Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Winston Aldworth: The hassle battle

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Passengers all over the world line up to remove their shoes at airport security checks before boarding flights.
Passengers all over the world line up to remove their shoes at airport security checks before boarding flights.

Richard Reid failed in his grand goal of blowing up a plane - fellow passengers aboard American Airlines flight 63 from Paris to Miami, stopped the "Shoe Bomber" as he hamfistedly tried to detonate a homemade explosive in his sneaker on December 22, 2001.

But, sitting in his solitary cell at Florence ADX - a "supermax" prison in Colorado - he is getting the last laugh. Today, passengers all over the world line up to remove their shoes at airport security checks before boarding flights. It's a minor hassle - but a hassle all the same. And such hassles mount up - like straws upon the camel's back - to make international travel seem like one big hassle. A thing to resent.

The latest security hassle - a ban on electronic devices bigger than your phone when flying to Britain or the US from airports in certain Muslim-majority nations - is one more kick in the shins for long-haul travellers.

One of the things that makes long-haul flight bearable these days is the ability to switch on your personal device and dip into the electronic stuff that's important to you.

Airlines love it. With passengers carrying their own devices, airlines see a bold new future in which they can strip out the hardware (screens, control pads and mainframes) that make the inflight-entertainment systems work. That means less fuel burn across your fleet.

When they deprive us of the ability to use electronics on long-haul flights, douchebags like Richard Reid claim a minor victory.

The sooner we can return to normal service, the better.

- NZ Herald

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Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

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