Guest

BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Thu Dec 14, 2000 4:14 pm

Hello,

I just read this story, thought it was quite interesting...

Source: Airwise

A passenger flight to Miami was delayed for more than seven hours yesterday after the discovery of playing cards with Arabic writing in a toilet triggered a security alert.

The British Airways Boeing 747, with 329 passengers on board, had been given the all-clear after being swept by security staff at Heathrow's Terminal 3 when a crew member discovered the cards.

The jet had been moved from its stand when the captain decided to postpone the flight.

The cards were later found to feature a calendar written in Arabic.

"The flight was delayed because some Arabic cards were found in the rear toilet and that was after the aircraft had been fully searched and security cleared," a BA spokeswoman said.

"The only possibility was that a passenger had left it there and you do not take chances."

Missing its 12.45pm take-off slot meant that a change of flight crew was needed to comply with working time regulations, further delaying a new departure time.

The flight was thoroughly searched before taking off at 8.15pm.

bLuJaay
 
CPDC10-30
Posts: 4681
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2000 4:30 pm

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Thu Dec 14, 2000 4:23 pm

Hehe...just BA doing their part to reinforce the stereotypes...  
 
FaisZ
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2000 6:12 pm

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Thu Dec 14, 2000 4:46 pm

Agree, i bet if they found english cards, they wouldn't have made anything out of it.
 
morecy
Posts: 205
Joined: Fri May 19, 2000 4:07 am

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:32 am

Stereotype? What are you, kidding me?
I think a 50 year history of Anti-Western Arab initiated hijackings and bombings is more than enough basis to get nervous when you find something like that.
No offense, but this is just caution based on experience; quit bombing and hijacking planes and we'll probably be a little less nervous.
 
mls515
Posts: 2955
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2000 5:56 am

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:37 am

Remember that they said they found them after they had completed a security sweep. It wasn't that they found them in the first place.

One thing I don't understand. They said the passengers were on board already. So duh! one of the pax went to use the shitter and left their playing cards there. So what!


 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 1:02 am

Mls515, the cards were the reason for the security check. First the cards and then the check.
 
Amir
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 8:56 pm

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 1:38 am

.....yet another stupid move..... Playing cards delaying the flight!
i wonder what would have been the reaction of the media if they found lets say turkish cards in a flight of Olympic?

It is so damn stupid...! i hope that BA will be sued for this by some angry pax who got into trouble because of this!

Rgds
Amir
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 2:15 am

I guess that you are missing the point, following a security check the toilets are LOCKED. Finding anything in there indicates that someone was in there and you have no way of knowing if this person is actually a honest passenger with a bladder problem. The solution sounds severe, but what if..............

Better to safe and alive.
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 3:32 am

Would BA have gone hyper if the writing was in Chinese instead of Arabic?
It shouldn't have taken them that long to "Decode" the writing. Not in London. It is not that difficult to find a Pakistani, perhaps even among the security personel, to save BA some embarassament. And expense.
 
prebennorholm
Posts: 6447
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2000 6:25 am

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 6:40 am

So what can we all learn from that?
Maybe this:
"Next time you sneak on board a parked plane in order to place a time bomb after it has been security checked, then you should not forget your playing cards in the small room. And if you forget them anyway, then remember to erase any Arabic text on them first".
Happy landing, Preben Norholm
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 6:49 am

How utterly ridiculous. From the story, it seems that the discovery of the cards came AFTER the security sweep. So they had to sweep it again. Next thing you know they'll be banning Arabic playing cards as a security threat.
 
patroni
Posts: 1372
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 1999 7:49 am

Ridiculous....

Fri Dec 15, 2000 7:25 am

This is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard.....
if they fear Arabs (and maybe even consider them all as terrorists like Morecy does), why does BA or any other western carrier fly to Dubai, Riyad, Kuwait, etc etc....?
Obviously BA and others like to have Arabs as paying passengers.....

I am not Arab myself, but if I were one, I would certainly not be flying BA anymore.....

Thomas
 
JetService
Posts: 4611
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 1:12 pm

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 7:26 am

I feel sorry for the guy who went to his poker party without cards! 
"Shaddap you!"
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 7:51 am

I will say this again.
I guess that you are missing the point, following a security check the toilets are LOCKED. Finding anything in there indicates that someone was in there and you have no way of knowing if this person is actually a honest passenger with a bladder problem. The solution sounds severe, but what if..............

Better to safe and alive.

expanded...

The point of a security check is tha the cabin is secure, maybe some passenger knew how to unlock the toilets....... but if you were a passenger would you like to take the risk, especially considering the present Middle East situation????

Safety is not an accident, it is planned....


 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 8:08 am

Easy there Morecy...you made quite a radical comment above, especially on a site that is viewed by people from all parts of the globe. Keep your racist and sterotypical comments to yourself next time please. No offence though....
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 8:16 am

Morecy....actually while we're at it why don't we search all arabs as they enter the plane...."caution based on experice" right?.....according to racists like you all security checks should be based on sterotypes....we can even search the black people for drugs.....right?
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 9:11 am

Morecy, couldent have said it better, they have a record of doing crap like blowing planes out of the sky, it should have been a problem, and BA did the right thing.
 
patroni
Posts: 1372
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 1999 7:49 am

Mace_2

Fri Dec 15, 2000 9:26 am

Sorry, but the forum rules forbid to give an adequate answer to posts like this.....


Mace_2 wrote:
-------------------------------
Morecy, couldent have said it better, they have a record of doing crap like blowing planes out of the sky, it should have been a problem, and BA did the right thing.
 
Guest

RE: Morecy And Mace_2

Fri Dec 15, 2000 9:34 am

You're assuming a lot...that the pax who left the cards even was Arabic for starters. How do you know that the person with the bladder problem didn't get the cards in an Arabic-speaking country and brought them home for a souvenir, then happened to leave them in a lavatory??

So, should a copy of Das Kapital or Mao Zedong's Red Book left in the lav start a Communist search (a la McCarthy)?


Corey777
 
prebennorholm
Posts: 6447
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2000 6:25 am

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 9:41 am

Easy Altaaf99, Morecy has statistically got a very valid point. It can also be said the other way around:
"Statistically there just ain't many Danes out there - or Scandinavians for that matter - who ever blew up an airliner. In general we find such acts untimely".
Morecy even indicated the perfect way to solve the problem - just to refrain from blowing up airliners.

But that said, I wonder what these security sweeps really are. When we normal pax watch a plane being turned around, then we watch a small army of people cleaning the plane, catering people, people supplying tax free goods, newpaper suppliers, etc. and of course mech people if there is a screw to adjust. They have hardly left the plane when we board the plane, pull the safety card and out on the floor falls trash from several days of activity. I haven't found playing cards yet, but almost anything else in that seat pocket. How much security sweep is that?
And then 8 hours delay. If a sweep takes place, then the airline company has no police to watch the plane from all angles from end of sweep until push back. It's the task of the airport to keep the area "safe". When a sweep has to be repeated, okay, then the departure slot is missed, but then the airport must also grant that plane some priority, and maybe for that reason delay a few other planes one or two minutes instead of holding that particular plane back for seven more hours.
Something completely crazy has been going on here. Something so completely out of proportion to the real problem that it is really difficult for we outsiders not to just joke about it.
Last time I flew with BA - on a 757 two months ago, then we departed a little late due late arriving aircraft. The captain regretted the small delay, but informed us that due to a record time turn around - 35-40 minutes - and a nice tailwind we would arrive on schedule, which we did. I guarantee there was no security sweep. The trash from the previous flight was hardly moved under the carpet. No complain from me about that, I would rather kick old trash and forgotten stuff from a previous flight than be delaid - I was on a tight schedule. No complain, I just tell it the way it was.
Happy landing, Preben Norholm
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing C

Fri Dec 15, 2000 9:41 am

I agree with Morcey.
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 10:07 am

Correy777 could'nt have put it better...if some white guy left something in the bathroom after the 'security check' then we all know (and let's not be in denial) no one on BA would have cared at all...only because they were arabic cards was it such a big deal....we should not just blindly follow these sterotypes....there are arabic ppl that dont blow up planes and actually travel u know...or have we forgotten that?
 
fly_emirates
Posts: 970
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2000 11:22 am

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 10:08 am

I am surprised..
as i noticed, british airways has a large variety of arabic personnel and cabin crew, it was so simple that they can let one of their arabic staff see those cards and tell!
 
BritishMidland
Posts: 167
Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 4:57 am

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 10:18 am

Morecy and Mace:
You are correct.
Others:
All security checks are based on sterotypes. Most flights to the middle east have heightened security checks. Most people going through customs are pulled aside by their looks, body language or religious appearance. For most of the people here who have never flown overseas, that is how it is done. White people flying into Heathrow do not get asked too many questions, African-Americans, Indians, Arabs etc are more likely to get stopped for some reason.

notice: I DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS PRACTICE... I AM MERELY POINTING OUT THAT IT DOES OCCUR AND IT IS THE REASON FOR MOST CHECKS Please no taking this out of context.

Regards,
BD
Enter the new age: A340-500, 777-200LR, 7E7
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 10:47 am

I agree with BritishMidland..but I disagree with Morcey and his comment that arabs should simply stop blowing things up and things will be cool...we're not all terrorists....
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 11:08 am

If I recall correctly, the last major act of terrorism in the United States was perpetrated by white supremacists. In fact, right after the bombing (Oklahoma City if you don't know what I'm talking about) the only people the cops arrested were Arab-Americans. Tim McVeigh and his ilk nearly got away while innocent people were stuck in jail because of their appearance.

And what about shootings in high school? It seems to me the teenage perps are almost exclusively white. Should we search only white kids in school, while ignoring everyone else? Of course not. It would be unfair to characterize all white people as terrorists, supremacists, or psychotic child killers just because SOME white people are. So morecy, don't claim that stereotyping is fair unless you think stereotyping people like yourself is fair too.
 
UAL747
Posts: 6725
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 1999 5:42 am

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:49 pm

The problem is statistics. Statistically, Arab extremests have been known to be the supporters, and collaborators of terrorist acts upon the rest of the world. I am not familiar with Islam, or the Arab culture, so I can't provide reasons for this statistic....but a statistic does show the hard truth.

Secondly, I am quite aware that the entire Arab population isn't entirely made up of terrorists. I have many friends of Arab descent, and we have talked about this very topic. We all have our stereotypes, unfortunately. We whites will always be known as the oppressors of other races, exploiters of labor, and close-minded. Mind you, I am none of these....but I have to live with the stereotype.

So, my point is, that there are going to be stereotypes that define society, and unfortunately, the Arab population has the stereotype of being terrorists. Mainly due to a few extreme cases. And when something does explode, there is always an Arab militia group willing to call in and take the blame...for fame I guess. If you recall after the OKC bombing, (where my parents live and where I grew up. Yes, I was there when it happend. 2nd hour class, Orchestra. I lived 6 miles away and the blast shook the ground that far away.) there was an arab militia group that immediately took blame for it, which was the cause of a search of people of arab descent. It is unfortunate that these few people have to put a stereotype on their arab brothers who have such a rich and colorful culture. But, these stereotypes do exist, and for safety reasons, these stereotypes have to be used, because there is simply no other way to know.

Whats really going to be scary is when these militia groups start hiring white people to do there jobs. Airline security will have to use something better than stereotypes.

Please don't think I am being racist here, because I am not. I think culture and race is something that makes our world so interesting, and I think that culture should be preserved. I am just stating how things are and why they are. Thanks.

UAL747

"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way
 
Amir
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 8:56 pm

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Fri Dec 15, 2000 3:36 pm

Dear all!

many of the above posts have made me reconsider my postings at this froum. It not only showed that many forummembers are quite racists but moreover it showed that many are simply cornered in their part of the world!

I have lived in the middleeast for 25 years and are quite familiar with airline regulations and practices

I think it could be better to spend my little spare time on some other interresting and more mature forums.

Rgds
Amir
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Sat Dec 16, 2000 3:07 am

A New article regarding this incident:

Source: Guardian Unlimited
http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,411902,00.html

Arabophobia in the air

A security scare at Heathrow airport over a pack of playing cards has drawn attention to widespread racism among airlines, writes Middle East editor Brian Whitaker.

Friday December 15, 2000

There was a bizarre security alert in London this week. A British Airways Boeing 747, with 329 passengers on board, was just about to take off from Heathrow airport for Miami when a few playing cards were found in the lavatory by a crew member.
On the back of the cards was something printed in Arabic (suspicious, eh?), so the pilot abandoned his takeoff. Closer scrutiny of the Arabic writing revealed that it was nothing more sinister than a calendar, and the plane - having missed its flight slot - eventually took off five-and-a-half hours late.

British Airways remains far from apologetic. "You do not take chances," a spokeswoman said, as if that explained everything. Not taking chances is one thing, but in their attitude towards Arabs, many airlines display a phobia that is not just irrational but thoroughly racist.

Since the crash of TWA flight 800 off the coast of Long Island in 1996, Arabophobia has run riot in the American air industry. Various media commentators blamed terrorists for the crash and pointed the finger at the Arab-American community.

In response to that, the Federal Aviation Administration, on the recommendation of a committee headed by Vice-President Al Gore, introduced a system of passenger "profiling" that was supposed to pick out likely terrorists.

Profiling assesses the trustworthiness of passengers by matching them against a list of criteria. The criteria are mostly secret, but it is known that a passenger travelling alone who has paid cash for the ticket and booked less than five days before departure is more likely to arouse suspicion than one who didn't and is travelling with family or friends.

Why that should point to a terrorist intent is baffling. Like many journalists, I often travel alone, pay cash and book at the last minute. There was also an incident a few months ago where the hijacker brought his family along for the ride.

After several years of applying this mumbo-jumbo to millions of passengers, the FAA is unable to point to a single case where profiling has led to the arrest of anyone who posed a threat to a plane or an airport. What profiling achieves in practice is to single out innocent passengers, mainly of Arab origin, for discriminatory treatment.

So many have been submitted to embarrassing public searches in front of other passengers, or to interrogations which made them miss their plane, that the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee now provides a complaint form on its website for aggrieved passengers to fill in.

Basically, profiling gives a veneer of scientific respectability to something much more familiar and abhorrent: anti-Arab prejudice of the kind that has been promulgated over the years by countless Hollywood stereotypes. We saw this last August when American investigators of the EgyptAir crash tried to portray the co-pilot as an Islamic extremist then, when that failed, as a sex maniac.

In another controversial case, an American pilot abandoned his flight from Phoenix to Washington at Columbus (Ohio) because two Saudis on board were behaving "suspiciously". Security teams and sniffer dogs surrounded the plane and passengers were evacuated on to the runway.

The Saudis, both postgraduate students in their 30s, had, according to a security official, been "very interested in the airplane, asking questions passengers normally wouldn't ask about the plane and where it was going and where it had come from".

One was alleged to have jiggled the handle on the cockpit door, though he said he had only been looking for the toilet. After three hours' questioning the men were released and the FBI declared itself satisfied that no laws had been broken.

By way of explanation for its extraordinary behaviour, the airline said it had only been following rules laid down by the FAA: profiling is compulsory for all American airports and for all American airlines abroad.

In the meantime, the original justification for profiling has evaporated. Last August the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the TWA crash which led Vice-President Gore to recommend profiling was not, after all, caused by a terrorist but by a technical fault.


bLuJaay
 
englandair
Posts: 2193
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2000 4:34 am

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Sat Dec 16, 2000 3:34 am

I think alot of you are missing the point.

Given passed (& hopefully now finished) events, British Airways/the security forces acted as I'm sure the vast majority of both European & Middle Eastern passengers would have wished.

I think that the text on the cards is irrelivent if the doors had been locked and not opened by a member of the cabin crew.
As I'm sure you'll agree, it's very odd that a normal passenger would unlock a locked door onboard an a/c without asking an FA first.

However, even if the fact that the text was Arabic, was the main security allert, if the a/c hadn't been researched and a bomb had gone off INNOCENT PEOPLE COULD HAVE DIED.

No matter who they offend, the main responsibility of an airline MUST be the safety of it's passengers.

I don't mean to offend anyone & I'm certainly not racist, but prevention is better than cure and if hundreds of people had lost their lives then there could be absolutely no cure.

Jamie.
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Sat Dec 16, 2000 2:22 pm

Bravo to BA!! Sometimes the best way isn't the most convenient. It would have been easy to ignore the security breach and hope for the best, most likely it would have turned out okay. However, what if, no matter how unlikely, an act of sabotage had taken place, and it was discovered after the fact that BA didn't react to the breach of security then a lot of people would have died for nothing. BA would have been held liable and it's good name would have been badly tarnished. No price is too great for safety. It's a comforting reassurance that at least one area (security) hasn't been affected by corner cutting, cost saving measures.
 
IndianGuy
Posts: 3126
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2000 3:14 pm

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Sat Dec 16, 2000 2:44 pm

Better to be safe than to be sorry.

I dont think that it matters whether the playing cards were in Arabic. That is not the point.

Lets put it this way: Some un-identified stuff was found. And it deserved to be checked. NOT because it was in Arabic, but because it was un-identified.
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Sat Dec 16, 2000 3:01 pm

But was it checked because it was unidentified? Or because it was in Arabic? Do you seriously think the response would have been the same had the cards not had Arabic on them? I think airlines are in serious trouble if their primary method of guaranteeing security is racial profiling. It indicates not that they are overzealous with regards to certain races, but that they are underzealous with regards to others. If playing cards in lavatories indeed pose a security risk, then you need to search the plane no matter what lettering is on them. Truly comprehensive security procedures shouldn't have to use racial stereotypes to determine whether something is a threat. Aside from the fact that it's stupid and unfair, having the prejudice that all terrorists are Arab simply makes it all that much easier for non-Arab terrorists to slip past security.
 
Guest

RE: BA Flight Delayed 8hrs B/c Of Arabic Playing Cards

Sat Dec 16, 2000 3:34 pm

Yes, it's not right to be racist, it's not fair, life's not fair. Statistics don't lie, we don't have to like what they tell us, but statistics don't let emotions cloud judgements. When it comes to safety absolutely no risks can be taken. You can call this racist, but if the numbers tell us that the greatest number of terrorists are from the middle east, then we have to take extra security measures. We don't want to be racists, but aren't we forced to be because of their own actions? I'm not saying that all people from the middle east are terrorists, not at all, but a large portion of the worlds' terrorists are so that naturally makes us apprehensive. We don't have to like it, but it's a fact of life.

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