Consider just last week, when authorities in Germany shut down Munich's airport after a man's laptop set off alarms. It sure made for scary headlines: "Man on the run at Munich Airport!" and "Man flees in airport laptop explosives alert!" But there was no terrorist. The man in question apparently never knew his laptop triggered any sort of panic. He didn't flee. He was later seen on security cameras killing time browsing in the duty free shops.
What this shows is how nervous we all are, which may account for intense fascination with all stories even peripherally related to security, including the alleged "plane pickpocket" who was arrested for suspected pilfering (well, part of the fascination surely had to do with the fact that the arrestee's mother was actress Cybill Shepherd). Charges are still pending and the young man has not publically commented on the incident.
And then there was this past weekend's drama, when a passenger tried to open an aircraft door in mid-flight. The plane was diverted and the fellow is expected to get some "medical evaluation."
So, yes, we're on edge. And the security pendulum continues to swing between overreaction and plain old human error and sometimes, machine error. I just wish there was some way to grab hold of that pendulum, and move it to the middle.
In the meantime, watch your neck because the whiplash continues.
This work is the opinion of the columnist and does not reflect the opinion of ABC News.
Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations, including ABC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg. His Web site FareCompare.com offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deal.