Monday, November 27, 2006


I know I talk about airport security a fair bit, but it really affects me. I really enjoy travelling, but airports are becoming a horrendous ordeal. As a traveller, all I want to do is get on the plane, but it's soo hard these days. If you're a light traveller, you were basically punished, because you were forced to check in luggage unless you intended to buy toothpaste at every destination. I just gave up and chewed gum :P

These days, you're allowed to bring on a little plastic baggie of liquids. All liquids must be in 100ml (max) containers. You'd think this would make life easier. It didn't. I happen to be lucky enough to be travelling when the rule first came in. I thought I was well prepared. I didn't even have any luggage. Just a handbag with a spare tshirt. I had my boarding pass pre-printed out. All that was required, was for me to turn up and get through the security check. The new liquid allowance rule, made lines for security 50 times longer. The line started from the security gate, cut through the concourse, went outside the airport, went through a marquee (setup for "passenger comfort"), looped back along the airport outside wall, and back into the airport again.
Outside Heathrow Terminal 4:

Why? Because now every single 100ml bottle of shampoo, toothpaste, whatever, was getting closely scrutinised by security guards.

This isn't the insanity part. The insanity part comes in when the public turns vicious and starts throwing people off flights. Granted, this happened in the US, but it woudn't suprise me if it started to happen here. Six Muslim men, who looked of Middle-Eastern descent, were escorted off a plane for praying. Ffs!!! Passengers became paranoid about the men speaking in Arabic. One passed a note to a flight attendant. It's not the first time something like this has happened. It's just the latest. The worst case I came across is the story of Raed Jarrar, who got pulled aside for wearing a shirt with Arabic script on the front. He wasn't allowed on the flight until he changed his shirt. Where are his rights as a human being?

It makes me wonder, what is the point of airport security? You go through metal detectors. Your baggage gets restricted and scrutinised. There's a war on liquids. Everytime I pass a checkpoint, I get felt up by the security lady. Seriously, I haven't been felt up like this in a long time. My bra gets lifted. My ankles get rubbed. My crotch was patted down. To what end? All it does is scare passengers even more. The approach taken by airport security is that something bad will happen to you. A bomb will go off. It's just a question of when. Whatever rules are in place, aren't preventative, they're just fear inducing. Why wouldn't a suicide terrorist just check in luggage these days instead of building one onboard? To my knowledge checked in luggage doesn't get scanned.

To me, what makes it worse, is the complete lack of care
by airport security staff regarding how frustrated passengers feel. What I overheard was along the lines of, "I don't care if you don't listen to me. I'm not the one that's going to miss a flight. It doesn't affect me." Why wouldn't me and the 1000s of other passengers feel more pissed off at this attitude?

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