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Christmas Day was full of joy here at the Beyers household. The passengers of Northwest Airlines Flight 253, to Detroit from Amsterdam, weren't as fortunate. They were the victims of an apparent terrorist attack.
Various news agencies are now reporting that a 23-year-old Nigerian man named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on board the flight as it was descending. Both the attacker and some passengers were injured in the fire that ensued. Thankfully, there were no fatalities.
Officials want to keep it that way. So when it comes to air travel, America is back on lockdown. According to a statement from the Transportation Security Administration, travelers may see additional security measures for international flights.
At least one traveler tweeting about the changes over the weekend, industry analyst Charlene Li, said that she was prohibited from using any electronics during her flight from Montreal to Chicago on Dec. 26.
If this crackdown persists, expect business travelers to be unhappy. They're used to cracking open their laptops for work during long-haul flights. Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL ) , AMR Corp.'s (NYSE: AMR ) American, UAL's (Nasdaq: UAUA ) United, Southwest (NYSE: LUV ) , and JetBlue (Nasdaq: JBLU ) have either enabled or toyed with enabling Wi-Fi in the sky to cater to these more profitable customers.
And what of the device industry? Portable geekery such as Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN ) hot-selling Kindle will have to remain in your bag. Thumb jockeys won't have their smartphones to play with in-flight. Overanxious kids won't be able to lose themselves in Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPod touch (once again a hot gift item this Christmas). On long flights, that's a problem.
This could hurt carrier profits, if the gadget stow-away policy is extended to domestic flights. Add-on services such as in-flight Wi-Fi were to be a key ingredient to the industry's turnaround.
But that's my take. Do you agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below to explain your thinking or offer alternatives.