Clear Plastic Cups at SEATAC

Clear Plastic Cups at SEATAC

  • Comments 12

This is about airport security, not code security ;-)

Raymond has a blog today about airport security, and it reminded me of something that always puzzles me. The Seattle / Tacoma International Airport has, as you can probably imagine, several STARBUCKS® outlets. And as you may already know, STARBUCKS® has two basic kinds of cups for its beverages:

·          Hot beverages are served in opaque paper cups

·          Cold beverages are served in clear plastic cups

The weird thing is that they have signs up saying that the clear plastic cups cannot be taken through the security checkpoints.

Why?

It seems to me that you can hide just about anything inside one of those paper cups, but they don't get searched. I once walked through the metal detector with a paper cup in hand and was asked to step aside for a further search. I sat down, put my coffee on the floor, took my shoes off, undid my belt buckle, and stood there while they double-checked me with the wand. They never looked in the coffee cup. I just picked it up and went on my merry way...

You could also try to hide things in the clear cups, but the security people are more likely to be able to see something sitting inside of it (especially if the thing can't be submerged in a liquid) than they are a paper cup. Seems to me that both kinds of cups should be treated the same -- ban both or allow both -- but if you are going differentiate, why do it in favour of the opaque cup?

Does anyone have the answer?

  • I walked through a gate a while back holding a half-empty bottle of water, and the security guard asked me to drink out of it.
  • I'm guessing that plastic cups are disallowed because thay 'could' be turned into weapons, no don't laugh, let me explain.

    If the cup is torn or cut so that it has a point (like a flat triangle) and reinforced by rolling it into a rigid tube then it 'could' make a reasonably dangerous pointed weapon.

    Imagine the plastic rolled into a thin tube with a sharp point, kinda like a plastic spear. Not a terribly fiercesome weapon but
    considering they've banned nail-clippers, still capable of causing some harm.
  • Jason:

    As opposed to, say, putting that same sharp instrument INSIDE THE PAPER CUP! :-)

  • True... but that's why I reckon they've banned plastic cups and not paper cups.

    Of course there's nothing stopping the terrorists from making their deadly plastic cup spears and THEN hiding them in their paper cups, thus foiling the 'no plastic cups' rule.

    The next step is to make passengers disrobe at the terminal and fly naked. Their clothes will be transported along with their baggage.

    (Mind you it'll be a real b!tch when they 'lose' your baggage.)
  • Airplane security should have very little to do with screening for weapons. Anyone with an IQ of 105+ could figure out how to get weapons such as nunchaku on an airplane.

    They still haven't fixed the main security hole: Cockpit access. The airplane should be secure against internal attacks while inflight. A taxicab is (I can't grab the steering wheel of a cab while in the passenger section), so why not a 747? Even if everyone on board was given hammers and knives, it should still be impossible for them to take control of the airplane. Just injuring others on board is a trivial attack (since you can get stabbed with a plastic cup anywhere).

    Perhaps we need to call SEATAC (phone number?)? Or perhaps Starbucks put the sign up for some other reason?
  • "Airplane security should have very little to do with screening for weapons. Anyone with an IQ of 105+ could figure out how to get weapons such as nunchaku on an airplane.

    They still haven't fixed the main security hole: Cockpit access. The airplane should be secure against internal attacks while inflight. A taxicab is (I can't grab the steering wheel of a cab while in the passenger section), so why not a 747? Even if everyone on board was given hammers and knives, it should still be impossible for them to take control of the airplane. Just injuring others on board is a trivial attack (since you can get stabbed with a plastic cup anywhere). "

    Amen!

    the folks doing the security seem to me just clueless....

    most of it's a total waste....

    spend our time and money on cups, tweezers and other items and not on securing the flite deck
    and fwd cabin area....

    and harras us for having a keychain pen knife
    .....

    if you really want it to be safer ban all carry-on items 100% unless it has a valid medical need.

    after all if I realy wanted to ruin the flight just hide a bomb inside a back pack with junk in it.... just enough pastiqe to rupture the skin of the airframe would take down the whole plane.... no knifes or guns needed...
  • ????????????????????????
  • What they told me was that the plastic cups would hold an accelerant. The paper cups won't.....Therefore, they let the paper cups through, no questions asked, because they would be eaten through by whatever chemical they're afraid of.
  • Thanks Ty.

    Of course, you just put the accelerant in a "tall" plastic cup, then hide the plastic cup inside a "Venti(TM)" paper cup... and you're done!

    (This same counter-argument works for any alleged mis-use of plastic cups).
  • "What they told me was that the plastic cups would hold an accelerant. The paper cups won't.....Therefore, they let the paper cups through, no questions asked, because they would be eaten through by whatever chemical they're afraid of. "

    LOL. That's stupendous. I'd *love* to sit in on one of these security analysis meetings... except aparantly, no one is doing them.
  • I am looking for a plastic 11" tall cup to use as a centerpice for a party.
    somenthing like a wine glass
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