally scanned for at airport security. And neither are ballpoint pens. Most stay in shirt pockets and never go through x-ray machines. So, in theory every person carrying a ballpoint pen on an airplane is a potential threat.

Seriously, most seem to miss the point. Terrorists need only to think outside the box once .

[Edited 2004-01-03 17:02:59]

User currently offlineMidnightMike From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2892 posts, RR: 13
Reply 18, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4690 times:

Hijacking has also been an option for the terrorist, if they want the airplane, they will find a way to take the airplane over.

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User currently offlineWorldperks From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4667 times:


Why might they "...want the plane"? Can you give a scenario for which that would be useful to them?

User currently offlineRichierich From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 4539 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4651 times:

Now, I do realize that there are a plethora of safeguards in place to try and prevent a hijacking from occuring, but for every barrier put up, there are always going to be terrorists looking for ways over or around these barriers. No security system is perfect. And in case you were not aware, there are holes in the screening process!

None shall pass!!!!
User currently offlineCapt078 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 421 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4617 times:

i actually agree that hijacking is not the threat it was pre-9/11. this does not, however, mean we should be less cautious or vigilent. i do not believe that any flight operating to or from an airport with effective security will be hijacked, and more importantly, if someone were to hijack the plane, i do believe the passengers and cabin crew would attempt to overwhelm the hijacker(s). certainly since 9/11, there is plenty of evidence to suggest passenger involvement in stopping catastrophe. one needs only to harken back two years to richard reed, or check out the various news stories about passengers rushing and overwhelming unruly passengers.

what i am more concerned about are terrorists either blowing a plane up or bringing some sort of biological toxin onto the plane, or into a country. if security can preclude a would-be terrorist from bringing a gun or explosive onto an airplane, then i believe passengers collectively can have the upper hand. if a terrorist can smuggle a bomb onto a plane or its cargo hold, then there really isn't much hope. likewise, if a terrorist can bring a biological weapon or disease onto a plane or into the country, again we don't have much defense.

so, while i am not concerned about people trying to take over a plane with knives and boxcutters, i am concerned about them trying to blow one up or kill everyone and more with some sort of undetectable poison or disrease ridden weapon.

a side note: i fly very frequently. i also happen to be a very large man. when i fly, i try to make a positive impression on the flight or cabin crew so that if something happens, they can turn to me for help. this has actually happened a couple of times. i recently flew from atlanta to boston on a delta 767, on which a passenger (some 20 something kid) got drunk and very loud. the flight attendants informed the flight crew that there could be a problem but was not one yet, then asked me if i would sit next to the kid. i did and everything was fine; he just passed out. but it doesn't hurt to let the professionals know that you're there to help.

lastly, i (like many people) make a point of watching what is going on when i fly. i still nap or listen to music, but i try to be aware of who is doing what in the passenger cabin.

User currently offlineJcxp15 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 997 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4608 times:

The problem I don't think is security over here. It's overseas. If people are able to get into wheel wells without getting caught, what's to say they can't disguise themselves and bring semi-automatic rifles on board?

User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 67
Reply 23, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4570 times:

It is security everywhere - remember, it just needs a single lapse by a single person to open up a possibility...

And you'll see mistakes happening, be it in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles or Tel Aviv.

There is no absolute security - never has been, never will be.

Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineCaribb From Canada, joined Nov 1999, 1649 posts, RR: 7
Reply 24, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4564 times:

There are still plenty of ways to enact terroism without physically being on the aircraft. All of us could come up with ideas but I don't think it's a good idea to give anyone any new ideas. America is vulnerable just through the threat itself. Our (Western) society is built on consumerism and the economy that it fuels. Just a significant threat to it can send it in a tailspin. Do more than just a threat and it may collapse. Look at 9/11... 4 plane crashes and 3 years later we are still feeling the effects of it. Imagine had something even worse happened and in several cities. Europeans have been dealing with terrorism for decades. Perhaps the best way to thwart it is to deal with the root problem and try and change the way people in other parts of the world view America. This doesn't mean giving in to terrorism rather it means finding ways to better satisfy more people in political and economic policy. It will make sense if it ends the needs for military strikes and heightened security continent wide. A violent response to violence works to satisfy our egos and makes us feel good in the short run.. but after a while we realise it has little long term effect. Afghanistan has been bombed and it's regime changed and so has Iraq yet in the end all of us still fear Al Qaeda and they still are threatening. I think it's time America and the allies started thinking outside of the box.

[Edited 2004-01-03 17:52:20]

25 Thrust : My point exactly, Jcxp15. Al Qaeda are not the only ones out there who want to hijack planes. Never, ever, let your guard down about hijacking. Hijack
26 Oerk : Well sure its still a threat... It is true that passenger resistence may well deter a hijacking, but if you expect this to hold, then it requires vigi
27 KYIPpilot : I do think that hijacking is a threat, but I think a terrorist(s) would be stupid to try it now. I don't think people are going to sit around anymore
28 Mjszanto : Given the potential destructive impact of a large airliner, it is better to be safe than sorry. However, I think those of us who are not involved in n
29 Sllevin : I agree with the "hijacking is not effective" concept. I have, since the events of September 11th, likened hijacking to bank robbery. Why, you ask? Be
30 Amhilde : Im with KYIPilot on that statement- sure I pay attention to whats going on around me and where the exits are and this and that, but at the same time I
31 Garnetpalmetto : I'm going to have to come up with a big disagree, eugdog. You raise very good points, but one factor defeats them all - time. As time goes by, technol
32 PiedmontGirl : Hijacking is still a threat. The current crop of world class crazies have been using airplanes to commit terrorist acts since long before D.B. Cooper
33 Obithomas : It's a sort of self-defeating prophecy. If you think hijacking is not a threat, then it will be more attractive as a threat, if you see my point.
34 Kilavoud : Eugdog, I would not say that hijacking is no more a threat in 2004. What about the effective resistance of passengers to a hijacking when most of them
35 Jhooper : I'm really not worried about another 9/11 style attack. Hijacking a plane is much more difficult than it was before; the passengers and crew simply wo
36 GDB : You may think it's not a threat, unfortunately Al-Queda or their proxies don't. Sept 11th was the 'making' of them. All terrorists seek publicity, the
37 PiedmontGirl : Jhooper: And even if the plane is hijacked, there are measures in place so that fighers would be scrambled to assess the situation and prevent a suici
38 Jeffrey1970 : Eugdog, I would say that on September 10, 2001 many people probably did not think much of hijackings, but they sure do now. I don't believe in living
39 Artsyman : Security is only as strong as the weakest link in the network. I have no doubt that some little airport in Buttplug, Indiana with it's one security gu
40 Delta-flyer : We didn't think an attack of the magnitude of 9/11 was possible, but it happened. Regardless of the security level, it's best to keep terrorists away
41 Jhooper : PiedmontGirl : If a suicide attack was underway, the hijackers would pay no attention to the F-16s. The F-16s would shoot the airplane down. This woul
42 Nycfuturepilot : Though i think people may try to hijack a plane i don't think they could ever succeed because i think the passengars would immediatly attack the hijac
43 JetService : The next suicide attack (if there is one) will be with a freighter or bogus charter.
44 Post contains images PiedmontGirl : Jhooper: I wasn't trying to imply that the F-16 wouldn't shoot down the airliner. As sad as that would be, the body count would generally be limited t
45 Airdude66 : Now that we have identified true ignorance...what are your plans now EUG.
46 Mjszanto : Interestingly, the first plane to be hijacked with box cutters was a plane in India before 9/11 I think. While it is a tragedy for the families and pe
47 Jhooper : As I say.....no offense meant. Sorry for misunderstanding your post. No offense taken... I didn't actually realize that there were people out there th
48 PROSA : I tend to doubt that any future terrorist attacks (which I do not believe are likely, but that's another issue) would involve hijacked aircraft. There
49 Mog : Hi-jacking of aircraft has been and remains an ongoing threat in India, the most (in) famous one being IC-814 from Katmandu towards Delhi which ended
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