It turns out all those ominous warnings that sequestration would cause a decrease in airline safety were not exaggerated. Today the cracks in the system have started to appear and all plane passengers have a legitimate reason to be afraid.
Keep your head up, frequent fliers: The TSA has announced that hockey sticks may now be carried aboard commercial airline flights. No more gate checking that composite Bauer One or the trusty vintage wooden Koho. These tools of the hockey trade can now share a seat with their hockey player owners in the cabin. An unintended consequence of sequestration no doubt.
Hockey players everywhere are tapping their sticks on their tray tables in approval of the move but there are dangers present for other passengers.
Look out! Steven Stamkos has been described as a “sharp-shooter” and now his signature L-6 firearm will be with him on board wearing a custom seat belt low and tight around its’ shaft. Hopefully pucks are still banned from being brought onto the plane. When Stamkos’ stick is loaded, he can do real damage.
If Tiger Williams is seated near you in first class, I suggest moving back to coach. He fashioned a Hall of Fame career swinging his stick recklessly. That guy with a hockey stick would make Mohammed Atta seem mellow by comparison.
Oh, flight attendant, you’d better get those headphones over to the surly brute with the toothless snarl in seat 7-C. He looks like he’s taken a few spearing penalties in his day.
It is so dangerous to fly now that sticks can be on planes that Pierre McGuire has asked for a Madden-type bus to ferry him to weekly games unless his can be guaranteed a seat behind the glass on all flights.
After the TSA announcement, Delta announced the addition of Sin Bin Seating on all of its flights over 2 hours in duration. Any customer who does not have control of his stick at all times will be forced to sit in this new section, accompanied only by a Gatorade squirt bottle and an elderly Canadian in a crested blue blazer, for a minimum of two minutes (4 minutes if the hockey stick draws blood from another passenger). Hitting an in-flight attendant will be cause for immediate ejection and at 30,000 feet, that is one harsh penalty.
For everyone’s benefit, I hope that flight attendants will now be required to complete special training in order to maintain order in the cabin. It’s bad enough that hockey players are allowed on planes at all. Now they’ll have weapons. Breaking up a fight between hockey players is a difficult skill but when you add a stick and high altitude to the mix, things can get ugly fast.
Airlines of America, brace yourselves. Starting today, all northern air routes will need a few extra sky marshals, preferably marshals fluent in English, French and Russian. It is important to speak the language if you need to separate two motivated combatants.
The wearing of goalie masks continues to be prohibited on commercial flights and there are no plans to allow freshly sharpened skates in carry-on luggage at this time. As the impact of sequestration continues to ripple, this may change.
If the TSA loosens these restrictions further and allows that foul smelling hockey equipment into the overhead compartments, we’ll know it is time to start taking the train. That stench is not safe.