The system would grind to a halt if this was not the case.
[Edited after fact checking. I know I've seen a documentary on this, but I can't find any further info at the moment. I've probably also been added to some watch list based on my searches over the last half hour]
I didn't come away with the impression that they'd actually implemented blast-proof though, just that they'd redesigned so that some blasts wouldn't dramatically cause airframe failure.
hell, it might get blown up by a bomb squad, for all i know. i'm not into that.
I've been on international flights where we've been waiting on the tarmac to depart and a flight attendent has announced on the PA system that "we're just waiting to have the bags removed of someone who missed their flight".
Yes, it would be hard to engineer that to happen, so it's not very useful to someone planning to do something nasty with it — but it does mean there can't be a strict no bag without passenger rule.
1. Flying back to SF from the east coast on AA - got to JFK a trifle late and just missed the check-in deadline - mainly because the lady at the counter took an inordinate time and appeared to be flirting with the guy just ahead of us in line - yes I tried to check-in online but that wasn't possible because my outbound flight was on a different airline. Go figure. In any event, we were put on standby for the next flight but didn't get into the flight. I was resigned to take my luggage back and find a place to stay overnight in NYC when the gate attendant informed me that our bags were going with the flight and I could collect them at the SFO AA office ! We finally got back that night to LAX (after not making it through a wait on another flight) and then managed a Southwest flight back to SFO the next morning and sure enough our bags were waiting for us.
2. Last weekend, we were on a SW flight from SAN to SFO. Flight was delayed because of bad weather, and there was an additional delay close to the destination where we were not cleared for descent. By the time we were allowed to land, they had run out of fuel (!!) and landed the plane in SJC. Unbelievably they fueled up and took off and landed in SFO - about 3 hours later. Thankfully they let anyone who wanted to get off at SJC deplane and that's what we did. Gave us the time to get home, pick up my car from SFO, have lunch, etc. and went back to SFO to pick up our bags soon after the flight eventually landed. So in this case too, the flight took off with our bags and without us.