I don’t expect to be flying anywhere any time soon. So no, this development hasn’t changed any of my plans, nor will it.
I hate air travel anyway. Potential terrorism aside, there are plenty of other good reasons not to fly. For one thing, airplanes are hotbeds of disease. The airlines won’t let people reschedule their tickets on the basis of sickness without a hefty fee in the three figures, which forces sick people to fly. Then, the carriers don’t take the trouble to disinfect the air and surfaces aboard the planes between flights, which makes the germs left by people on one flight available to infect passengers on the next one. I think one should get a partial refund every time one comes away from a flight with a cold or ’flu bug. The last time I had to fly across the continent, I packed a face mask and surgical gloves in my carry-on (both of which I admit I used only sparingly out of embarrassment), scrubbed my hands with sanitizer multiple times aboard the flight and in the airport, and made sure never to visit the airplane toilet. For a trans-Atlantic flight from London to Chicago, that was impossible, so I carried facial tissues to avoid touching anything in the on-board restroom or its door handles.
As for terrorism, I don’t think I’d feel any less safe now than before Christmas. The odds that any flight I’d be on will be attacked are minuscule, but the odds that there will be a terrorist attack somewhere are probably fairly good. And that’s because U.S. officials are still going about the process of screening all wrong: they’re looking for bad things, and not bad people. The safest airline in the world is the Israeli carrier, El Al, which you would think ought to be the most dangerous. But their screeners talk to prospective passengers, they study them carefully instead of staring on X-ray screens and people’s shoes. In a word, they do profiling. This has become a naughty word in domestic law enforcement, but it shouldn’t be in airports. The stakes are much higher, and unlike one’s vehicle on the freeway, airplanes are private property being entered daily by millions of strangers, and employed to cross state lines and international borders. Nobody should have any expectation of privacy while boarding an airplane. It’s that simple.