Security in TransitBack to Forum
Anonymous29 Oct 2009
Let me begin by stating I don’t criticise security, it keeps me safe and that’s just fine. What are confusing though are the rules when in transit.
2 weeks ago using Atlanta from Lhr I had to clear security after customs even though I was not on a connecting flight. That was frustrating as it just delayed my overall arrival to the Hotel.
Returning to Manchester on BA through terminal 5 you have security in flight connections even though you stay in what I assume is a secure area.
This week using Copenhagen to Gdansk no security in transit. So is it country specific?29 Oct 2009
Hi…. This is sometimes airport specific due to layout of airport, this is more the exception than the rule. However, the following normally applies:
Travel within the Schengen area, one security screening even with a transit for international airport is ok. For example, trip goes from Stockholm to Madrid via Frankfurt. As long as passenger does not go landside, the screening in Stockholm is “good enough”.
In the UK, a domestic flight from Manchester to London with an onward international flight will only require the security check in Manchester. However, if the same trip Stockholm to Madrid would connect in the UK (setting aside the T5 to T3 transfer) the passenger would have to screen again as the UK has decided not to participate in the Schengen agreement.
In the US, a trip from Denver to Stockholm via Chicago would not require a second screening unless you leave one terminal for another (e.g. go landside).
There are some “bad” exceptions; Frankfurt none-Schengen can be madness if you actually originate in Frankfurt. FRAPORT is not able to manage the flow of passengers very well, so you may end up being screen twice from check-in to gate on a flight to London for example.
Hope this helps.29 Oct 2009
It seems many airports simply weren’t designed for the volume of passengers or the level of security or the complexity of different passenger flows.
Flying from Singapore to London via Frankfurt last month I was screened twice in Singapore and twice at Frankfurt. The second Frankfurt screening took so long that the plane had to be delayed.
Flying from Paris CDG Terminal 1 there is a security screening at the satellites. So if your flight to Southampton is on the next gate to a US bound 747 expect big delays, because there won’t be enough staff or machines to cope. Then expect to get snarled at by Flybe for being late on to the plane. (Not that upsetting Flybe will ever keep me awake at night.)
More memorably, and going back some years, flying back from Gabon the accepted practice was to simply stroll across the tarmac to the plane, bypassing airport security completely. At the door of the Air France plane security would be carried out by two (French) soldiers, flown out on the aircraft, pointing guns at you. Noone ever objected.29 Oct 2009
The only reason i thought we had to go thru’ security again at a transit airport was to eliminate security risks from flights comming in from obscure places were dodgy people could get even dodgier things on the plane at thier origin.30 Oct 2009
The essence of security is never to stick to a routine as it is a change in routine that catches those relying on what they think is routine!
At arrival in Singapore recently just prior to the APEC meet I was on an incoming flight which was fully screened on arrival. Never happened in Singapore previously. Probably the reason that Singapore was chosen as the venue and the conference went well and safely!
Air travel is the number one target of terrorists.
When you well-wish a friend or colleague a safe flight you no longer mean you hope the plane never crashes ( it rerely does thankfully), nowadays you hope they are never subject to a random and indescriminate terror attack. The only thing that prevents this are the excellent security staff at many airports all over the world that protect millions of passengers on a daily basis routinely as part of their job. All us frequent travellers owe them a sincere thank you for their allertness and handling so many passengers. Business Traveller Magazine please take note.
Can we have an award for them in the annual awards as we owe them a lot.
And passengers please sometimes have a smile and say thank you sometimes for their efforts, it will be appreciated and make them aware we do really think they do a good job!26 Nov 2009
I know what you are referring to in Atlanta. ATL has to be the worst airport in the entire world for international arrivals, their primary goal being to make it as difficult as possible to get out. The airport consists of 6 concourses all linked by an underground train. You can only carry hand luggage on this train which is not a problem when you’re departing because you have already checked in and said goodbye to your suitcase at the main terminal. But the arrivals concourse (E) is the furthest away by train and this is where customs and immigration is located. You are first hit with the longest queues imaginable for passport control (minimum one hour), then you proceed to a belt to collect your luggage and then clear customs. But you are still in concourse E and you need to get to the main terminal. The problem is that they won’t let you on the train with luggage so you have to dump your luggage on a belt (essentially check-in again). And then they won’t let you on the train without going through an x-ray and metal detector airport style security check AGAIN. They don’t care that you’ve just come from an airport in the world that probably has better security than they have. They actually think that you may have a bomb or firearm with you and set it off on their underground train shuttle within the terminal. For this you would have had to carry said explosives or firearms on an international flight to Atlanta to begin with (and I fail to see the logic in that). After your shuttle ride, you are directed to yet another luggage belt to wait for your bag, all over again. It takes only one kind of person to dream up something like this, an IDIOT. Avoid Hartfield-Jackson International Airport like the plague.28 Nov 2009
re Atlanta – its not about security on the train that is the worry – its that you have unfettered access to all the boarding gates for flights leaving Atlanta because of the arrangement of the terminals.
Hence everyone is security screened on the assumption that one could choose to board another flight if you had a boarding pass.
The first time you go through ATL from an international it is incredibly confusing and frustrating. Going through a security check to leave the airport is rather counter-intuitive, and none of the staff present are prepared to go into dialogue to explain why.
However – the basic principle is that if you are in transit (or have access to transit flights in the case of airports like ATL) you must go through (or have gone through at the beginning of your journey) the security checks of the country you are in. So if you are going LAX – ATL – LHR, you don’t need to clear security in ATL, as the LAX security check (pardon the pun) is deemed sufficient.30 Nov 2009
Explain this one then – Flying SYD-LHR on QF via BKK, we were deboarded in BKK so the plane could be cleaned, fueled & generally turned around.
We were screened before departure & entering the secure lounge in SYD and were told prior to landing that “all continuing passengers can leave hand luggage on board”. Yet on walking off the jetway, we were sent down what must have been the better part of 500m of corridor to be rescreened, go up a floor and walk all the way back.
So from a ‘secure area’ in Sydney to a ‘secure plane’. What was the need for rescreening, seeing as we were continuing on the same aircraft and all our handbaggage was already on board?3 Dec 2009
Perhaps all of this is because Aviation has been the main pillar of terrorist attacks for half a century? Terrorist never seems to loose the fascination of targeting aviation. So, if I need to deal with extra security I guess it is better to “be safe, than sorry”.3 Dec 2009
I think what some participants are trying to say is that rules are often inconsistent and irrelevant. “Rules above common sense” is a perfect way to describe it. I would never criticise security measures that are introduced to save passengers’ lives and prevent acts of terrorism. But the whole system, worldwide, is littered with some rules that make no sense and don’t actually protect us. Those rules are often introduced as a knee jerk reaction, by governments and aviation authorities that have not thought them through properly and are more concerned to be seen to be doing something. And rules are not always governed by safety, they are governed by financial considerations. The best example of this is the fact that you cannot board a plane with a nail file (or a knitting needle a few years ago) but you have ALWAYS been able to board with a 1 litre glass bottle purchased in a duty free shop. Anyone who does not accept the fact that these are instant deadly weapons is fooling themselves. The only reason why these are not banned is because the companies that run the airports make huge profits from liquor sales and governments dare not touch them. When security rules start making sense and are consistent, people will stop complaining about them. But I suspect this will not happen any time soon.3 Dec 2009