Missed flight due to ridiculous security queue

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  capetonianm 25 Sep 2019
at 10:25

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  • HALI

    We, a family of 5, arrived at Beirut airport 3 hours prior to departure, for a connecting flight to the UK.

    When we arrived in the departures terminal, the queue for both east and west security check-in was so chaotic. It took us 3 hours just to clear the security check point, which was PRIOR to the check-in area.

    Upon arriving at check-in, we were told that check-in had been closed and that we had essentially missed our flight.

    There was no communication to us on behalf of the airline, stating that the queue would be that long and we arrived within the guidelines for an international flight, 3 hours prior.

    There were many other people across various flights who had also missed it.

    Would the travel company refund me in this instance? Or is it an airport issue that they will compensate me for?


    The airline will definitely NOT reimburse you for anything since this is an airport issue and being a frequent traveler to Beirut, you can forget any semblance of a refund from Beirut airport which is easily the worst airport in the Middle East. Even Cairo and Riyadh airports are better. Security officers in Beirut airport use prehistoric computers which often break down, they are the slowest security personnel in the world and even still use pens and papers.


    3 hours to clear security… Couldn’t imagine…


    I once witnessed something similar at CDG Terminal 1. Fortunately I was early and just made my flight, which left on schedule half empty due all the no-shows stuck in the queue….

    There was just one security lane for two wide-bodied aircraft and around 10 regional flights, with an over zealous guy in charge, meaning each passenger took around 3 minutes to be processed.


    Sounds like LAX early am on a bad day..


    Hah – LAX!! That brought back a memory.

    Some time ago, a while after 9/11, I was on a business trip to Huntington Beach. On my return to HK, obviously through LAX as the nearest international airport with direct flights, I rocked up to the appropriate terminal with, I thought, plenty of time to spare. Far more than I usually allow, and probably (although I wouldn’t swear to this) more than three hours in advance. I was met by a scene from bedlam. People were queuing to get into the terminal building.

    Actually, that’s not quite true. There was no queue. There was just a mass of people trying to get in. No semblance of queueing, just a horde.

    The interior of the terminal was worse. It wasn’t that they were trying to restrict people getting in, there just wasn’t room for them inside. Had the Fire Department seen this and looked at the approved capacity for the building I can only think that things would have become worse. If that was possible.

    Fortunately, and given the crowd I am really not sure how she did this, a CX ground staff member spotted me and identified me (I can only think that this was due to the FF tags on my luggage but again, I am at a loss to work out how this occurred given the crowd), came out and rescued me and managed to get me into the terminal building, and got me to the F check-in counter (where I had to queue for some time due to the reasons set out below). It turned out that the authorities, in their infinite wisdom, had decided that every bag had to be X-rayed before check-in; and that the procedure they would follow for this was as follows:
    * Passenger would queue up to get to the check-in desk, as per usual
    * At the check-in desk, a security employee would (after the check-in process had started and it was confirmed that the bag would be accepted by the airline for check-in) take the bag to the X-ray station together with the pax in question
    * Said staff member and passenger would queue and wait for the bag to be X-rayed and cleared (it was made very clear to me that if I even touched the bag during this process, we would start again, btw)
    * After X-ray, we would go back to the check-in desk
    * Check-in would be completed

    This might have worked with enough security staff, enough X-ray machines, and no queues. It took a lot more than two hours. We were then met with a vast queue for the normal security-for-hand-luggage queue, populated with hugely pissed-off pax and (understandably) hugely put-upon security staff whose patience had (also understandably) been exhausted by the complaints. Flights were all delayed, which was the only saving grace from the whole affair since I did actualy get on the flight.

    I have seen some extraordinarily bad airports in my time, some incredible acts of bureaucratic inefficiency and obstruction, and yet – that experience was up there with all the greats…


    Not my experience of LAX on Saturday 14 September. A very quick check-in (on Air NZ, at Terminal B) and 20 minutes to clear security. OK, shoes off, everything out of pockets – but a perfectly reasonable performance.


    Hi Hali,
    I experienced a similar situation in GVA. On a Friday evening, flying to FCO I arrived just one hour before taking off (my fault!), checked-in and went up the stairs…and I saw such a long queue…never seen like that in GVA!
    I asked a security guy (at the back of the queue) how long it was going to take and he replied ‘about an hour’ (priority was being rebuilt, so no alternative): I had only 45 minutes left and once seen the faces around me I didn’t dare to ask for letting me pass in front. I just went to my car, my house, my wife!

    Tamarind Walk

    I also had a horrid experience at LAX. I was proceeding through the security line and rather rushed as it was a long line. I forgot to remove my laptop from my hand carry luggage. The “officer” handling the inspections started shouting at me as I went through the body scanner. I tried to apologize and he just carried on. So, I told him it was an honest mistake in a firm tone and he said that if I didn’t keep quiet, he would turn me over to the FBI. I looked at him and said “go ahead, but I will drag you in with me”.
    With that, he started to back off and behave like a human being and I finished up my screening without further incident.

    I have no issues with security screening. We need it to insure our safety. But there is no need for TSA hired “rent-a-cops” to act like goons and bullies. And it seems that the United States, in particular, has more than its share of these types. I have encountered scenes at SFO and JFK hat only further exemplified the lack of professionalism of these screeners. In fact I would say that U.S. TSA types are out of hand. I also feel there are too few screeners and two few screening machines.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    The worst bullying security I’ve seen has been in the UK, but in fairness, I have travelled very little to/from and within the USA.

    The worst UK example was a huge brute of a man at Luton yelling at a toddler who was holding a small and almost empty bottle of fizzy drink as he went through the security arch. As the family were Polish, they didn’t understand what the man was saying, and he then viciously snatched the bottle out of the terrified child’s hand.

    When I said to him calmly and politely that he didn’t need to be so aggressive, I got the ‘abuse’ speech followed by : ‘I can make you miss your flight’. I suggested he tried to do so, as I went off to find the supervisor and make a formal written report.

    99% of security staff do their job without being unpleasant. Most of them are polite and pleasant if one is civil to them, so the odd ‘bad egg’ stands out.

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