A lesson to be learned
Scores of passengers patiently waited in long lines Sunday at Mineta San Jose International Airport, then took off their shoes and belts and placed them, along with their other belongings and carry-on bags, in trays to be X-rayed in the name of security.
As they waited, their checked bags underwent a separate screening process.
Outside, a 16-year-old boy climbed a perimeter fence, walked across a tarmac and climbed into the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767 destined for Maui. He had no luggage, no special equipment to help him survive, and luckily for the security-screened passengers aboard the plane - no bomb.
The juvenile survived in the unpressurized space even though the plane reached 38,000 feet, where the temperature was minus-80 and the oxygen level was 20 percent of that at sea level.
His survival was highly improbable but, even so, it should have been more likely than his ability to access a commercial airliner from anywhere other than the terminal.
The San Jose airport immediately began a security review after the incident, but it should not be alone.
The Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Safety Administration should order reviews of perimeter safety for all U.S. airports and ensure that minimum standards are adequate. Doing so could help save not only would-be stowaways, but passengers.