Wednesday, 30 December 2009

No Books on Planes? New Regulations Should Be Protested

Note: Transport Canada said on January 6 that this was all a misunderstanding, books were never supposed to be banned. Rather stupid of them not to include them on the "permitted" list though. Maybe our little protest did something. Mary. And as of January 17 to FaceBook page is no more.

What's wrong with this picture?

1. New travel restrictions for flights leaving Canada for the US, according to The Globe and Mail: "Allowed on board will be the following: medication or medical devices, small purses, cameras, coats, items for care of infants, laptop computers, crutches, canes, walkers, containers carrying life sustaining items, a special needs item, musical instruments, or diplomatic or consular bags."

2. sells more Kindle books than physical books on Christmas Day, and the electronic book reader smashes holiday sales records for the on-line commerce.

3. The feisty independent bookseller McNally-Robinson files for bankruptcy protection and closes stores in Toronto and Winnipeg.

The second and third items are not particularly unexpected, given the way publishing has been switching from paper to pixels in the last few years. But the first is astonishing: no books, either electronic or hardcopy, on airplane flights? No magazines? No writing paper, unless you can fit it into a "small purse?" To my mind, the only redeeming thing about a long airplane flight is the time it can give for uninterrupted reading, but now they want to deprive us even of that.

Is this an oversight, or just another example of the way the powers-that-be find it congenial to make it easier to stop thinking? If you want to react, check out the Facebook Group, Stop Dumbing Down: Allow Books on Airplanes.


Muzition said...

Musical instruments are still allowed on planes... I wonder if it would be possible to sneak a book into an instrument case.

Amanda said...

I'm so confused. It has to be an oversight. If nothing else the flight attendants would loose their minds if people couldn't even read on a plane.

lagatta à montréal said...

This is ludicrous. We must not forget that the hapless "crotch bomber's" own father stepped forward to denounce his son as a potentially violent fanatic - that takes a lot in a family-centred, patriarchal culture.

I hadn't read that he was reading a book, and he certainly wasn't carrying a lady's handbag.

And remember that privatisation played a major part in the mass killing on September 11th. Minimum-wage, not very trained or committed security guards let through the Stanley knives (box cutters) etc that had been illegal in plane cabins for many years.

What is a "small purse" anyway? What the Queen carries? (Legend has there is no money in it, perhaps a hanky if that).

Kindles and company don't seem to be such a factor in Québec so far. Not interested yet. My electronic stuff is really work-related. I will be buying a netbook, except that the one I wanted (which has an almost-normal-sized keyboard and a screen I can see without too-strong glasses) has been out of stock.

I hate being laden down with gadgets; it is not liberation. Of course a socialist-feminist-environmentalist etc society would have these available in public places, so people would not have to cart them around.

On an unrelated subject, had to pay a bill at Cooptel (St-Denis and Mont-Royal). Young guy shuddered at my walk from Papineau to St-Denis ... I was shopping along the way but didn't find any real bargains on things I needed... so of course I said I was continuing onto St-Laurent and down to Prince-Arthur at least.


Mary Soderstrom said...

There was an altercation on an Air Canada flight last night which led to an unscheduled stop in Montreal (see: I'd be tempted to say it was because the passenger in question had no book with him, but, given that the regulations appear to apply only to flights to the US) that can't be the reason!

Let us being the new year by protesting loudly, waving our books (electronic or otherwise) in the air.

lagatta à montréal said...

"Weird", of course. I think I'm a little bit dyslexic when typing and don't always see the comment box very well. I'll have to remember always to preview.

I'd go nuts not being able to read on a flight, and getting sloshed would not be a workable alternative, as that gives me the urge to pee.

CanNurse said...

I expect it is an oversight because the men making these rules don't read & thus, it would never occur to them that others would want to bring a book. I put my aunt on a flight to the U.S. yesterday & she tried to cram a paperback book into the "small purse" she was allowed. No one - including the Airline people - had any information about what size a "small purse" could be. They told us it was up to the individual US Customs agents. And that your chances of getting a slightly larger purse through might increase if you had a woman agent, since they have a better idea of what a woman needs to carry in a purse. They said they had received absolutely no Measurements from US Customs, despite requesting that information. Obviously men made the rules. They also didn't know whether books would be allowed or not, carried outside the "small purse". In addition, people can take a laptop bag - which in my opinion would qualify as a large purse. But you have to have a laptop inside of it. Weird weird world! Join facebook group!

Mary Soderstrom said...

As of mid-day today (Jan.7) Transport Canada is saying that it was all a misunderstanding. Mathieu Laroque, a spokesperson, wrote confirming that "books and magazines and other personal items such as cell phones and laptop are permitted on US-bound flights."

He adds: "Transport Canada is currently working on a revised list that will be a little more specific and that will include items such as books and magazines."

I think our little protest helped clarify things.

Anonymous said...

I have written to Transport Canada, John Baird, and received no reply about size of purse/handbag.
How ridiculous! The airlines have no problem with handbags, but Transport Canada has!!!
All this security is a sham to make the public feel safe. W5 exposed all the dangers that Transport Canada ignores but then they limit handbags/purses!!!