About Airport Security

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

While I was standing in long, winding, slow-moving security lines in San Franscico to get to Columbus, Ohio, I observed.  (That reporter thing kicks in at the strangest times.)  People were basically stripping down to nothing walking through a metal dector without even showing a ticket and mindlessly picking up their 14 bags (since no one checks anything anymore) and moving on.  The families with small children had it the worst.  The mother would have to strip down, strip down her children and stand there trying to keep them quiet and orderly until the appointed time when they could walk through the detector one by one.  The passenger-screening security system in the U.S. is not broken.  It works to slow everyone down, make sure no one has gun powder on their clothes and no bombs/guns/knives in their bags.

The attempted jet bombing upon landing in Detroit was on a flight that originated in Nigeria with a stop in Amsterdam.  The suspect did not get on a flight in the U.S. and try to bomb it.  He knew that wasn't possible.  He snuck his bubblegum bomb through Nigerian airport security. 

The security in airports abroad is not even close to being as strict as it is in the U.S.  I know, I've flown in and out of more than 10 countries.  You don't have to remove your shoes or your belt and often there's no rule about transporting liquid.  Why punish U.S. domestic travelers with mandatory pat-downs and ridiculous, time consuming bag inspections when the breech did not happen here? 

Perhaps the government should be looking at their own failings when it comes to monitoring who enters and leaves the United States.  The suspect's own father had alerted the CIA that he was an extremist radical who might turn violent.  The man was on the TERRORISM WATCH LIST but no red flags came up when he bought his ticket. 

What kind of reasoning does our country operate under?  This is even more upsetting to me since my husband (an educated, fully-employed, tax-paying British citizen) who has an expunged 15-year-old misdemeanor on his record from South Africa is not allowed to enter the U.S. for a day to visit his family but a KNOWN terrorist can easily come right in. 

Have *you* noticed changes in security since Christmas Day?   Maybe you feel like travelers should stop grumbling and do whatever it takes to stay safe.  Please post a comment.

3 comments

Ted Stryk said...

The reason that you don't have to remove your shoes and belt in many countries is that they have more sophisticated walk-through scanners than we do (I know this to be true for the U.K., Canada, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain - my experience is that their screeners will not hesitate to let a traveler who they see beginning to take off their shoes know about it). However, this is likely not the case in Nigeria.
While it remains to be seen how well-cleared this guy was to stay in the U.S. (since I have seen people who made it as far as customs before being sent home for such crimes as not having a proper passport stamp from some country they passed through along the way), as he attempted his attack before landing. It does make one wonder why it is that we bother to keep a terrorist watch list.

Anonymous said...

Denae,
Without a doubt the airport security in the U.S. is the absolute worst.

Anonymous said...

Ted you are obviously a "seasoned traveller". So then, are we to understand that the airport security in the U.S. is not as strict as some would perceive... just a lot less sophisticated? Who would have thought that of the U.S.of A!