View Full Version : Is Security a Risk to Flight Safety? (moved to Jet Blast)

14th Apr 2012, 15:20
Do you get harassed, groped, humiliated and degraded just minutes before flying a 80 tonne airliner, responsible 100's of passengers lives... (

How come flight crew are treated the same as passengers? When they already have an Airside pass? Is that right? Do you have to take this? Does every pilot experience this at some point? Will it ever change? Is it a safety risk when we get harassed and ridiculed publicly in some airports and get scowled and looked down upon by the security staff and treated with no politeness or respect. Surely the current system is ridiculous and unnecessary?

(I can't take credit for the image but I thought it highlighted an issue that I can't believe pilots put up with)

Hotel Tango
14th Apr 2012, 17:41
This one again!

Apart, maybe (big maybe) from your home base, Security won't know you from Adam. If a person could pass through simply by being in a pilot's uniform and flashing an airport pass, who is to say that they didn't steal it or even forge it? They have now passed through security unchecked with a loaded weapon. Duck into the loo, change back into civies and board their intended flight and target.

I have a NATO security clearance and I'm not exempt from airport security. As a passenger I'd prefer that to extend to crew and all airport staff too.

14th Apr 2012, 18:18
And pilots are to be trusted more than an airport cleaner, why?

Other than the fact you're clearly better than everyone else :oh:

14th Apr 2012, 19:38
It is mainly a UK problem. The rest of europe is more relaxed and actually sticks to the european regulation that allows crews to take normal bottles of water to work, apart from being usually screened away from passengers. I am extremely happy that we do not have any crew stops in the UK anymore as that was the worst destination, mainly because of its security nonsense.

Ancient Observer
14th Apr 2012, 19:47
I had one of those very secure passes at one stage. Still had to go thru all the demeaning stuff. Don't blame it on the nutters in security. Blame it on the nutters who would love to kill you and me.

14th Apr 2012, 19:48

Couldn't (as a Brit ) agree more :sad:

14th Apr 2012, 21:02

I dont normally post on here, also i am no longer subject to the uk bs 'security' checks any longer. That said however your attitude towards pilots its a very misinformed one. I think you have missed the point my friend. 'pilots are to be trusted more than an airport cleaner?' and 'other than the fact that you're clearly better than everyone else'

From the first comment you made, because obviously you are very well informed on the job of a pilot, i put to you a question...if a pilot was not allowed to take 101 ml of liquid through a security gate would that make a blind bit of difference? based on the fact that there is an axe provided in the flight deck?....but wait for it heres the shocking part....the pilots fly the aircraft with their hands during the critical phases of flight so why would nigel have to smuggle an explosive strawberry flavoured yogurt through security???

Also the second comment, before becoming a pilot i worked as a baggage handler, then as a flight attendant then as an operations officer then finally as a pilot. I have met so many people like you that have an opinion which is only applicable to 1 in 100 pilots so therefore it seems you have another axe to grind? maybe you wished you could tell your friends that youre a pilot but not put in the work or borrow Ģ80,000 to train for a job that is in no way guarenteed and you might lose everything you have so far just to see if you can gain a career as a pilot? Open your eyes my friend or gain some more experience before you point fingers at people who have worked extremely hard and sacrificed a lot to be where they are. I think it is you who has issues with who is better than who because nearly all the guys i have ever flown with dont think anything about being better than anyone. The only thing they think about it doing their job professionally and to the best of their abilities because at the end of the day they got off their backsides and studied hard and trained hard and took a risk and perhaps now they are now flying jets for a living....poor you for thinking bad of them :ugh:

Nothing in this life is free my friend. if you are willing to work for it then you can have it. Don't however sit feeling bitter about people who have studied for years to do their job to the best of their ability. Are you going to have the same attitude towards the next surgeon who operates on you for a heart condition or a knee operation? because at the end of the day he would only kill one person for being bad at his job.....think on!

His dudeness
14th Apr 2012, 21:10

Security won't know you from Adam. If a person could pass through simply by being in a pilot's uniform and flashing an airport pass, who is to say that they didn't steal it or even forge it? They have now passed through security unchecked with a loaded weapon. Duck into the loo, change back into civies and board their intended flight and target.

If airport security can`t check an airside pass..? They (terrorists) pass through (screened) without a weapon and board an airplane as crew...airplanes can be used as weapons (look up 9/11 if you donīt believe it), not only nail clippers etc. Your reasoning is...well...

Its really funny, sitting in security classes I get told that I`m part of the last line of defence etctec. and on the other hand I get treated (partly) worse than everyone else.
LCY last month: bag goes thru machine, leaves machine, me wants to carry it out the roughly 12 mtrs to airplane, security moron: no you cant touch bag any more....bag is carried outside by handler and I (!) load it into baggage hold. (after removing the 1 liter water bottle that went from my backpack into bag because of 'security regulations')

The inmates are running the asylum and common sense has gone down the drain a long time ago. OBL has won his war, at least he has been able to show us that the alleged freedom etc we thought we have is just an illusion. Our societies have become deer caught in the headlights.

14th Apr 2012, 21:17
In the US, the TSA is more of a threat to our Constitution than the terrorists are.

Piltdown Man
14th Apr 2012, 21:47
I frankly dont give a fart what the prats at security do. I treat them with the contempt they deserve. I merely comply with whatever they want and any dig or attack will be returned, just for the hell of it. Done correctly, a proper wind-up of security staff sets me up for the day.

But what I would like is proper security. I'd like a system that would result in only the good guys being airside. The current system doesn't do that, basically because it's looking the wrong way. The problems with UK aviation 'security' are two fold. Firstly, it does a marvellous job as closing the door after the horse has bolted. To date, I haven't suffered from one single check introduced as a result of foresight by the halfwits in charge at the Transec/DfT. Bear in mind that these idiots are from the same pond as Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the people who have failed to anticipate every single conflict Britain has been involved in at least since the Boer War.

But secondly, and more importantly, they allow anybody airside. Flash the correct bit of plastic, wear the correct clothes and you are in just as long as you don't need any liquids or pointy sticks to perpetrate your atrocity, you will be airside with the assistance of security. Ask nicely, they might even guide you to your target. What is actually needed at airports are external controls and data which specifies who needs to be airside, when they should be there and what they look like. At the moment the possibility exists that my crew could be replaced which would only be discovered when it's too late.

So 750XL, HT and AO what I want is real security, not the theatre designed to keep the public happy and demonstrate that politicians "are doing something".


Coffin Corner
14th Apr 2012, 21:53
I have to say that I believe it is a flight safety issue. After yet another round of being groped and treated like a second rate citizen by yet another one of Hitler's love children enough is enough, it puts me in a bad mood before I even step on the aeroplane. What the hell is it with security staff and them putting their hands down the inside of my trousers? They even feel and scan the bottom of your feet now for goodness sake. No wonder it drove one pilot to strip naked in front of everyone, it's the part of the job that I really detest and I really do not look forward to walking through security at the start of each day. Necessary? Complete nonsense.

14th Apr 2012, 22:16
Piltdown sums it up right. Nobody would object to security if it was effective. What we have now is window dressing and nothing more. They search crews and passengers but not baggage handlers, foodcourt workers, security people, policemen, ticket sellers, mechanics, janitors, etc etc.
The searches are next to useless, the success rate in finding weapons is less than 50 percent, based on their own tests.
The waste of time with shoes, computers, new scanners that give you cancer (there is a lot of cancer now in the TSA, because those people spend their time standing around the scanners and get exposed to a lot of stray xrays and "millimeter" rays (whatever that is)).
Not one single terrorist has been caught by airport security.
A terrorist does not need a real weapon to take over an airplane, so how is he to be caught by the airport security w@<hidden>? And if they did catch one, what would they do with him? There is no armed response standing by, and the bad guy would probably be quite happy to let off his bomb or shoot his rocket launcher at the passengers waiting to go through security.
Come on, think about it for 3 minutes and you will see what I am saying. Putting up with the stupidity just makes you stupid.
What we need is a certain, effective level of airport security (like we had before we allowed the N@<hidden> to take over) and more attention to airplane security. For, rest assured, when the bad guys want to take the airplane they will. We need to plan what to do then, and I don't think that shooting down an airliner with 400 people on board is the right answer. But it is the plan right now. Does that make you feel safer?

go around flaps15
14th Apr 2012, 22:17
Treated like a second rate citizen? Bit extreme. Most of them are just doing their job they didnt make the rules.

When Im on earlies Im in a bad mood anyway.:E

Teddy Robinson
14th Apr 2012, 22:58
well the joke is that if you really wanted to get something unpleasant onboard it is extremely easy to do it ... and no, I won't get specific.

The security pantomime is a sop to the audience, the sooner that is appreciated the more likely that common sense will prevail as it does in much of the world excluding UK, EI, and USA, meanwhile it remains a lucrative, exploitative industry in it's own right.

14th Apr 2012, 22:58
Most of you are missing the point. Current security measures, systems and staff can result in a severely hacked off pilot (or two) being in control of a commercial aircraft. Is it a flight safety risk? Yes it absolutely is.

14th Apr 2012, 23:10
absolutely agree! from personal experience it absolutely is a risk to safety

14th Apr 2012, 23:26
Excellent post #8 Aerofoil!:ok:

14th Apr 2012, 23:34
I have posted this before... And will continue to do so until someone sits up and takes notice of what this could become if not fixed...Heard from a friend of mine doing EP training the other day with a large Australian carrier , that the security instructors have been concerned about this for some time , and would like it addressed?. but bean counters wont do anything till made to ....unless regulated. So will wait till there is an OBL crash test dummy and then see how things go..

Pm me for more info if you are interested in being part of the solution and not just winge about security screening being ineffective... This shows it to be a waste of time with a dedicated threat.

Wja. See link below....

user - b777
password - b777hatches

15th Apr 2012, 00:31
If their checks were worthwhile...
I frankly dont give a fart what the prats at security do. I treat them with the contempt they deserve. I merely comply with whatever they want and any dig or attack will be returned, just for the hell of it. Done correctly, a proper wind-up of security staff sets me up for the day.

That's a pretty abysmal attitude to take. Whilst I agree UK airport security procedures are appalling, the staff (by and large) are carrying out what is mandated to them.

Shame really as all you said afterwards is pretty much spot on.

Don't shoot the messenger(s).....

15th Apr 2012, 00:42
Security is now issue, i.e. what was good yesterday is irrelevant today.

Yesterday you were a guy that had worked for your airline for 20 years, upright & all the best etc. Today, security are trying to suss whether your family have been held hostage overnight and you are now under duress...

The problem is that the guys that decide are terrified by their training...


15th Apr 2012, 04:25
Mini, how does making me take off my belt and shoes, forcing me to hold up my pants with one hand while I am groped, prove that I am not acting under duress?

Let the punters believe that airport security works, don't let the Nazis fool you too.

15th Apr 2012, 04:44
I treat them with the contempt they deserve

So do I Pilt but around here in SE Asia fortunately they're not
like the retards that infest the UK and USA like a disease. But
when they pull a idiotic stunt like trying to start my computer
or open up and smell an old packet of peanuts in my navbag,
the pax behind me are staring at everything going on. That's
when I say to the few closest to me "I am the captain of your
aeroplane, and THEY think I'M a security threat!" I then start
to laugh and it instantly goes viral. That generally gets me on
a good footing for the day! :)

15th Apr 2012, 04:56
Dunno if the "I'm a hommasexul" bit will work anymore...


15th Apr 2012, 10:25
The safety side has been an issue in Chirp, but the authorities don't want to know, it seems.

A few announcements that "XYZ airlines regrets the delay of 3 hours on the flight to ABC because the distress caused to the flight crew by the intrusive searching at security has left them temporarily unfit to fly" might do the trick. Especially with a politician or two on the PAX list.

Have that happen a dozen times in a morning at Heathrow and something might get done.

Hotel Tango
15th Apr 2012, 12:31
Piltdown Man,

So 750XL, HT and AO what I want is real security

Don't we all. The only problem is that 100% "real" security is impossible. Furthermore trying to achieve 100% security would be a great deal more intrusive to pilots than the present system!!

15th Apr 2012, 12:39
The man didn't say "100% real security", there is no need to add a strawman.

Shows belong in the West End or on Broadway, not in airports. That is the point being made.

Hotel Tango
15th Apr 2012, 14:12
Forgive me KBPsen, I thought that "real" security equated to 100% security. Could you perhaps clearly define what is meant by "real" security? How "real" is any security which is not 100%? Isn't it all a show at the end of the day? (All genuine questions by the way).

15th Apr 2012, 15:31
The biggest problem with staff security is that there is no system for aircrew (and other airport staff) to formally report a grievance about how they have been treated by the security staff. as such the CAA and TranSec assume there isn't a problem because there isn't an auditable system of reports. It's a bit like a storyline from "Yes, Minister." As such CHIRP and BALPA took up the task of collecting and collating reports of bad practise and presenting their findings to the relevant Government people who said they were unable to acknowledge them as they were not officially reported in an officially reportable manner on the correct form &c, so still no problem. I am sure that many of you read advice published in CHIRP about how to deal with serious instances of poor practise and overly intrusive attention at staff search, but we all know it didn't really help. Meanwhile the airlines (our employers) refused to get too involved because essentially they were held to ransom (threatened with non-cooperation) by the security managers in the airports which would prejudice operations.

All in all it is all "gonads", and utter stupidity which has lead to outright resent between the two parties, and will take a long time to resolve. Whilst I definitely encountered real world class tools at security, and real world class asininity from said tools, who wound me up no end, I don't think that I can say that they ever really threatened flight safety: others may have had such an experience, and I wouldn't try to denigrate their opinions.

In my opinions the whole charade of getting crews to take off shoes, belts, watches, and so on is ridiculous, and as for confiscating yoghurts, I really have to wonder what their intelligence is! There was a really ludicrous situation where I worked where security wouldn't allow us to take more than one bag through security. Seeing as most of us carried a flight bag, and another with out lunch in there was something of an impasse. That was until someone produced a bin liner, put both bags into the bin liner, and tied a knot in the top in full view of security. Security where more than happy with that, and seemed unpeturbed when the first pilot passed the bag back to another crew member for the same operation to be repeated. I would add that bin liner was black, and exceeded the 200 x 200mm dimensions normally approved for liquids.

Shiny side down
15th Apr 2012, 15:50
Today, security are trying to suss whether your family have been held hostage overnight and you are now under duress...

having suffered security in some of the worst locations-New York, Heathrow, Schipol, Delhi. I feel safe in saying that security are simply following a script. Much like a foreign call centre helpline that has little understanding of the actual problem.
You go through many security points, and will see a significant debate on who wants what coffee, who hasn't had a break yet. The mundane task of being rude or dismissive to crew, passengers tends to shorten their tempers.
In Glasgow before it all got rearranged, there were some individuals who were simply using their new uniforms as a means to harass local crews and foreign travelers.

Behind the scenes (in some think tank, somewhere) there might be some serious thought to assessing the type of risk present. But i feel it's rather like an artists impression of a new housing estate. A pretty architects sketch becomes a low rent housing estate in reality.

Of course. They are very much let down by inadequate planning, or tools to do the job.
There are always a good number who stand out as being dedicated to the job and possessing both the customer service skills and diplomacy to make it a non event. Likewise, there are some who simply cannot stop themselves from turning a tedious non event into a miserable experience.

15th Apr 2012, 17:22
As time goes by, I'm becoming more cynical about these so-called increased security measures. I don't blame the actual security operatives but the system they are working under.

I know of a UK flying school where a number of people have, from time to time turned up for basic pilot training and aroused suspicion of their motives because of the circumstances and their subsequent actions. This has been reported to the relevant authority, who show very little or no interest in investigating. From the outside, the problem seems to be a fear of possible comeback in the form of allegations of racism.

Where I work, there is a basic security flaw where it would be quite easy for 'something' to be loaded onto a large passenger aircraft or a freighter without it having passed through normal channels. I have no doubt that it would be the same at most large airports. Unfortunately, I see no point in reporting it because it involves the security people themselves, who are by definition trusted far more than those actually flying the aircraft.

15th Apr 2012, 18:05
What is actually needed at airports are external controls and data which specifies who needs to be airside, when they should be there and what they look like.

Impossible, especially when people like me (when I worked at LHR and LGW) were "on call" to suddenly get our butts airside to repair things like wrecked cables, faulty APIS, systems for taxiway lights dropping out, taxiway signs dropping out, power dropping at passport control, etc, etc, etc.

So how would you manage to alert ALL the security controls at a place like LHR to our sudden appearance, with photos and description of work place and nature of work to do, along with every other vehicle that goes through the security gates and every person on foot who goes through security control inside the terminals to get to and from their place of work?

With the amount of foot and vehicle traffic going through every control point every HOUR, you couldn't do it without significantly disrupting the operation of the airport and that's why your "grand scheme" is such a non-starter.

For the record, I never once had an issue with security at LHR, or LGW, even when they found me using a TENS to control my back pain (you should have seen his face when he found wires under my tshirt, but it was easily explained). We treated them with politeness and humour, even bought ice creams once for some stuck at an outlying gate where they were rather lonely on a seriously hot summer's day, and we got treated with courtesy in return. The same also applied when I was flying out of LHR, and I never had any problems then either.

Treat them right, you'll be treated fairly. If you don't, well, you can guess the rest.

(Note, the above only applies to the UK. Will never go to the US after my experiences with some of the effwits in "security" on my last visit there. Which is a shame, as I do like the country and, in general, the people. But the immigration and security people need a red hot poker shoved up them to make them realise that they are dealing with HUMANS and not some sort of parasite which needs to be eradicated.)

15th Apr 2012, 21:23
Regrettably, the ones who really need taking out and shooting are the sueless ar******es sitting in office who make these rules. It is only by bringing the system to a complete standstill something might get done - although a public flogging of the Home Secretary. Minister of Transport and the top three levels of their ministries would help. If it didn't at least, it would make the workers feel better.

16th Apr 2012, 04:17
It would have to be the "ex-ministers", for it was they who brought in the rules.....

16th Apr 2012, 04:42
'trouble is, it isn't doing a damned thing to stop the bad boys doing exactly what they want to do, precisely when they want to do it.

They took a penknife off my flt. eng. I asked if they were stealing it ? No, we bring it out to the flight deck in a sealed bag for the Capt. to sign for.

I am the Capt. I'll sign for it now. No.

The promised visit happened, but before signing the chit, I tore open the bag and gave it back to the flt. eng. and told the security nerd that she was f****ng stupid.

left,right,left right, hats off, I was eventually summoned to the C/pilots' office for the chummy chat ( no tea and bikkies ) - but I felt better !! I'd struck a blow for sanity, not that it's done any good.

Loose rivets
16th Apr 2012, 05:02
Over the west side of the water.

I rarely get worked up about political/authority issues these days, but the sight of that mother imprisoned in the glass box for over an hour drove me to dangerous levels of rage. If that had been my wife or daughter and I'd been there, it would have been the end of my life as I know it. I'll stop there on that line of thinking, I want to sleep tonight.

She had got written data addressed to her, about the expressed milk she did not want subject to x-rays and presented it to the rock-ape in charge. A cop was called, and because she was a regular traveler, they were aware of her 'cause.' They decided to lock her - in full view of passing passengers - in this box to 'teach her a lesson.'

She is suing the 'authorities' for $4,000,000.00, and with sincere and passionate longing, I hope the judge increases the punitive damages by an order of magnitude - even knowing who will end up paying. I also hope the cop gets sued for the American equivalent of illegal imprisonment.

16th Apr 2012, 05:04
I was somewhat bemused when my wife last month had a Vaseline lip balm only about a quarter full from the original contents of 50 ml confiscated before boarding a tri-islander aircraft. I'm not quite sure how she would have reached the pilot to put this 'tool of terrorism' into effect though as we were sat about four rows back from the pointy end . :hmm:

16th Apr 2012, 08:32

Jail all those responsible for ten years. In solitary, on bread and water.

Evil fatherless wotsits.

16th Apr 2012, 11:45
Don't know about the risk to flight safety but I do know it's a risk to airline's survival if there's enough folk like me who are put off flying because of it.

16th Apr 2012, 17:37
If the nimby/greens shut Heathrow as they'd like, at least it would put the security goons out of work.

16th Apr 2012, 18:54
Really can't believe some of the stuff I'm reading here :rolleyes:

I see there are numerous arguments such as axe in the flight deck, pilot being in control etc but not all terrorists commit suicide in the process :ok:

If Mr Pilot isn't subject to the relevant security screening but Mr Passenger is, what's stopping Mr Pilot brining a knife through security (which won't be screened) and passing it to Mr Passenger, who will then go and board another flight?

I really can't see what the big problem is :bored: It's part of the industry that is necessary for everyone's safety so I don't see why certain individuals think they are above it?

It's hardly a huge inconvenience going through security now is it?

Loose rivets
16th Apr 2012, 19:33
Oh, my.:ugh::ugh::ugh::ugh::ugh::ugh::ugh::ugh::ugh:

16th Apr 2012, 20:34

It's bad enough for a passenger, especially considering that security seems almost (but not entirely - Nice seems to be an exception) always staffed by IQ0s.

Crew seem to get an even worse treatment.

If only the security people ended up as PAX where crew could get there own back!

16th Apr 2012, 22:24
Maybe I've been flying from the 'right' airports but I rarely have any problems with security (only exception being Saudi Arabia recently). If you stick to the rules and comply with everything then I can't see why there would be a problem, other than the lack of a smile on the security personnels face.

26th Apr 2012, 16:28
TSA Screeners Arrested For Drug Trafficking - (

27th Apr 2012, 21:54
BBC News - Lengthy queues continue at Heathrow airport (

27th Apr 2012, 22:39
If security checks, however anal they can sometimes be, get you so wound up that you feel you may not be in the right frame of mind to safely fly, then does that not say that you have the wrong temperament to be flying full stop?

ima birdbrain
11th Dec 2012, 04:58
woodja51 has been on the money with this topic and now here it is last week on a B744
From the Aviation Herald ( Incident: China Airlines B744 at San Francisco on Oct 22nd 2012, stowaway

By Simon Hradecky, created Saturday, Dec 8th 2012 17:26Z, last updated Saturday, Dec 8th 2012 17:26Z
A China Airlines Boeing 747-400, registration B-18210 performing flight CI-4 (dep Oct 21st) from Taipei (Taiwan) to San Francisco,CA (USA), had completed a seemingly uneventful flight.

Airport Authorities at San Francisco however discovered a passenger was arriving with a forged passport. Further investigation revealed the passenger had no ticket and was travelling from China via Taiwan to San Francisco, having come on board of the aircraft in Shanghai disguised as cleaning personnel before the aircraft departed for flight CI-504 from Shanghai's Pudong Airport (China) to Taipei. The man had been hiding on board of the aircraft in an electrical compartment inside the pressurized cabin all the way from Shanghai to San Francisco and thus had escaped detection by cleaning personnel, cabin crew and security personnel on all three airports.

11th Dec 2012, 06:54
and I bet he didn't even take his shoes off for inspection before entering the electrical compartment.

11th Dec 2012, 07:05
He was lucky he didn't become the in flight entertainment