Inappropriate security procedures

Back to Forum
Viewing 10 posts - 16 through 25 (of 25 total)

  • ASK1945

    I travelled through both Aldergrove and Belfast City airports several times during the time of “The Troubles”.

    Those who experienced going through Belfast City then will recall that there was security on the way into the airport, then again from checkin into the Departure Lounge.

    On one occasion I had quite forgotten that I was wearing a pager on my belt, and made it into the Departure Lounge without any hindrance. Realising that there may be a problem, I approached one of the security personnel and asked to speak to a supervisor – who duly arrived. I explained what had happened. He took me aside and asked me to keep my experience very quiet. He explained that none of the security “arches” were working and rather than cancel all flights or institute full body searches for everyone, they were just going through the motions of personal inspection, and doing body searches randomly.


    I live in Winnipeg and at YWG the security folks seem to be constantly training newcomers. This, presumably because the job is so boring the turnover is high. Watching a fourth-day recruit staring at the screen for a full 45 seconds per bag is most tiring.

    That said, the level of security around the world is quite remarkable. In Europe, in general, I find the security officials professional; in the USA they seem all to be cheap. There is also a vast difference between the passenger retrieval systems after the inspection, and in general I see that investment in these clears bottlenecks and speeds up the process considerably.

    Finally, of course, inconsistency is part of the security process; consistency is the Bad Guys’ friend.


    Finally, of course, inconsistency is part of the security process; consistency is the Bad Guys’ friend

    Firstly welcome to the forum WinnipegMax, is this your 2nd or 3rd post?
    You’ve made a very valid point, it’s also dependent of the technology available as well as the effectiveness of the emerging technology

    Back to the OP’s point of intrusiveness , I remember transiting Schiphol from YVR, with my Dad and being taken strip searched before boarding a flight to LHR . Can’t remember the specific year, (70’s) but I could only have been about 12. Understandable due to the threat level and the limited technology available at the time.

    And airports seem to be learning all the time. EDI used to be a total nightmare , yet have learned and are probably now the most consistently efficient , pleasant security experience I endure


    He explained that none of the security “arches” were working

    Reminds me of going through ‘security’ in the 80s at Blantyre. There was no electricity at the airport. I was made to put my bag on the belt to pass through the x-ray tunnel. When I asked why, the operator said :
    “So we can see if there is a bomb in it.”
    My case was then pushed through the tunnel with a long stick and handed back to me on the other side with a nod.

    I sometimes wonder if modern ‘security’ is no less farcical than that.


    I sometimes wonder if modern ‘security’ is no less farcical than that

    A couple of years ago a lot of us went across to Ireland see a Proclaimers concert in Ennis.
    Flew into Shannon and left from Galway. Best ever security experience EVER !!

    A few of us stayed airside , making the most of the quickly disappearing Irish Guinness time..
    My mates , panicking announced we’d better make a move through security to the gate.
    Overlooking an empty apron , I told them not to panic, the inbound plane hadn’t even arrived yet 20 minutes later our wee Aer Arran touch downed and we proceeded the 20 yards to the passport and security control area !!!

    The security operative could have been Anthony Joshua’s twin.

    My pal struggling to get his shoes back on was then at the receiving end of his comedic tongue….
    In the broadest Irish accent and the biggest smile …. “ C’mon Robert, you can do better than that….. My flustered and now confused pal turned to us and loudly exclaimed……
    ”How the **** does he know my name ? “

    Now all airside, and waiting to board. the smokers in our group to a man disappeared.. They reappeared through an emergency exit fire door. Just intime to board the aircraft.
    Where did you lot get to , I enquired . “Oh we asked him, where we could go for a smoke , he let us out into the carpark for a quick fag !! “



    At Monrovia airport, the x-ray and security gate are often not working. So check-in and carry on bags are manually searched, and passengers are patted down…usually twice (once when entering departures and again at the gate).

    The queue for hand luggage inspection last time was understandably slow – you would rather they did it properly. But it would have meant around 15 minutes in a queue in a very hot and humid gate area, with people jostling for position in the queue. So I just asked the gate attendant whether the search also included diplomatic passengers. Without checking my passport or credentials (or bag), he immediately waved me past the queue and on to the plane. I think I may have found a flaw in their ring of steel.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Once through CPH I was pulled over for secondary search. I was asked if my pockets were empty and when I checked there was the tiniest scrap of paper in my trouser pocket. The security guy looked at me like I was a complete moron, pointed at a sign and said “can’t you read”.

    I asked for his manager immediately and complained.

    Security staff righly expect to be treated with respect, but it seems an increasing number think that it’s a one way thing.

    I didn’t get an apology but at least I had the pleasure of seeing the security guy look very uncomfortable while I gave his manager feedback!


    As someone who has been long distance flying for over 50 years, to all five continents, I have experienced different levels of courtesy going through airport security in dozens of airports – but never downright rudeness sufficient to make me angry or to complain.

    The toughest security is at TLV Ben-Gurion, through which I travel 3 or 4 times a year – they are invariably firm, thorough but polite. Obviously we are well accustomed to what must be removed from bags (eg electronics) and what cannot be carried in our clothes.

    However, my wife and I experienced downright rudeness earlier this week at Tenerife South (TFS), when returning to LGW (BA Business Class). We have done the same many times previously, without any cause for complaint. This time, we were the first (and the only ones) going through Fast Track entry into the security area, clearly visible to the security agents as such. We were both singled out -in separate lanes – for the “Full Monty” of search, personal and into the carry-on bags, despite the “arches” not bleeping. They found nothing of any concern. However, our anger was about the way they spoke to us, ordered us around and threatened us. They also argued amongst themselves about what was necessary.

    We resolved to formally complain in writing to TFS when we returned to the UK. However, when we were seated on the plane, ready to go (slightly late), the pilot apologised for the delay, explaining that there were serious delays through security, who seemed to be having a “bad hair day”.

    We have not bothered complaining.


    STN is the worst. Last year we saw 5 out of 6 bags being checked, ours included. The only reason we could think of at the time was the swabbing for drugs.

    On another occasion one of our bags was singled out. We were asked if we had anything electronic in our bag. Neither of us could remember anything. The security chap informed us that if we did not tell him what it was he would have to call the police. As we could not recall anything,we invited him to do so. The guy elected to search the bag without resorting to the constabulary and eventually discovered a round electronic currency conversion calculator that my wife had neatly fitted into the recessed lid of a carton of gravy granules. Fortunately it did not go off.

    Sorry to go off topic, but on another occasion at STN we arrived mid afternoon on an FR flight only to be stopped from entering the Border control area due to the number of arrivals elsewhere at the airport. As the numbers built up behind us , some wag shouted out “everyone back on your planes, the country’s full up”. Two security men appeared shortly afterwards.


    I didn’t get an apology but at least I had the pleasure of seeing the security guy look very uncomfortable while I gave his manager feedback!

    Perhaps you should have said “No, not at that distance, I’m partially blind”, and watched him squirm while you called for the manager…

Viewing 10 posts - 16 through 25 (of 25 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Business Traveller April 2020 edition
Business Traveller April 2020 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below