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.

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