View Full Version : Airport security (not a/c security)

18th Sep 2002, 09:38
Having flown from Valencia to London within the last month, and returned from Barcelona earlier this week, I was shocked that whilst the rest of Europe and the US are cracking down on security, Spain appears to be doing nothing!

Both times, I passed through security without having to show my boarding, at Barcelona I was asked no security questions regarding my luggage (ok no one ever says yes I left my bag unattended, no I didn't pack it myself and yes I am carrying unknown goods for someone who paid me Ģ10 to take them to London). At Barcelona, I got all the way to the top of the airbridge before being asked for my passport (and even then the person was only a ground crew person not police or airport security), it wouldn't have been hard to push past and get on the plane - fine I may not have been able to get it airbourne but I could cause a pretty good stand off on the ground with a bomb, an aircraft full of fuel and 150 passengers on board!!

Why's spain so relaxed about this?

18th Sep 2002, 09:49
Im not defending the fact that your boarding card and passport were not checked at security but you wouldnt of been able to
carry a bomb through security anyway


18th Sep 2002, 11:18
To try and prevent the multitude of 'Gosh! Shock! Horror!' threads that appear to be springing up about airport security I have decided to merge as many of them as possible as they tend to cover the same old ground and are more about pax security issues rather than other aspects that affect pilots directly.

Too many people are assuming that because they managed to get their multi-tool through security or they think it is lax because they weren't asked a question or whatever that we are all doomed. Personally I believe it is nothing to do with whether granny is strip searched or you have your shoes removed for further inspection. If you have no intent of hijacking an a/c or killing and maiming innocent people then it doesn't matter what you carry with you as long as it isn't dangerous in itself.

As far as I am concerned, the current state of airport security is wrongly being used as the only resort and not the last resort of prevention against terrorists. If you think that current airports security as reported in the many threads on here and elswhere is going to stop a determined terrorist act such as the one on September 11th 2001 then you are sadly mistaken. Vigilance is needed but they used up their suprise tactics in that one. Current techniques are mostly cosmetic and knee-jerk responses that are little more than acts of 'closing the stable door AFTER the horse has bolted' and do more to enhance beuraucrats careers in the eyes of their government minister bosses because of the soundbyte opportunities rather than prevent future acts of terror.

We do need security screening for pax who are too stupid to realise that carrying petrol cans on board for example is very dangerous but as we have seen recently, some airport security agencies are more interseted in how they appear rather than how effective they really are. Some items are indeed dangerous and shouldn't be allowed in the cabin of an airliner but the current method of trying to prevent any item getting on board without taking into account the person carrying it and the circumstances is just plain absurd, especially when you consider what is available and can be used effectively as a weapon AFTER you have passed through 'security'.

18th Sep 2002, 11:36
Danny, I agree with you. But if airport security is the last resort then it should be of suitable quality. Personally, I think the whole scenario is just locking the stable door after the horse has bolted, and that it really was mainly the US who had poor security and treated air travel more like we treat bus travel in the UK.

My issue is more about uniformity. If some places are more relaxed than others, then they become targets for terrorists. Why would a terrorist try to get through security at say Heathrow when they could do it a lot easier in say Toulouse. People keep going on about a united Europe and a single european sky and a single open sky agreement between the EU and the US, then surely security procedures should also be uniform throughout!

Anyway, having no intention to hijack the plane, not being asked the questions didn't matter but everyone should be subject to the same procedure, at least that way the airline and airport and say that they did everything reasonably possible to prevent an attack.

18th Sep 2002, 12:00
My point is that everyone should be questioned. Preferably before they get to the check-in desk and by highly trained people who are either employed by the government security services or have access to all the latest government intelligence services sources of information. It is called profiling. It immediately establishes whether the person being questioned warrants further investigation. There are 'triggers' that alert the questioner, the details of which need not be elaborated on here but suffice it to know that with the correct type of profiling, although expensive, is extremely effective.

It never ceases to amaze me how many times it is said that it would be too expensive and time consuming for the rest of the world to employ this kind of profiling yet we see how the industry in the US is struggling with the current overkill and continuous disruption of the current knee-jerk tactics. Add to that the state of affairs regarding fully screened hold baggage in the US. It is a joke and a very expensive one at that.

There is no such thing as 100% effective security and I don't think anyone really believes that there can ever be such a thing but at least, if we are going to provide a proper deterrent then let's do it properly and effectively without ruining our industry with the current sham that some beuraucrats have devised.

Notso Fantastic
18th Sep 2002, 12:48
AC- I have just been to and from through Alicante. Security checks were thorough, passports and boarding cards were checked exiting the boarding lounge for boarding- adequate I would have thought. What is one country's requirements isn't necessarily anothers. I was satisfied with the security in Spain. Just because they may not do it exactly the Brit way doesn't mean they are any worse.

Robert Vesco
18th Sep 2002, 13:55
I completely agree with you Danny !

Thereīs something fundamentally wrong with security when people start to whine about confiscating needles (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=67202) , toothpicks, nailclippers etetera when at the same time it is politically incorrect to profile and single out suspicious passengers.

Nevertheless a chain is only as strong as itīs weakest link, and many airports have questionable security. For example, I know an airport in Europe where ground personel is not searched and has unlimited access to the tarmac and the aircraft parked there. At this same airport all flight crew are searched with an enthousiasm as if we have "al qaida" written on our foreheads. Numerous reports have been filled, but the local authorities do not seem to care, nor can they understand the potential threat, or the lack of logic in their own procedures.

Scary that these people have governing authority ! :mad:

18th Sep 2002, 14:07

Whilst I agree that different countries, different problems/threats; but surely Alicante and Valencia (only about 200 miles apart) and operated by the same company should have the same security procedures.

Departures Beckham
18th Sep 2002, 14:24

You'd also presume that Spanish airports would be very secuirty concious becuase of the bombings by the Basque separatist group ETA.

Max Angle
18th Sep 2002, 19:33
At a lot of airports the standard of security at that particular airport means nothing at all as arriving and departing pax. can mix freely airside (LHR Terminals 1,2,3 and most US airports spring to mind). Take a look at some of the airlines that park up on the ramp at LHR and ask yourself if you trust the airport security at the departure point of that aircraft as much as you trust LHR's. You had better, it's the same thing as long as inbound and outbound flights are mixed.

19th Sep 2002, 17:09
I just came back from BAH, an airport I use frequently and their security, tight before, is now even tighter. I'm no expert on the efficacy of profiling passengers, but the mantra in BAH seems to be "make them think twice".

Before check-in all your bags are X-rayed while you watch. Hold luggage is then sealed with nylon tape. You then get a frisk and metal detector run over you. Off to check-in. Next up going airside. Once more your cabin bags are X-rayed and you pass through the standard machinery with more frisking/detecting if you go beep (I always do!). Finally after the gate, more random bag searches and frisks/detectors on the airbridge.

Now I know this is never going to be practical at a large airport such as LHR, but if you had any ulterior motive in mind, then I would suggest that BAH would not be one of your chosen starting points.

Contrast that with an experience at ORA late last September when I'd left some sunglasses at check-in. I went up to the barrier to see if someone could help, stood patiently "excuse me'ing" for a couple of minutes whilst the guard chatted to his buddy (with his back to me) then thought "sod it" and walked through. Fetched my glasses and came back airside.

My take on this is that in some airports people have a job to do, and do it well with the co-operation of passengers. In other airports people just view it as something to do to idle away the time between 9-to-5. Unless or until you get rid of that mentality, you will always have alarming differences in the effectiveness of the security checks.

20th Sep 2002, 18:18
interesting then and i agree with Danny is that nearly everytime i,m at a Greek airport we have pax on board that have walked through 'security' that have managed to board the wrong flight !!.
Gate staff in Greece and to a lesser extent Spain seem to have no comprehension of the implications of not even checking the destination on the boarding card. As far as i see it there is no point at all in the Caa making operators put 'shed' bolts on flight deck doors when the places we fly into have dubious security. A chain is only as good as it's weakest link.:cool: