Saturday, August 26, 2006

Airport Security 1 : Reenie 0

The bounce has definitely gone out of my bungee...

3 D's - Defeated, Disgusted, Disastrous. That sums up how I feel about the time spent dealing with airport security at Gatwick and Marseille. It all seems so pointless. I'm actually starting to think, "if I was a terrorist, what could I do to get myself past security?"

On Tuesday morning, I left the apartment bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for my French ad-ven-tooor (pretend I have a really sexy French accent). I had read up on airport security and knew what to expect. I hate checking in. I never check in on European breaks. I had stuffed 4 days worth of clothing and undies, a mini towel, no toiletries, my swimwear, a sarong, chargers, and jandals into a laptop bag fitting the required dimensions of 35cm x 45cm x 16cm. At the counter, the lines for easyJet were insanely long, and everyone was required to prove the size of their carry-on by shoving it inside a wooden box. If it didn't fit, it had to be checked in. No problems there.

What I didn't count on, was my handbag counting as an extra bag. Only one carry-on per passenger, and that includes handbags *sigh* So, with lots of shoving, I managed to add my three-inch thick France Lonely Planet, Nintendo DS, camera, mobile, travel documents, two wallets and sunnies into the laptop bag as well. You can't carry anything in your pockets. Everything has to be in the ONE BAG. Even though everything gets scanned the same way. I don't really see what the one bag rule is trying to accomplish here. If anything, lines are longer, security chews up more time, and the end result is the same.

I don't get it. There was a security man shouting, "No lipsticks! No cosmetics!" What exactly are women terrorists going to do? Threaten the captain with a makeover? Or a la James Bond style, apply lethal lipstick and give the captain a seductive kiss of death? Once through security, you can purchase anything you want. Cosmetics, toothpaste, water, anything, and take it onto the plane with you (except if you're flying to the US - sucks to be American).

Coming home today, was even more insane. At Marseille, I thought it would be breezy. WRONG. It's even worse than Gatwick. At security, I was pulled over for having shampoo, toothpaste, bottle of water, sunscreen and moisturising cream. Things I would have gladly tossed to get through. BUT, I had also bought an EU$8 100ml bottle of cassis, blackcurrant liquor, from Nice. I couldn't bear to see it go to waste, so had to go back out and check in my luggage. To cheer myself up, I was going to get some more alkyhol from duty free. BUT, because I was flying to Rondon, I wasn't allowed to! That's right, I couldn't buy any duty free alcohol even though I was past security! What on earth? And just to make sure, my bag was checked AGAIN before I was allowed to board the plane! Talk about French overkill. The flight was of course delayed.

And let's not even delve into how I had to wait aboard the plane for 40 minutes before someone bothered to bring the steps and let us out when we arrived... Did I mention I barely made the last train out from Gatwick at 135am?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I was still living in Europe, travelling was easier. Maybe it has something to do with the terrorist they captured in UK? :-)