Are we really better off with the TSA? Here is list of notable US involved Hijackings:
Decade Notable US Involved Hijackings
Here are the details by year, information compiled though wiki:
• May 1, 1961: First U.S. Airline flight hijacked to Cuba. A National Airlines Convair 440 flight from Marathon, Florida to Key West was hijacked by a man carrying a knife and a gun who demanded the flight divert to Havana. The aircraft, piloted by Captain Francis X. Riley, was thought to be lost at sea for several hours before authorities learned it had been hijacked.
• November 24, 1968: Luis Armando Pena Soltren, Jose Rafael Rios Cruz and Miguel Castro coerced the pilot of Pan Am Flight 281 out of New York's John F. Kennedy Airport on a scheduled route to Puerto Rico to divert to Havana, Cuba. Passengers were evacuated from Cuba by a U.S. State Department aircraft. There were no fatalities.
• March 17, 1970: Eastern Air Lines Shuttle Flight 1320, carrying passengers from Newark to Boston was hijacked around 7:30 P.M. by John J. Divivo who was armed with a .38 caliber revolver. Captain Robert Wilbur Jr., 35, a former Air Force pilot who had only been promoted to captain six months prior, was shot in his arm by the suicidal hijacker. With a .38 slug in his arm and bleeding profusely, he flew his aircraft safely to a landing while talking to the tower, telling them his copilot was shot (but not himself) and needed an ambulance. His copilot, First Officer James Hartley, 31, was shot without warning by Divivo and collapsed. Divivo then turned the gun on the captain, causing his arm injury. Despite being fatally wounded Hartley recovered sufficiently to rip the gun from Divivo's hand, and shoot the would-be hijacker three times before lapsing into unconsciousness, and eventually death. Although wounded and slumped between the seats, Divivo arose and began clawing at Captain Wilbur, attempting to force a crash. Wilbur hit Divivo over the head with the gun he had retrieved from the center console. The pilot was able to land the plane safely at Logan International Airport, and the hijacker was arrested immediately. On November 1, 1970, DiVivo hanged himself while awaiting trial at Charles Street Jail.
• November, 1971: Charles Hill, Ralph Lawernce, and Albert Finney were driving a carload of weapons to Louisiana as part of the Republic of New Afrika militant group. They murdered New Mexico State Police officer Robert Rosenbloom during a traffic stop and escaped to Albuquerque where they hijacked a TWA 727 to Cuba.
• November 24, 1971: A man who became known as D. B. Cooper hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305, a Boeing 727-100 aircraft flying from Portland, OR, to Seattle, WA, received US$200,000 in ransom, and parachuted from the plane. The actual name of the hijacker remains unknown. The hijacker revealed what appeared to be a bomb to a flight attendant and demanded the ransom and parachutes. The flight landed in Seattle, and FBI agents provided the ransom money and parachutes. Cooper then released all passengers and one flight attendant. After refueling, the aircraft took off again and flew toward Reno, NV. Cooper opened the aft stairs and jumped from the plane with a parachute during a heavy rainstorm. The aircraft was forced to land with the aft stairs deployed. The FBI believes Cooper most likely did not survive, but the case remains unsolved.
• January 12, 1972: Braniff Flight 38, a Boeing 727, was hijacked as it departed Houston, Texas bound for Dallas, Texas. The lone armed hijacker, Billy Gene Hurst, Jr., allowed all 94 passengers to deplane after landing at Dallas Love Field but continued to hold the 7 crewmembers hostage, demanding to fly to South America and asking for US $2 million, parachutes, and jungle survival gear, amongst other items. After a 6-hour standoff, the entire crew secretly fled while Hurst was distracted examining the contents of a package delivered by Dallas police. Police officers stormed the craft shortly afterwards and arrested Hurst without serious incident.
• January 28, 1972: TWA Flight 2, Los Angeles to New York, was hijacked by con man and bank robber Garrett Trapnell while over Chicago. Trapnell demanded $306,800 in cash (to recoup the loss of a recent court case), the release of Angela Davis (as well as that of a friend of his who was also imprisoned), and clemency from President Richard Nixon. The FBI was able to retake the aircraft during a crew switch at Kennedy Airport; Trapnell was shot and wounded, no one else was hurt. Trapnell's hijacking came after a string of domestic incidents and resulted in an overhaul of flight procedures by the Nixon Administration, procedures that remained in place until the September 11, 2001 hijackings. Trapnell and unrelated hijacker Martin J. McNally (see June 23, 1972 below) attempted to escape Marion federal prison on May 24, 1978, after Trapnell's girlfriend Barbara Ann Oswald hijacked a helicopter and ordered it to Marion but that hijacking ended when the pilot grabbed the woman's gun and killed Oswald. On December 21, 1978 Oswald's 17-year-old daughter Robin Oswald hijacked TWA Flight 541 in another attempt to rescue Trapnell. She surrendered after 10 hours of negotiations at the airport in Marion.
• June 3, 1972: Western Airlines Flight 701 from Los Angeles to Seattle was hijacked by Black Panthers Willie Roger Holder, a black Vietnam veteran, and Catherine Marie Kerkow. The hijackers claimed they had a bomb in an attache case and demanded $500,000. After allowing all 97 passengers to get off in San Francisco, they flew to Algeria where they were granted political asylum. The Algerian government confiscated and returned $488,000 of the ransom money to US officials.
• June 23, 1972: In the 9th copycat D.B. Cooper-style hijacking Martin J. McNally under the pseudonym of Robert W. Wilson hijacked St. Louis-Tulsa American Airlines Flight 119 on a Boeing 727 and demands $502,500. The plane flew back and forth between Tulsa and St. Louis while the loot was raised. While at St. Louis Lambert Airport a man after seeing the television news coverage of the case crashed at 80 mph through the airport fence into the plane struts in a Cadillac convertible. The hijacker transferred to a new 727 and jumped out of the plane over Indiana. The full loot bag and gun was discovered by searchers near Peru, Indiana. Fingerprints led to McNally. While in Marion Federal Prison McNally and fellow inmate and hijacker Garrett Trapnell (see January 28, 1972 above) on May 24, 1978 were involved in an attempted prison escape after Trapnell's girlfriend hijacked a helicopter. The escape attempt ended when the helicopter pilot grabbed the woman's gun and killed her. McNally was paroled from prison January 27, 2010.
• July 31, 1972: Delta Air Lines Flight 841 was hijacked by five members of the Black Liberation Army including the elusive George Wright. The flight was originally from Detroit to Miami. The hijackers exchanged the passengers for $1 million in Miami and forced the plane to fly to Boston, then Algeria who returned the plane and cash but released the hijackers.
• November 10, 1972: Southern Airways Flight 49, was hijacked by three men and flown to multiple locations in the United States, and one Canadian city. At one point, the hijackers threatened to fly the plane into the nuclear reactor at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, if their demands for $10 million in cash were not met. While stopped for refueling at McCoy Air Force Base, Orlando, the FBI shot out the plane's tires, prompting the hijackers to force pilot William Haas to take off. The hijacking came to an end when the plane landed on a partially foam-covered runway in Havana, Cuba, and the hijackers were captured after attempting to escape.
• September 10, 1976: TWA Flight 355 was hijacked by Croatian separatists. Some passengers were allowed to deplane in Canada before the hijackers continued on to Iceland, then France, where they released the remaining passengers and surrendered to authorities. One New York police officer was killed while working on a bomb which the hijackers had planted at Grand Central Station.
• December 4, 1977: Suspected lone member of Japanese Red Army hijacked Malaysia Airlines Flight 653. The Boeing 737 then crashed, killing all on board after he shot both pilots and himself. 100 people died.
• March 13, 1978: United Flight 696 was hijacked by a lone American immediately after takeoff out of KSFO. The aircraft landed in Oakland and the release of cabin crew and passengers was negotiated by the flight crew. The fueling was cut short by the hijacker and Flt 696 took off only partially refueled. Flight 696 landed in Denver to take on more fuel for Cuba. While waiting for the fuel, the cockpit crew jumped from the cockpit to escape the hijacker. The hijacker surrendered to the FBI within minutes of the crews escape. No fatalities but the three cockpit crew-members suffered fractures and torn cartilage from the unassisted 2 story leap.
• December 21, 1978: 17-year-old Robin Oswald hijacked TWA Flight 541 flying from Louisville to Kansas City claiming she had three sticks of dynamite. The plane landed at Williamson County Regional Airport where she hoped to seek the release of Garrett Trapnell who was serving time at Marion Federal Penitentiary. Trapnell was serving time for a January 28, 1972 hijacking (see January 28, 1972 above). On May 24, 1978 her mother Barbara Ann Oswald was killed after hijacking a helicopter in an attempt to rescue Trapnell. Robin eventually surrendered at the Williamson Airport. The dynamite was revealed to be flares.
• 1985: Lebanese Shi'a Amal hijackers divert TWA Flight 847 from Athens to Beirut with 153 people on board. The stand-off ends after Israel frees 31 Lebanese prisoners. Among the passengers was famous Greek singer Demis Roussos. US Navy diver Robert Stethem is tortured and murdered.
• 1986: 22 people are killed when Pakistani security forces storm Pan Am Flight 73 at Karachi, carrying 400 passengers and crew after a 16-hour siege.
• 1994: FedEx Flight 705 hijacked by disgruntled employee Auburn Calloway as it left Memphis, Tennessee, with the intention of using it as a cruise missile against FedEx HQ. He was subdued by the flight crew before an emergency landing back at Memphis.
• 2001: American Airlines flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77, United Airlines Flight 93, were hijacked on the morning of September 11 by Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic extremists. Two planes were deliberately crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, one was crashed into the Pentagon and one crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Both towers of The World Trade Center collapsed; in total 2,976 victims and 19 hijackers were killed and over 6000 people were injured. The hijacking leads to The war on Afghanistan
You can't plan fore everything, but we were doing a good job prior to 9/11. We were exposed by measures other than our airport security, and we paid. However, our security had tightened up considerably since the 1970s.