When an admitted al-Qaida operative planned his itinerary for a Christmas 2009 airline bombing, he considered launching the strike in the skies above Chicago, the Associated Press has learned. Tickets were too expensive to Chicago, as well as Houston, however, so he refocused the mission on a cheaper destination: Detroit.
Hat tip: KJ Torrance
I'm not certain that any lessons can or should be drawn from the 2009 Christmas bombing plot (though I'm certain that the Transportation Security Administration, which implemented super-scientifice junk-scanning machines in response to the incident have drawn at least one idiotic one), but if nothing else, it shows that air travelers, even those ready to commit suicide, are sensitive to pricing.
Which was the great insight of airline deregulation pioneer Alfred Kahn, who died at the age of 93 in December 2010. Along with Reason's own Robert W. Poole, Kahn was the great champion of deregulating the airlines (and other transportation industries) in the 1970s. Kahn argued that ending the system by which the government (or an industry cartel) set routes and rates would usher in an era of innovation, decreased prices and increased safety. And, as even Al Qaeda operatives could tell you, he was totally fucking right on every count.
In case the passage of time has dimmed the details of the Underwear Bomber's foiled plan, go here to read again how it was bureaucratic screwups that allowed him to get on the plane in the first place and that it was passengers who took the perpetrator down. And it was Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who spouted all sorts of gibberish about how the incident showed "the system" worked.
Attention, al Qaeda, Admiral's Club operatives: Here's a list of the most expensive U.S. airports to fly in and out of.
Reason.tv (and Bob Poole) explains why your flight has been delayed (and why it's the government's fault):