Anyone who complains about going through security at U.S. airports should think twice: there have recently been disturbing reports of possible terrorist "dry runs" on domestic flights, including one on U.S. Airways Flight 1880 from Washington Reagan National Airport to Orlando International on September 2, 2013.
An internal memo leaked from the U.S. Airline Pilots Association, a union that represents U.S. Airways, detailed the incident, where it was reported that a group of four Middle Eastern men were acting suspiciously on the flight. One was reported to have run from his seat in coach towards the flight deck, breaking a hard left and staying in the lavatory for an unusual amount of time. The other three men moved about the cabin, changed seats, opened overhead bins, and were "generally making a scene."
U.S. Airways and the Transportation Security Administration have confirmed this incident, and TSA said that they take all reports of suspicious activity seriously and have determined that this incident requires no further investigation at this time.
Dry-runs are a common step in preparation for an attack, as they are designed to study the flight procedures and gauge the reactions of the flight crew. Terrorists will typically conduct multiple dry-runs before carrying out an attack, as happened before the 9/11 attacks.
The incident aboard Flight 1880 may have been just a case of a few passengers acting obnoxiously coupled with post-9/11 paranoia, but it's an important reminder as to why America has all so many intensive travel security measures in the first place. Inconvenient airport security lines are a small price to pay for safety, and just because it has been years since a notable incident does not mean we should become complacent.