The Times reports this standard being used by the President and Secretary of Homeland Security regarding whether or not to ask that flights be cancelled:
President Bush had one threshold question for Tom Ridge, his secretary for homeland security, as they met at the White House situation room on Dec. 22. "Would you let your son or daughter fly on that plane?" he asked Mr. Ridge, according to a senior administration official privy to the conversation..
"Absolutely not," the secretary responded. "Well," Mr. Bush said, "neither would I."
Hard to ask more than that.
Two other points. It is suggested here that one of the British flights is cancelled, not at our request, but because the British pilots will not fly with armed sky marshalls. Yesterday on Fox Brian Wilson, sitting in for Brit Hume on Special Report, interviewed a representative from an organization called the Airline Pilots Security Alliance, and asked him about this hesitance on the part of the British pilots. His response? "They didn't lose anyone on 9/11. If they had they'd probably be carrying Walther PPKs."
Second, the French, note, have not only been cooperative, but their representatives have refused so far to take the bait in press interviews. No griping, no willingness to go along with the press' game of suddenly criticizing the administration in the opposite direction from what they had been doing ("why didn't you connect the dots" regarding 9/11, "did you really have sufficient evidence to justify going to the trouble of cancelling flights" in this situation.) The Mexicans, on the other hand, who you would think are put to less trouble since the flights are not transatlantic, are complaining up a storm, on the record, and full steam.