A man attempted to detonate his shoe on a flight diverted to Boston in 2001; eight years later all airline passengers are still walking barefoot through airport security.
In 2006 officials uncovered a plot to attack transcontinental flights with liquid explosives, and normal-sized tubes of toothpaste and hair gel became contraband in carry-on bags.
On Christmas Day, a man on Northwest Flight 253 to Detroit tried to set off an explosive, part of which was sewn into his underwear. If the Transportation Security Administration followed its typical reactionary retort to such security incidents, today we'd be grappling with a ban of all undergarments on U.S. flights.
Thankfully, that hasn't happened.
That doesn't mean, though, that business travelers and other frequent fliers won't see the hassle factor inside airports continue to rise in the name of perceived security rather than actual protection.
And that's the problem: We're taking off our shoes, we're putting our tiny toiletries in clear bags and soon more of us will likely be going through full-body scanners. And yet, we don't feel any safer.
True security comes in the form of intelligence and getting to the threat before a terrorist ever sets foot in an airport terminal. If an individual intending to harm an aircraft makes it that far, chances are that he will be difficult to stop.
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that U.S. intelligence officials had the information to prevent the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 but "failed to connect those dots."
Aside from the Christmas Day near-attack, another incident earlier this week showed just how tenuous airport security still is.
On Sunday a man evaded the security checkpoint altogether at Newark Liberty International Airport by walking the wrong way through an exit lane into the airport's busiest terminal. A TSA spokeswoman said the officer stationed at the post either failed to notice the man or failed to react to the situation after security cameras confirmed a passenger's account that a man entered the exit lane without being screened.
That led to chaos as TSA shut down the terminal, delayed all flights, and required all passengers to exit and go through the security checkpoint again. The terminal did not reopen for six hours and many passengers, on one of the busiest travel days of the year, were delayed by more than a day in reaching their final destinations.
If that isn't frustrating enough, keep in mind that the man who originally set off this chain of events was never found. And if his motive was to harm as many people as possible, he would have had the perfect opportunity in the terminal as thousands of people clustered together to exit for the rescreening process.
So what's the upshot of these most recent security incidents for passengers — whose appetites for air travel are already diminished as a result of the recession — and the airlines, which are trying to steer themselves toward economic recovery?
The quick dive airline stocks took just after the Christmas Day incident will go down as a blip on the ticker, said Morningstar airline analyst Basili Alukos, much like the quick dips experienced in the wake of the SARS or H1N1 virus scares.
One concern now, Alukos said, is that TSA, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security, could use the incident to hasten and amplify a call to increase the $2.50 fee all passengers pay on each ticket to fund TSA's budget.
The fee has been in place since shortly after 9-11, the catastrophe that led to the creation of TSA.
The airlines' lobbying group, the Air Transport Association, has long opposed any increase, saying national security should be funded by all taxpayers, not just airline passengers.
For airlines and passengers, the effects of this latest incident may not come only in the form of intensified inconvenience, but also a wallop to the wallet.
Perhaps if we actually begin to feel safer and connect the dots that Obama referred to the cost would be worth it. But so far, it seems all we've gotten for our money is security window-dressing that does little to combat the real threat.
Beth Kassab can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-5448. Read her blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/thebottomline.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times