TSA Directive post NWA 253: no more wifi or live TV?

am I reading this correct: no more wifi or live TV on flights? does this mean they think inflight terrorists are going to be Skyping with terrorists on the ground? see red

Transportation Security Administration

Aviation Security Directive

Subject: Security Directive
Number: SD 1544-09-06
Date: December 25, 2009

EXPIRATION: 0200Z on December 30, 2009

This Security Directive (SD) must be implemented immediately. The measures contained in this SD are in addition to all other SDs currently in effect for your operations.

INFORMATION: On December 25, 2009, a terrorist attack was attempted against a flight traveling to the United States. TSA has identified security measures to be implemented by airports, aircraft operators, and foreign air carriers to mitigate potential threats to flights.


ACTIONS REQUIRED: If you conduct scheduled and/or public charter flight operations under a Full Program under 49 CFR 1544.101(a) departing from any foreign location to the United States (including its territories and possessions), you must immediately implement all measures in this SD for each such flight.


1. The aircraft operator or authorized air carrier representative must ensure all passengers are screened at the boarding gate during the boarding process using the following procedures. These procedures are in addition to the screening of all passengers at the screening checkpoint.

1. Perform thorough pat-down of all passengers at boarding gate prior to boarding, concentrating on upper legs and torso.
2. Physically inspect 100 percent of all passenger accessible property at the boarding gate prior to boarding, with focus on syringes being transported along with powders and/or liquids.
3. Ensure the liquids, aerosols, and gels restrictions are strictly adhered to in accordance with SD 1544-06-02E.

2. During the boarding process, the air carrier may exempt passengers who are Heads of State or Heads of Government from the measures outlined in Section I.A. of this SD, including the following who are traveling with the Head of State or Head of Government:

1. Spouse and children, or
2. One other individual (chosen by the Head of State or Head of Government)

3. For the purposes of Section I.B., the following definitions apply:

1. Head of State: An individual serving as the chief public representative of a monarchic or republican nation-state, federation, commonwealth, or any other political state (for example, King, Queen, and President).

2. Head of Government: The chief officer of the executive branch of a government presiding over a cabinet (for example, Prime Minister, Premier, President, and Monarch).


1. During flight, the aircraft operator must ensure that the following procedures are followed:

1. Passengers must remain in seats beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.
2. Passenger access to carry-on baggage is prohibited beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.
3. Disable aircraft-integrated passenger communications systems and services (phone, internet access services, live television programming, global positioning systems) prior to boarding and during all phases of flight.
4. While over U.S. airspace, flight crew may not make any announcement to passengers concerning flight path or position over cities or landmarks.
5. Passengers may not have any blankets, pillows, or personal belongings on the lap beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.

AIRCRAFT OPERATOR ACKNOWLEDGMENT: The aircraft operator must immediately provide written confirmation to its assigned PSI indicating receipt of this SD.

AIRCRAFT OPERATOR dissemination required: The aircraft operator must immediately pass the information and directives set forth in this SD to all stations affected, and provide written confirmation to its PSI, indicating that all stations affected have acknowledged receipt of the information and directives set forth in this SD. The aircraft operator must disseminate this information to its senior management personnel, ground security coordinators, and supervisory security personnel at all affected locations. All aircraft operator personnel implementing this SD must be briefed by the aircraft operator on its content and the restrictions governing dissemination. No other dissemination may be made without prior approval of the Assistant Secretary for the Transportation Security Administration. Unauthorized dissemination of this document or information contained herein is prohibited by 49 CFR Part 1520 (see 69 Fed. Reg. 28066 (May 18, 2004).

APPROVAL OF ALTERNATIVE MEASURES: With respect to the provisions of this SD, as stated in 49 CFR 1544.305(d), the aircraft operator may submit in writing to its PSI proposed alternative measures and the basis for submitting the alternative measures for approval by the Assistant Administrator for Transportation Sector Network Management. The aircraft operator must immediately notify its PSI whenever any procedure in this SD cannot be carried out by a government authority charged with performing security procedures.

FOR TSA ACTION ONLY: The TSA must issue this SD immediately to the corporate security element of all affected U.S. aircraft operators.

FOR STATE DEPARTMENT: Retransmittal to appropriate foreign posts is authorized. Post must refer to STATE 162917, 201826Z Sep 01, Subject: FAA Security Directives and Information Circulars: Definitions and Handling, for specific guidance and dissemination.

Gale Rossides

Acting Administrator 

25 thoughts on “TSA Directive post NWA 253: no more wifi or live TV?

  1. Heres a perfect example of regulations that wont really effect the people there trying to regulate but rather those there trying to protect

  2. Thankfully TSA has already restructured their Security
    Directive, but it doesn’t change the fact that TSA is again
    appearing to have a knee jerk reaction to security
    requirements, which lead more and more people to think that
    TSA is just security theater. It looks like wifi and live
    TV is back on the planes though.

    Looking forward to pat downs on all flights coming back from
    my International trips though, because that will definitely
    stop any potential terrorists. 🙂

  3. Another example of one person doing something and we all
    suffer. For the last hour, can they sell you a pair of

    It is also one way to get the readership of those really bad
    airline magazines up.

  4. Jason,

    Perhaps next time you’ll read it properly?

    ACTIONS REQUIRED: If you conduct … flight operations … departing from any foreign location to the United States (including its territories and possessions), you must immediately implement all measures in this SD for each such flight.

    In other words: this applies to flights landing in the united states which originate from outside the country. I know of no such international flight that provides either live tv or wifi.

  5. This looks like it applies to foreign flights inbound to the US. (i.e. not domestic US flights). “…departing from any foreign location to the United States…”

    The problem with these kinds of rules is they are becoming impossible to enforce. Perhaps the goal is to provide a scapegoat should an attack be successfully carried out. They can just say ‘well we told you to do IMPOSSIBLE TASK 1 and you must not have so its your fault’ This kind of security is never going to make anyone safer.

  6. What’s the TSA definition of “lap”?

    Sooner or later people will recognize how mismanaged and horrible the TSA’s rules are and start to revolt.

    Who oversees the TSA?

  7. I have not been able to find this on the TSA site or any .gov site anywhere. The only people posting the “full text” of it are blogs that provide generic (tsa.gov, no path) or circular references to themselves. Searching for the directive by number on Google brings up a ton of blogs. Searching on tsa.gov yields no result. I’m calling shenanigans.

  8. You have go to be kidding! What the heck does live TV have
    to do with security? The TSA continues to make stupid
    statements and look like fools.

  9. If the “stay in your seat, maggots” mandate was in place on xmas the bombing actually might have been successful had Jasper Schuringa obeyed. All should travelers crap themselves for that last hour and happily submit to follow-up upper leg pat-downs.

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