Bit of an off-topic one link for today, but I wanted to highlight “The Airport Security Follies”, a great blog post by Patrick Smith over on the New York Times blog site.
As a frequent flier I probably find myself subjected to airport security once or twice a week. Patrick riffs on a number of the hypocrisies that I’ve mulled over myself whilst waiting in line to empty my carry-on of it’s two laptops, take off my belt, empty my pockets, take off my jacket/hoodie, take off my shoes – usually 5-6 trays worth of stuff, urghh.
Here’s just two of the many thought provoking points Patrick makes in his piece:
“The three-ounce container rule is silly enough — after all, what’s to stop somebody from carrying several small bottles each full of the same substance — but consider for a moment the hypocrisy of T.S.A.’s confiscation policy. At every concourse checkpoint you’ll see a bin or barrel brimming with contraband containers taken from passengers for having exceeded the volume limit. Now, the assumption has to be that the materials in those containers are potentially hazardous. If not, why were they seized in the first place? But if so, why are they dumped unceremoniously into the trash? They are not quarantined or handed over to the bomb squad; they are simply thrown away. The agency seems to be saying that it knows these things are harmless. But it’s going to steal them anyway, and either you accept it or you don’t fly.”
“But of all the contradictions and self-defeating measures T.S.A. has come up with, possibly none is more blatantly ludicrous than the policy decreeing that pilots and flight attendants undergo the same x-ray and metal detector screening as passengers. What makes it ludicrous is that tens of thousands of other airport workers, from baggage loaders and fuelers to cabin cleaners and maintenance personnel, are subject only to occasional random screenings when they come to work.”
It gets funnier. A friend of mine is a 747 pilot. He was stopped from taking on board a pen knife on board a flight he was flying.
The funny thing was if he really wanted to do in his co-pilot he would probably have used the emergency fire axe which sits in the cock pit!
Not to mention the security holes in many airports, such as Heathrow, were no later than last week I crossed the “customs” in reverse way to get my my bag!
What’s stopping someone from walking into the always overcrowded check-in hall at any big airport in the world and blow himself up?
If we are so big on security then everyone should be screened before entering any part of the airport.
It seems like every country has different rules for how much liquid you are allowed to take on board. In Germany you are allowed to take one litre on board but it all has to fit into a bag sized 22cm by 16cm. Which is impossible even though all my bottles are now miniature travel size. I am also not allowed to bring my own plastic bag, no, it has to be an airport authorised bag for which I have to pay.
[…] Scott wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptAs a frequent flier I probably find myself subjected to airport security once or twice a week. Patrick riffs on a number of the hypocrisies that I’ve mulled over myself whilst waiting in line to empty my carry-on of it’s two laptops, … […]
If only there were a definition of hazardous materials. This morning I had three small unopened tins of baked beans and a new unopened jar of marmite confiscated from my hand luggage at BHX on the way to Germany (neither of which I considered to be liquid). You love it or you hate it…but is it really hazardous?
My marmite was taken at Stansted. It would be nice if the authorities added marmite to the list of prohibited items. What about honey- is that liquid or solid?
Mind you I dont see how Osama bin Laden expects us to love him and his ideas when all he does is cause trouble.
you are a really good writer
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