Travel Tips: Endangering Public Safety

Last week, journalist and travel website owner George Hobica wrote an article for the Huffington Post based on tips from airline gate agents.

He relayed information about holding planes for late connecting passengers, upgrading tickets, and changing seats.

Oh, and he also included this about Federal Air Marshals:

Do you know who the federal air marshals are?

Yes, we call them FAMs. We typically board them first, and they are almost always sitting in an aisle seat in first class. They are not on every flight though. The flight crew's typically informed who the FAM is, but passengers can easily spot them since they're usually sitting on the plane already when everyone else boards. Kind of defeats the purpose in my opinion, but that is the procedure.

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Now, I understand that everything is discussed somewhere online.

But, legitimate journalists should be held to high standards.

Is discussing how to spot an armed federal agent on an airplane helping or hindering public safety?

Is endangering the lives of others a responsible practice for a professional?

So what's your next article Mr. Hobica?

Is it:

--Where are the soft spots on ballistic vests worn by police officers?

--How to weaken a building's roof to maximize fire fighter losses at the scene of a three alarm blaze?

--What are two actions teachers are guaranteed to take during a critical incident at school?

I realize that there is pressure to attract readers, but not at any price.

Good grief.

On a positive note, I know administrators of these federal agencies are well versed regarding the intelligence available on their tactics. As such, any information that compromised the safety of air marshals would result in immediate program changes.

But still.

29 comments:

Pat Hatt said...

True, somethings just shouldn't be wrote about or told to the public. Most could have guessed this one anyway I guess, but you do one and then as you say where does it end?

Carol Kilgore said...

I couldn't agree more. Husband and I often talk about this very issue. It seems to be becoming more prevalent, too.

Clarissa Draper said...

How ridiculous! It's scary to think that recipes for weapons and other dangerous concoctions can be found online for our children to access.

Bossy Betty said...

I agree with you here. Let's all just have a little common sense. OK?

Little Ms. Fun said...

I completely agree that some people should really have a "filter" when it comes to what they post online.

While this is obviously a serious subject, I couldn't help but picture the scene from Bridesmaids where the chubby girl SWORE that she was sitting next to a FMA.

Lydia Kang said...

Yeah, sometimes less is a good thing. I remember an article that showed how crystal meth could be easily made with a 2L soda bottle and sudafed. They practically gave the recipe away! It was ridiculous.

LD Masterson said...

The "public's right to know" should stop when it needlessly endangered the public safety.

WomanHonorThyself said...

flying has become a nightmare..another freedom taken from us my friend...good grief..have a great Wed Slam~!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, I so agree. As my son says, "It's too easy to be a jerk online." 'Nuff said.

Kristin said...

I can't believe that someone would publish information like that.

Christina Lee said...

Yeah..sigh. It all just "feels" different in the last few years--the media, the public, reality.

On a lighter note, your post reminded me of the airplane scene in the movie Bridesmaids. Laughed my A** off!

Sarah Forgrave said...

I completely agree. I'm always astonished at some of the things people print.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Hmmm. A little discretion might've been good in this case.

Ciara said...

That is just stupid. I mean, seriously? (okay, I had to delete what I originally wrote here because I don't want to get in trouble :)) Anyway, people really should stop and think before they write something (see above).

JJ.in.Phila said...

Well, it does point out a problem. It is easy to identify FAM's.

Maybe they need to be in different locations.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Geez, talk about putting a bull's eye on everyone who sits in the executive section. You might not be a FAM, but now other passengers will wonder if you are.

It's like when a girl goes missing and her name is flashed all over the media. Then she when she's found, but it turns out she was sexually assaulted, the media makes a big deal that they can't identify her because she was sexually assaulted. Now EVERYONE knows what happened to her. What happened to her right to privacy? All the media had to do was say she was found. Period.

Maxi said...

Go Slam. David and I complained about this for years, it's a no-brainer.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

I agree! Journalists should be held to high standards. Great post :) I love your blog. It is so interesting.

ladyfi said...

Exactly. After all the pat downs and security these days, why risk passenger safety?

Brian Miller said...

seriously people need to know when to stop...we live in a society where nothing is private and honestly i dont know if that is a good thing...

oceangirl said...

Hi. Your posts are interesting. And I read the continuing to Nikki January case. Her smiling face certainly tell her story.

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman said...

Hello there, Just stopping by to say thank you so much for the well wishes on my blog. Am home and doing better, lots of (low fat!) ice cream and movies! I appreciate your thoughts and prayers for my recovery.

Audrey Allure said...

I agree, I don't think that was very wise in informing the public on how to spot them.

j. littlejohn said...

seriously. though i wonder if anybody who really wanted this info couldn't find a way to it anyway

CL Beck, author said...

Never even thought about it before, since I'm always way down the line for boarding and half the passengers are already on the plane. But, I totally agree with you ... there's no need to reveal that type of info.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i don't know if agree with him either. I mean, yes the first people on the plane might notice him. But for most of us, when we get on the plane there are already a lot of people sitting because they boarded before me. *shrugs*

Tours and Travels said...

Yeah, sometimes less is a good thing....


Tours and Travels

Lisa said...

I've thought for a long time that "journalists" have become nothing buy sensationalists. This is not news-worthy, and could very well put someone in danger. I also have issues with embedded journalists in combat units. Really? What do they really do except get in the way and possibly compromise the mission with their "reporting"?

secret agent woman said...

True. My only consolation is that probably the people who would use this knowledge in a dangerous way already have that information.