Peter Greenberg, on how the British terror plot affects American travelers

August 16th, 2006

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST: So just how much will this massive terror plot affect the way you travel? Let's ask Peter Greenberg, he is the travel editor for THE TODAY SHOW. He is the author of the book, “The Travel Detective.” And he joins us from Minneapolis. Peter, welcome. How bad is this going to be for the average person?

PETER GREENBERG,“THE TODAY SHOW”: In the short term it will be a major inconvenience, today being the worst of those days, both in the United Kingdom and here and there were lot of things on the list that were not on your list of even cologne and perfume and we can go on and on and on. The problem is we d a good job of adapting when we have to and we will adapt to this. We are going to learn to love plastic bags and Zip-Loc bags and we are going to learn to not put that in our carry on bags and luckily at least they don't have the same ban in the United Kingdom which is banning all carryon bags at this moment. No electronic devices, no laptop computers, no wireless devices and for business travel that is almost suicidal so we are luckier than the folks who are trying to fly to London right now.

CARLSON: You suggested sending bags ahead to your destination. Is there a cheap, fast way to do that?

GREENBERG: You know what? Laws of supply and demand. And necessity being the mother of invention, there are 17 different services that will do that for you. I personally haven't checked a bag in over eight years. I believe there are two kinds of airline bags, carryon and lost. I believe in that.

CARLSON: I agree.

GREENBERG: So I save 2 1/2 hours of my life prior to today not checking bags. When I finish this program I'm going to the airport in Minneapolis to fly back to New York to do THE TODAY SHOW tomorrow. I'm about as close to being naked by the time I get to that plane as I can get. I just have one briefcase, nothing in it and my boarding pass. But your last guest talked in common sense. And if she didn't I will.

I'm going to probably be taken up for secondary screening because I made my reservation at the last minute, I'm on a one way ticket and I have no checked bags. My first name might as well be Ahmed. And that's not good profiling.

CARLSON: But your name isn't Ahmed. It's Peter Greenberg. You are the travel editor of THE TODAY SHOW. The idea that you would be taken out for secondary screening is insane. It just shows how serious we are about actually fighting terrorism. Come on, if you are taken out for secondary screening we are not going to win this war against terror. I'm sorry.

GREENBERG: And I get taken out all the time.

CARLSON: That is crazy.

GREENBERG: The bottom line is what – here is something else that is crazy. Frances Townsend talked about screening luggage. What about screen being the cargo carried in the belly of my commercial flight tonight? They are not doing that. That to me is a security loophole you could drive a Humvee through. That's no common sense at all.

CARLSON: Aren't the companies, U.S. Mail, FedEx -presumably-I'm not sure actually if FedEx is carried in the belly of commercial flights.

GREENBERG: No, they are not.

CARLSON: Right. But as far as I understand it is the U.S. Mail is one of the great suppliers of cargo for the bottom of planes. Do they do their own checking?

GREENBERG: I don't know the answer to that but people forget the airlines got their start in business by mail contracts with the United States Post Office. There will be mail on my plane and cargo from independent shippers and my question is who is inspecting that?

CARLSON: How long before people can go to Europe, say, without worrying about just terrible snafus at Heathrow or DeGaulle?

GREENBERG: I think the cycle problem will be about four to five days because remember, when a plane can't make the cycle meaning it goes from London to New York, to Chicago, to New York, back to London, it exponentially decreases your opportunity to get on that plane for a number of days. There's a complete ripple effect so most are telling you 48 to 72 hours. I'm telling you probably four days. Some of the airlines like British Airways are allowing people to rebook their flights with no penalty fees or cancellation fees up until December 1 so that ought to tell you about the ripple effect.

CARLSON: All right. Peter Greenberg. Travel editor of THE TODAY SHOW. Thanks a lot, Peter.

GREENBERG: You've got it.

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