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Anonymous28 Mar 2011
I went through terminal 3 this morning and was very close to being involved in what could have been a nasty situation.
I left my shoes on, the bleeper went off when as I went through the metal detector and I automatically stepped aside for a pat down, after removing my shoes. I have absolutely no problem with this, except, for the second time in 2 weeks, I felt that the hand search was a little too intrusive. When this happened the first time, I ignored it as “an accident” but for the second time in two weeks the security guard who searched me put his hand full on my penis. I made a split second decision not to ask for a supervisor as I know from reading about previous incidents of this nature; this would have caused more than a few words with a supervisor.
I have no problem with any form of security checks, scanners, pat downs, bag searches etc, but I do have major issues with these sorts of pat downs.
Has anyone else experienced this and wondered how one approaches these situations without causing a scene.28 Mar 2011
MartynSinclair. I can sympathise, the problem with security is that you appear to have no rights and even begining a discussion is risky. Like you have no issue with secuiryt but I do not like the pat down either and find it intrusive. Moreover I have never had a pat down anywhere else that is like this, it is unique in my experience to Heathrow and typical of their arrogant attitude to cusotomers. A strongly worded letter of complaint is required.
I went through LHR and GLA over the weekend and as well as removing my belt and shoes (without being asked) now my watch, which I part with very reluctantly. It does not stop the radom searchs but at least is stops the machine going off as a result of detecting metal.28 Mar 2011
The only time this ever happened to me was at Bucharest Otopeni in the early 90s, when you had to go through security when arriving at OTP (i.e. when getting off the bus from the plane). The security guy was very blatant and asked, with a grin on his face, “Pistol?” I thought the best course of action was to look straight ahead with absolutely no reaction and say nothing, rather than smash his bloody face in, which was my natural reaction.
A “woman” who looked like a member of a Eastern Bloc Women’s Shot Putting Team proceeded then to blatantly grope my wife. Again, nothing was said as these folks had AK47s and it was Romania, immediately post-Ceaucescu.
I can’t say that anything as bad as that has happened anywhere since. I have had a couple of fairly intense inside leg checking experiences once or twice and have got away with asking “Was that good for you too?”
The weirdest security I went through recently was at Valencia, where the table you unpacked your laptop etc and collected the tray was physically separated from the Xray machine by a glass screen. This meant that you collected the tray, put your stuff in it and then had to carry it about 10 metres, wait with it in your arms until the scanner was clear, and then place it on the rollers. Very odd…
Simon28 Mar 2011
Can’t say I have had the same problem as Martyn, although I would never doubt that it happens, probably more often than it is known to.
I was coming through Brussels some years ago and set of the alarm to be greeted by a friendly young lady who said I had to “wait for a man”. After waiting a minute or so, I said that it really was not a problem for me if she did it, she smiled and said “I like to, but I get sack if I did”28 Mar 2011
You are joining Diana Ross with the “Touch Me In The Morning”!
But if you were wearing a CK (not VK!) branded undies then you could have been better “protected”!
Grope-free travel for the future!28 Mar 2011
Marty – this has just happened to me 2 weeks ago in Philadelphia. I went through one of the new body scanners and, on exiting, was told sharply to
‘wait there’……no more was said until after 2-3 minutes I asked if I could collect my stuff from the X-ray belt. The answer was “No, I said wait there sir” (now in raised tones). Then someone pointed right at me (security) and asked, “Is that him?”……After which I was taken into a side room (no explanation offered)…At this point I asked politely but firmly, for an explanation & was told that the machine had detected something “unusual in your groin area” “We need to search you”
I remained fully clothed but the search was, at best, intrusive & embarrassing, my genitals & buttocks were handled very directly (albeit in the presence of another security chap) and I have to say that I found this to be completely over the top. Like you Marty, I did not say anything negative because, as we all know, there would only be one winner and one loser. Needless to say, nothing was found & I was allowed on my way slightly less happy than I was when I arrived.28 Mar 2011
I passed a body scanner at Honolulu airport late last night and thankfully I had removed all my metallic gears from my private parts, otherwise I am sure I would have met with the same fate as you!28 Mar 2011
Seasonedtraveller’s post reminds me of a wonderful scene in the excellent movie “This is Spinal Tap.”
The bass player (played by Harry Shearer) goes through a scanner at an American airport and the alarm goes off. The lady security guard then waves the detector wand across him and becomes increasingly embarrassed as it sounds loudest in his groin area. She asks “Do you have any prosthetic aids, Sir?”
Equally embarrassed, he undoes his fly and removes a large cucumber covered in aluminium foil.
Excellent stuff. And somewhat prophetic too.
I should also point out that my wife watched the movie for 20 minutes before she realised it was a spoof. The line that gave it away was Nigel Tuffnell saying “Our first drummer choked on vomit.” Then Derek Smalls says “Yes he did. Somebody else’s.We never did find out whose.”
Simon28 Mar 2011
Feel a new landside clothing outlet springing up, an untapped market, where those who have arrived prematurely could hang out before entering the fast drop zone.
That’s my submission for the most innuendo in a sentence. Look forward to my prize of a year’s supply of VK boxers, as endorsed by Mrs T. Both of them in fact.28 Mar 2011
To Simon Rowberry, yes, there are some people who
wear genital jewelry. I will not go into detail but you can
use your imagination. While I personally find it a bit
odd, each to his own, but one thing is for sure – anyone
who chooses to walk through an airport security
scanner wearing a “Prince Albert” or other such penile
ornamentation is going to get a pat-down.7 Apr 2011