AIRPORT MADNESS: SECURITY OR INSANITY?15/11/2009 Written by Roberto Preatoni
Today, I was flying from London Gatwick to Milan Malpensa with my girlfriend and our two kids and I witnessed the maddest airport security procedures ever.
You certainly remember, a few years ago the incident at the Heathrow airport, those presumed terrorists carrying liquid bombs and threatening sacred Queen’s airspace.
The trial of the three suspected ended with several shadows. Nevertheless since then we cannot carry anymore liquids, creams, deodorants in volume larger than 100ml. As if 100ml of nitroglycerine would’t be enoug to blow a plane anyway.
Since that time, we have been taught to stay countless minutes in line to attend careful x-raying, absolutely pointless as there are both special materials and clothes that can securely conceal a weapon from a traditional metal detector.
We are often asked to “switch on the laptop” to see if it’s a real laptop, as if it was impossible to use half of the battery space to conceal explosive, still having the laptop powering on and working. The ignorancy of the people at the airport cheks it’s humongus, I have been asked once to power on my laptop and to open up an excel file that was on my desktop. As humongous it’s often their arrogancy, usually they are underpaid private guards who find their 5 minutes of glory and power by harrasing and treating us as criminals.
We have been taught to stand those airport security people’s faces, screaming at you and staring at you with an evil eye whenever you forgot to take away the nail-clipper from your purse. Yes, nail-clippers, terrorists’ most favorite hijacking tool. It’s just plain ridiculous.
Today I had to stay 30 minutes in line before the x-ray checkpoint during which I took everything metallic I had off from myself. No belt, no rings, no watch, no coins, no wallet, NO FUCKING NOTHING.
Still, the metal detector alarm bell rang. What is the point in having you stripped almost naked, if the alarm is set to ring anyway? Something done just to allow the fat man wearing the “airport security” uniform squeeze and carefully touch my nuts?
Hey dude, what’s your job? “I am squeezing nuts at pissed off airline passengers”. Hilarious, this is the new way our today’s politicians ensure jobs to jobless people.
High heels madam? The man before the x-ray machine asked to my girlfriend to remove her leather boots.
Not happy, the person at the x-ray screening machine decided he didn’t like my elder kid’s bag and decided to have his Nintendo DS screened for explosive sampling. At that time, the “FLIGHT CLOSING” sign was already flashing on the departure screen beside our flight number.
Finally we finalized our x-ray, nut squeezing, bomb checking scrutiny procedures and we attempted to rush toward our gate … but no sirs.
“Please madame, take off your boots, we have to run a random shoes check” a short man told to my girlfriend. “Again?!?, I just managed to put them on after the check you did 5 meters before…” she attempted to argue. No way, she was forced to take the boots off again… while the “FLIGHT CLOSING” light kept flashing.
We eventually managed to arrive at our closing gate where we witnessed an incredible scene at the nearby gate. A young couple was arguing with the people at their gate, the man was mad, the girl was in full tears.
The whole thing was because the gate crew refused to allow the couple on the plane as the man had a broken wrist, wrapped with gypsum. At a certain point, when it was clear they would not have managed to get onboard, the man attempted to smash the gypsum against the boarding desk to set his broken wrist free and show he wasn’t concealing anything, with no luck. They have been labeled as “potential threat” and denied the flight. Despite the strong airport security rules, I managed to shoot a picture at the poor guy knowing perfectly that I could be yelled by the airport workers, same as it happened the last time I wanted to take a picture in the London Victoria station. A bunch of policemen surrounded me and started to give me a 3rd degree.
I am now writing this article on board of my flight, still on the ground. The flight is late as many passengers couldn’t make it in time and they are now disembarking the luggage of those who were late due to the crazy security checks.
What is even funnier, is that they post all over the checkpoints at the airport that you cannot scream and get mad to the security staff as they also have the right for their own security and you could be “prosecuted, fined and denied the flight” BUT… your cannot squeeze their nuts. Life is unfair…
And the price for this nice treatment is topped to our ticket’s price.
Excuse me, but there are limits which you cannot trespass. Security never means insanity.