Thai Airways Discovers the Security Theatre Time Machine

Inane security procedures aren’t exclusive to the U.S.

And it’s just so 2002.

The Winter Olympics were in Salt Lake City. The ceasefire began in Sri Lanka. Queen Elizabeth passed away. Robert Hanssen was sentenced to life in prison for selling secrets to the Soviets. Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas died. And the Department of Homeland Security was created.

Thai Airways is trialing going with all plastic flatware on its Bangkok – Los Angeles route.

Chatree Pongsak, director of THAI’s flight operations safety department, said the change had been made out of concern for passenger safety.

He said the stainless steel cutlery could be used as a weapon in a terrorist attack or to commit a crime on board.

The airline’s Company Safety Committee (CSC) is considering phasing out the metallic cutlery on all of the airline’s routes, he added.

The committee agreed to begin by piloting the use of plastic flatware on THAI’s Bangkok-Los Angeles flights.

It the switch proves successful, the airline’s China routes will follow suit.

“Our decision is based on information about possible terrorist acts and the number of in-flight brawls,” Mr Chatree said.

“We want to prevent steel forks or knives from being used in personal attacks.”

They’d better ban Toblerone, too. (And perhaps all duty free?)

Of course Thai Airways, and airlines around the world, have been offering metal cutlery without terrorist incident for the past decade, and for half a dozen decades before that. But empirical evidence of (lack of) risk doesn’t play a role here.

Perhaps not so ironically the only place I recall actually going through a nude-o-scope is in Bangkok making a domestic-to-international transfer (there was no opt-out option).

(HT: estnet on Milepoint)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. this is clearly a cost-cutting measure being implemented under the guise of security theater.

    it is known that thai has been suffering financially and is looking for ways to return to profitability. their announcement today that their Q1 losses will be larger than expected is no surprise….

    in my opinion they have bigger fish to fry than worry about plastic cutlery.

  2. I’m irked by the assumption that something needs to happen for airlines to take precautions. I fully agree that silver cutlery doesn’t actually pose a risk, but to disagree with the decision on the basis that it hasn’t caused problems in the past is akin to saying bags shouldn’t be checked because no one has ever tried to sneak something dangerous in (just illustrating, obviously).

  3. @Andrew +1

    Next up, switching to wine-in-a-box in FC, due to fears of terrorists breaking off the bottom of a wine bottle and using it as a weapon. Followed by removing the noise canceling headphones since the cords could be used to strangle someone.

    Rumors are that Thai will be the first airline to charge a seatbelt rental fee. 😉

  4. It must be all those “in-flight brawls”. Mr Chatree said there were a ‘number’ of them. I guess the last one just tipped the scales. 🙂

  5. If it was for security, this would’ve been done a ling time ago. The real reason is obvious. The Chinese are stealing the cutlery.

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