It’s taken nearly ten years of increasingly stupid and counter-productive security theatre to get big voices to notice, but I’m glad that someone has spoken out against some of the more stupid aspects of airport security.
The chairman of British Airways has said some “completely redundant” airport security checks should be scrapped and the UK should stop “kowtowing” to US security demands.
Practices such as forcing passengers to take off their shoes should be abandoned, Martin Broughton said.
And he questioned why laptop computers needed to be screened separately.
He also criticised the US for imposing increased checks on US-bound flights but not on its own domestic services.
“America does not do internally a lot of the things they demand that we do,” he said. “We shouldn’t stand for that.”
It’s that last bit that really gets me; considering that the 9/11 attacks were all carried out on domestic flights why isn’t domestic security stricter than international security? Because US voters wouldn’t put up with some of the measures, and because some of the measures are entirely impractical unless you can get border security threats to get people to comply. But if the authorities are happy enough to let domestic passengers away with it, clearly international passengers shouldn’t have to put up with it either. And international passengers not even flying to the States should certainly not have to put up with it.
In this regard, I point to the UK and say: you’re doing it wrong. There is absolutely no need for the UK to be seemingly(1) as strict as it is on every one of its domestic and international flights. It’s just theatre, and it’s getting to the point where even people like me, who love nearly everything about flying, have started looking at alternatives where you’re not marched like cattle through degrading and pointless checks.
(1) – ‘seemingly’ because there are constantly cases of people and items slipping through security and people getting walked through security because the systems are there for show not because they’re effective.
Well said. Unlike you, I hate nearly everything about flying – but the security rigmarole is miles out in front on my list. I somehow always feel like a guilty criminal even though my biggest airport-related crime to date has been trying to take a bottle of shampoo on in my hand luggage. One sullen-faced cow at Stansted once took every single item out of my case, shook it out, and left me standing there with a huge pile of creased clothes, an empty case, and no time to repack properly because of the massive queue that had formed behind me. Honestly, I could’ve cried. It makes you feel very vulnerable and exposed when your personal belongings are laid out for all to see, with the big cloud of suspicion forming over your head.
If I could avoid it, I would – but I think that making the journey back to the UK by train would eat up quite a lot of my holiday time.