Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Flight Plans: My prolonged silence over the past few days is the result of my escape from the Gulag also known as the United Kingdom.

As part of a global strategy clearly designed to identify terrorists by creating conditions so onerous that they are the only ones prepared to put up with airport security, the U.K. banned pretty much every item of carry on: no laptops, no iPods, no books—which on a trans-Atlantic flight essentially means either eight hours of staring at the back of some guy’s head or enduring a movie in which Antonio Banderas teaches underprivileged high school kids to dance.

But flights from Brussels are slightly less restrictive. Most important, you can take a laptop on board, which given that the eight hours from Europe to the U.S. are my most productive was a big deal. So I gave up my Virgin ticket and took the Eurostar train to Brussels to catch a flight a day later on which I could actually work. The cost was not insignificant—a Eurostar ticket, a night at the delightful Brussels airport Sheraton, and a ticket on a major U.S. carrier—but worth it for the added productivity.

Or it would have been, until my laptop imploded at the Sheraton, and all I could get was a message telling me that I had a boot error. So no computer and no work, though at least I was allowed to read. Then, when I made it home I had to wait for my IT guy to come rescue the contents of my hard drive before I could get any work done.

Anyway, it would not have helped with the laptop problem, but I am so ready for someone to launch a no-security airline. I would happily pay an additional $1000 or so per trans-Atlantic flight for an airline that didn’t wait me stand in line for half an hour, take off my shoes and belt, start up my laptop, surrender my iPod and generally inconvenience me in an effort to persuade me that all of that will somehow make me safer.

I don’t believe it for a second and in any case, for me personally, the trade-off isn’t worth it. I’d rather take my chances with the bomb-making whackos.


  • At 6:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You total d***head. What on earth makes you think you are so important that you are prepared to put hundreds or thousands of people in the air and on the ground at risk so you can continue working. Get over yourself. If your that important - how about using a pen and paper and get you doubtless numerous and un-valued underlings to retype it for you when you arrive.


  • At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    “Gulag known as the United Kingdom”…er, remember WWII?? Just as now we stand by our American allies in a fight against oppression. Apologies if this inconveniences you.

    Coming from a supposed New Yorker your attitude displays shocking selfishess. Coming from a supposed PR professional, publicly stating your attitude in such an unsophisticated way is stunning stupidity.

    Just in case they missed it I have sent a link to this blog to the Editors of The New York Times, Wall St Journal & New Yorker so they can highlight your attitude to the UK's response to recent terrorist threats.

    On behalf of the people of Britain, please stay in New York. When people ask why you don't go to the UK any more tell them why & wait for them to make their excuses to say goodbye.

  • At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You absolute a**hole. What can I add apart from what has been said above? I'll just reiiterate that you have huge tabs on yourself, and yes we would rather you stay where you are you tw*t.

  • At 9:31 AM, Blogger outlander11 said…

    This is starting to make news in the UK. In the name of safety, I would much rather we over compensated, than the alternative. Given that its a little over a year since July 7th, you are showing an dismal sense of history, respect or sensitivity. As a foreigner living in the UK, I have been impressed by the fortitude and sheer will of the British public who have endured much worse than your pitiful delay. I suspect this could be a classic "Ratner" jewellery comment that could cost you relationships in the UK and EU and maybe even the US.

  • At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's already cost him relationships in the UK - I work in PR consultancy and have sent to many media, peer and client contacts. With this arrogance I'm sure he'll shrug this off as of negligible impact...but let's just see. I just cannot believe the arrogance and stupidity...I really did think this was a joke, now I think it's SICK.

  • At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How can you be so incredibly arrogant and insensitive? The rest of the world supported NYC after 9/11, and now as another country is taking steps to prevent a similar atrocity, you throw some cry baby fit becuase you can't work for eight hours? You dick.

  • At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I hope the media finds this post and writes about your attitudes towards terrorism.

    I think you should explain, here on your blog, to the families of 9/11 victims, why you think it's better to have bomb-making whackos on a plane than it is to travel without a laptop.

  • At 6:11 PM, Blogger MC said…

    I think some of the commenters focused all their hostility on your conclusion without saving some for the general stupidy of the security measures. Surrendering everything before entering security may be an appropriate, but extreme step; however, it also reveals a thus far overlooked conclusion: why would a bottle of water or a cup of coffee purchased AFTER passing security, i.e., in a supposedly secure area, also not be allowed on the airplane. Have we inadvertently learned that goods brought into the airport departure area are, in fact, not screened? Books? Magazines? Newspapers? And what of the 911 commission's finding that removing shoes for screening makes no sense because the screening systems can't identify dangerous conditions? And, by the way, that started with the guy who put matches in his shoes, which led to a ban on matches being brought on board -- a ban then lifted although lighters are still forbidden (those lost the lobbying fight.)
    Parading heavily armed soldiers may make us feel secure, but I'd feel a lot better if they checked what goes into the cargo hold, if not what goes into the airport departure areas.

  • At 7:37 PM, Blogger Paul A. Holmes said…

    Six months of blogging about PR and I get the biggest response I've ever had to a post about air travel. Bizarro world.

  • At 4:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Six months of blogging about PR and I get the biggest response I've ever had to a post about air travel. Bizarro world."

    .....no, you get the biggest response ever because your comments are insensitive, arrogant and self-centred (i'll take the risk and pay extra / i'll take eurostar to Brussels just so I can use my laptop). Think about what you are saying first - for a communications professional this was a disgusting post.

    You might pay extra for the risk - but what about the cabin staff / ground crew. Hell...why am I even debating this, it's ridiculous.

    Do you really have to be that connected that you can't band together and get through this difficult time with a little stiff upper lip? I bet you are one of these people that has to switch on his mobile phone the second the tyres hit the runway in the vain belief that the world has fallen apart without you. We have bigger issues in this world than people like you wanting to work on planes / listen to ipods etc.

  • At 5:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Six months of blogging about PR and I get the biggest response I've ever had to a post about air travel. Bizarro world."

    Maybe not 'bizarro', maybe more a reflection on the insightfulness of all your other posts!

    And for someone who's supposed to be running a company that purports to create useful reports into the PR industry, I'm not sure that says a whole lot about the quality of your writing, does it?

  • At 5:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And do you think that stupid comment has made it better Mr Holmes? We're running out of words to describe you, so I'll use pr*ck.

  • At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have come to expect that Americans do not have maturity, courage nor the intellect to look at the difficult world head on and admit to the fundamental precariousness of life and the responses to this blog have done little to assuage that opinion. However I expected more from our British counterparts, having neither the grace nor simple decency to admit that our terror-circumscribed life is infinitely less precarious than those people whose lives are destroyed by many of the policies which unfortunately our two countries advocate should not be lost sight of. Also, one barely has to scratch the surface to find that security post 9/11 has sadly been more cosmetic than concrete. Clearly, I don’t see this recent episode as being any different. Bravo for daring to say that the emperor indeed is not wearing any clothes.

  • At 2:07 PM, Blogger Paul A. Holmes said…

    Well, I've been carrying on the discussion above rather than here, so I'm a little behind. Clearly, the world is full of people who believe paperbacks are potentially lethal weapons and that we must accept authoritarianism as an inevitable consequence of the modern world.

    In response to the poster above (anonymous), what went on in the UK last week was the very opposite of stiff upper-lip, unless the stiff upper-lip has been redefined to mean hysterical panic. What happened to British stoicism, resilience, and determination to carry on in the face of threats in the 20 years I was gone?

    Interestingly, when I was in London last summer, the majority of the British people reacted to the bombings just that way. Most, like me, were back on the tube as soon as it opened. I assume the people above still haven't ventured underground again but let me assure them that it's perfectly safe, as safe in fact as air travel was before, during and after this latest "scare."

  • At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's a bizzarro world that a New Yorker thinks that airport security on the day of an attempted terrorist strike in the style of 9/11 is something trivial.

    Paul, your blog is dreary shite. That's why nobody takes any interest, and why this post was the only one that caused some reaction.

    How the fuck can you honestly think there should be no security on airlines!?!

  • At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Paul I don’t know what is funnier, your lack of reverence toward the perceived threat or the Brits having completely lost their famous sense of irony. Perhaps the fact that security in the states is an utter joke is lost upon our friends across the pond. BTW, will someone please wake me when PR stops being “dreary shite”?

  • At 6:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Get a life pal.

  • At 5:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The thing about Bristish irony is that it is supposed to be self-deprecating - not how I would characterise its use here!


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