Security costs? You pay!


Apparently the government agencies in UK that are managing the current security craze have little to no idea how much their super-paranoid security policies acctualy cost. It appears that direct losses from one day of air traffic chaos costs airlines 175 million pounds.

Everyone who has their flight delayed for more then an hour for whatever reason need simply to sue the airlines and further the UK government according the EU regulations. Each person delayed for just 4 hours can claim as much as 600 euros of compensations. I wonder what compensation must a person delayed 24+ hours get, considering missed meeting, needed hotel bookings and other expenses.

Now if all passengers and all airlines united and sued the government for the compensations (those can be in billions, considering that no sane business person would fly without their mobile and notebook and no mother would want to fly without toys to keep their children happy, so that will cause huge decreese in flying), then the government will think twice before disturbing lives of tens of thousands of people even when all suspects have been arrested.

And we do not even know if there was any terror plot. Last time there was a terror craze in the UK, a road was closed and isolated, a house was raided and then disassembled and a man was shot, but in the end nothing was found.

Who will foot the bill this time? The news say that people will not receive any compensation even if they were insured, because "it was an extreme event". WTF?! That is what regulations and insurance are for!!! And the minister is saying that they think that most restrictions will stay forever. No carry-on baggage? That is ridiculose.


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Jon 14 years, 6 months ago

I'll come back and read your entry again when the government has released some details of what actually happened: before then, such ranting is rahter uninformed.

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aigarius 14 years, 6 months ago

Yes, but in any case the request to cover any cost that the government's actions incured on the companies and on all the people still stands. It is called simple monetary accountability.
There has been an almost identical plod disbanded in 1995 without any interruption in air traffic. Now the security people can go what ever they want unchecked because everyone is horrified by 9/11 and 7/7.
There must be accountability regardless if there was a plot or not.

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Jon 14 years, 6 months ago

How much would the cost have been if the planes had blown up? Who would pay then?

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aigarius 14 years, 6 months ago

Insurance companies would need to pay life insurance cover for all affected passengers. If a significant amout is not insured, then the government would need to pay some compensation too.
What I am trying to do here is to put the decision into numbers - plain and understandable monetary damages.
I am fully convinced that one airplane with 300 passengers blown up (300 * 200 000 pounds of compensation + the cost of the plane) is better then 400 000 people sitting for hours and hours in airports or having their tickets bumped or cancelled (400 000 * 250 pounds of average damage + 175 million pounds of damage to the companies in only the first day).
There must be a balance - a way to compare the both sides of a decision. Otherwise we should just prepare for mandatory anal probes and 4 hour pre-flight security procedures by 2009.

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Johan 14 years, 6 months ago

The current situation is fucked up. God only knows how many billions are spent on treating us all like cattle, for some nebuluous and ill-defined benefit of "averting terrorist threats", the politicos can claim to the unwashed masses that they're doing something, and we willingly play along.

How often would you shop at a store where, every time you come in, the security guard kicks you in the nuts?

I'm seriously considering taking a boat next time I go from North America to Europe.

Oh well, with the airlines being as bankrupt financially as the politicians are morally, this can't go on forever.

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Jon 14 years, 6 months ago

You can't assess the situation on a purely economic basis because you can't put a price on lives.

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Johan 14 years, 6 months ago

The problem is that right now the situation is not being assessed at all. All we have is the government's word that terrorists are being stopped left and right as our rights and civil liberties are taken away.

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Seán 14 years, 6 months ago

If the restrictions last longer than a week I'll be unhappy. If it turns out the threat was wildly overblown, I'll be unhappy.

In the meantime those questions can't be answered. Whilst I agree that generally banning handluggage is unreasonable, in the context of a specific credible plot where it is unknown whether or not everybody involved has been arrested (like Jon said, I think it's too early to judge that) I personally can accept such measures for a short period of time.

I'm less interested in the insurance aspect, but as a pointer I believe most/many insurance policies specifically exclude terrorism related events. I basically disagree with that being done, but in the end it is what the customer has signed up for, and that is the time they should complain about it, not now. Of course, if any companies that *don't* have such a clause are trying to weasel out, that's entirely different.

Link | Reply magnus » Flying as we know it 14 years, 6 months ago

[...] Well, at least it seems it is. I’m wondering when they will release all the information to the public so that we can see if Aigarius’ rant comes true. [...]

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Magnus 14 years, 6 months ago

Jon said:
"You can’t assess the situation on a purely economic basis because you can’t put a price on lives."

What you are saying is that any measure is justified as long as it saves at least one life. Then I assume you are for banning cars (traffic kills 4 times as many people as terrorism does, in Israel!). Bathtubs would also have to go (in the Us roughly as many drown in bathtubs every year as dies from terrorism).

I would suggest you read John Mueller's A False Sense of Insecurity (

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Aigarius Blog » I called it! 14 years, 6 months ago

[...] Ryanair finally sued the UK government for 3 million pounds for the air traffic disruptions, just like I called it! Now they only need to team up with British Airways (who demand their money from goverment’s BAA) and all the other affected airlines, so that the court doesn’t just dismiss it right away. Also it would be nice if Ryanair rallied the people to halp them - demonstration in front of the courthouse and bumper stickers saying “Keep Britain Flying!” and “Keep US Flying!” (along with t-shirts, umbrellas and sports style water bottles) would also help to rally public support. [...]

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