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'Have you got your pistol, dear'

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'Have you got your pistol, dear'

Old 12th Nov 2001, 16:39
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Post 'Have you got your pistol, dear'

This was on the travel letters page of the Telegraph on Saturday.


Security is no joke

M Ashworth from Lancashire wrote
My wife and I checked in for an EasyJet flight at Liverpool airport on October 16. I was asked the usual security questions and then shown diagrams of various weapons and asked if I was in possession of any. At this moment, my wife arrived and, in a jocular manner, I asked her if she was carrying her pistol. I was incredulous when the check-in agent said she was calling security.

We were whisked away by four airport security people and a policeman. They searched our bags and we assumed they were then satisfied that we were harmless senior citizens. To our amazement, we were told that we would not be allowed to fly until the following day. When we asked why, we were told that this was EasyJet company policy and that 74 customers had been refused flights in the previous week for similar security infringements.

Our pleas that we were travelling to Belfast to look after our grandchildren because their parents were going away fell on deaf ears. I asked for a refund of our fare, but this was not forthcoming. Eventually, we were given a copy of our flight confirmation with a handwritten comment that we had been refused travel for breach of security questions.

We finally flew from Manchester with British Airways the following morning. So the question "Have you got your pistol, dear?" ended up costing us £80 for an overnight hotel and £248.80 for air fares. Were EasyJet's actions legal and what is the airline's policy on refunds to customers it refuses to carry?

Gill's response
On behalf of EasyJet, a spokesman said: "Everyone is incredibly sensitive about security and we have adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards people who don't take it seriously. Our view is that, if you're going to mess about and say things such as this, you're not going to travel with us. This is not the time for gags or stupidity."

The airline is within its rights to refuse to carry you under Article 8 of its conditions of carriage "for reasons of security".

As for a refund of your unused flight tickets, I am afraid that EasyJet will not grant this. "We did offer to fly this couple the following day," said a spokesman for the airline, "but because they chose not to take up this offer the tickets are non-refundable."

Your letter provides a timely reminder to air travellers to take all questions about security seriously these days. Any jokes about guns, bombs, knives, anthrax and so on are going to land you in big trouble, not just with EasyJet, but with many airlines that will not hesitate to invoke their right not to carry you.

What can you say?

Electronic Telegraph

[ 12 November 2001: Message edited by: Capt PPRuNe ]
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Old 12th Nov 2001, 17:43
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it doesn't say what his wife replied....if she said "no" then there is no problem right? He could have been (Correctly) making sure his wife was not carrying her pistol!
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Old 12th Nov 2001, 22:07
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Be very interesting to see what the results of a Small Claims court case on this would be.

Strikes me that we might be getting to the stage of getting so many people so upset with length of time for check in, and the sensitivity to remarks etc., that they just stop flying. An example has to be the New York - Washington shuttles where they can't get up: it sounds very much as if it's actually quicker and more convenient on that route by train. Not the way to get 'bums on seats'in airplanes, but on the other hand, getting people so fed up they won't fly does solve security problems.
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Old 12th Nov 2001, 22:44
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It appears that the head of IATA has concerns, too.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/bus...00/1651755.stm
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Old 13th Nov 2001, 06:51
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Pierre Jeanniot has very valid pilots, and passengers, if they have a choice, will not fly. It is time that airlines start treating passengers as "customers" and not cattle.
There can be NO excuse for airline antagonism.... the business is slowly going down the drain, with no plug in sight.
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Old 13th Nov 2001, 07:00
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It seems to me that M Ashworth would have had no problems if he had kept his mouth shut.

Picture this: Mr. & Mrs. Ashworth arrive at the airport to be told by security that their family have been on to say no need to travel their grandchildren have been victims of a terrorist attack.

Would the stupid git think it was funny??

He wouldn't head for the small claims court then would he??
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Old 13th Nov 2001, 07:03
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Don't be so silly; This is and has been the standard reaction to "Stupid Answers" to serious security questions throughout the industry for some time and long may it continue.. When will the passengers / customers realise that we are not joking about security - which is implemented for everybody's safety?

I cannot believe the stupidity of many people in "joking" in this way.. They must be brain dead if they think we will just laugh at them!
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Old 13th Nov 2001, 07:28
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What I don't understand is why this is a security breach (if quotes are accurate). If I am travelling with (say) a firearms duty I would be very reasonable to ask if any firearms were in his or her baggage. Also, he was repeating a question the check-in staff asked of him!

And yes passengers do think they are funny, they and the other 74 that week believe they are the first to make any joke to staff. Have you ever (tried) to make a joke of something to an employee in another industry...they've heard it before too.
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Old 13th Nov 2001, 10:32
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Anybody stupid enough to make inane remarks in regard to airtravel security, deserves to suffer all the incovenience as a result. To complain about the consequences in public, underscores the mentality of Mr.Ashworth.
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Old 13th Nov 2001, 13:04
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Hotdog, I think you're missing the point. Stupidity maybe - but it's those 'stupids' whose 'bums on seats' are very necessary. I heard this morning on the radio that many Americans are talking of cancelling travel by air after yesterday's terrible disaster. How much more can this industry take?

Lets just suppose the CEO of some company who provides $1M per annum makes some comment (maybe to a colleague on the plane) that gets misinterpreted, and gets taken away. He's talking and says 'we'll be taking over in 20 minutes', referring to a company take over formalised when the stock market opens. (Not too far off - some guys were pulled off a plane the other day for saying something similar - it's in Pprune somewhere) How happy will the airline be when he chops that $1M with a company ruling that 'Airline X' are not to be used for company travel?

Talk of 'Heads you lose and tails you lose'..
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Old 13th Nov 2001, 13:46
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radeng, no I don't think I'm missing the point. The ratio of "stupids" is very small compared to the sane. We always had an open cockpit door policy in my airline, the number of stupids in my 33 years on the flight deck I can count on one hand. However, we did have them; including a couple who stashed two aircraft life jackets in their hand baggage which unfortunately for them, were discovered during a security check by the cabin crew at Taipei airport where transit passengers have to disembark. In those days perhaps some people's juvenile sense of humour, although irritating, was accepted but not any more and the sooner these people learn to keep their mouth shut, the better. Remember the guy who came home late from an extramarital romp and smeared billiard cue chalk on his pullover? When his wife challenged him about his late arrival, he told her he was down the road ravishing this big ti**ed blond. Don't lie to me, screamed his wife, I know you were in the pool hall, you are covered in chalk.
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Old 13th Nov 2001, 13:48
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Well,

This is not the first instance of people being delayed, held over or even arrested for making jokes in security. Trouble with Brit. "humour" is that it is so dry that it often sounds serious - ask my Swiss wife....

There is no room for uncertainty in the security area and what is humour for some: "Hi, Jack!" and "Gun is in my other bag" is an added problem for the checkers and must be taken seriously.

More of those and you will be an even more InFrequent Flyer methinks.

PS It happened to be easyJet but any good security system will have this philosophy.
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Old 13th Nov 2001, 18:03
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I recently flew from Italy to UK and had to transfer my bags in UK to connect with the same airline to another UK destination(low cost carrier and EXCELLENT in every way). At checkin I was asked had my bags been out of MY sight since I packed them and could anyone have interfered with them? .I honestly replied that yes they were out of my sight and yes someone could have interfered with them .Should that have merited a stern response also?.Does this mean that I have to unpack and recheck my luggage each time I connect through? or should all carriers operate some form of transfer system for luggage? Security IS a serious matter,but there has to be a sensible balance drawn somewhere.
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Old 13th Nov 2001, 19:46
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Sorry ANYONE who makes jokes concerning security - however riduculous they/we think the questions are - deserves what ever response the security/police/airline deem appropiate. Personally I think they were lucky to spend the night in a hotel rather than a police cell.
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Old 13th Nov 2001, 20:11
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Radeng, it's my thread on this forum, see under "Arresting remarks" Those two stupid people caused a great deal of anxiety and misery to the people nearby with their tactless remark. Maybe the other passengers should sue them for compensation for the mental cruelty they inflicted. I hope QF don't ever let them onto another of their aircraft again. Having to drive or catch a train back to Sydney would be a good idea.
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Old 14th Nov 2001, 01:18
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Phew.....you couldn't make it up ...could you ?. Two senior citizens on an internal Uk flight, psssibly extremely nervous about flying and a bit out of touch with the seriousness of security considerations these days.... get bumped and embarassed. The check in lady having obviously checked her potential security threat profiles and found a match You people in the airline industry had better get real. I used to travel frquently for pleasure pre WTC.....I've already canceled two trips since then....one to Portugal and one to Los Angeles. Why ??? Cos I don't want to subject myself to that sort of stupidity and hassle.....I don't need or want it .
"We haf ways of making you sweat and feel threatened ......this is war , JA !? " .
Mental note what is El Al's route network........... do they fly to Madrid.Lisbon ex UK............hum !!!!!!!!
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Old 15th Nov 2001, 08:32
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Passenger Ashworth made a remark that was not particularly funny but neither was it particularly offensive. He committed no security breach and was refused carriage because some security and airline personnel were unable to decide when outrage is appropriate and when it isn't.

All aviation industry staff who react in this somewhat excessive manner are, unfortunately, venting upon these hapless (and in some cases misguided) individuals the general sense of horror and outrage felt by us all following September 11.

Now, more than ever, cool heads should prevail. Take the individuals aside, speak sternly to them, let them know their comments are not appreciated by staff and may not be by other passengers. Then wish them a happy flight and put them back in the line (or in their seat). Lashing out unecessarily will ultimately do more harm than good.

Even if Mr Ashworth could be described as unwise or silly, his purchase of a fare is still a valuable one.
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Old 15th Nov 2001, 09:52
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PeterJ admit it to yourself if not others why you don't fly post sept. 11.
. Why ??? Cos I don't want to subject myself to that sort of stupidity and hassle.....I don't need or want it .
This man brought it entirely on himself and his wife. He displayed a complete disregard of the seriousness of airport security. If he was in court he would be done in any country for contempt.

If you are terrified of flying admit it and don't try to spread your affliction...it can be treated!
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Old 15th Nov 2001, 11:06
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Westman

Quote:
If you are terrified of flying admit it and don't try to spread your affliction...it can be treated!

I think we should reword that an apply it back to most of the people who have posted on this topic. It should read :-
If you are terrified of passengers admit it and don't try to spread your affliction...it can be treated!
Simple fact is there is a lot of paranoia around at the moment and whilst security is important,so is common sense. Admittedly the joke was in poor taste and was inappropriate, but so was the over reaction of the check in and security staff. Iím with PETERJ and Down and welded on this one.

I'll learn how to work this thing one day!
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Old 16th Nov 2001, 14:29
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Red face

Quote:
If you are terrified of flying admit it and don't try to spread your affliction...it can be treated!
I think we should reword that an apply it back to most of the people who have posted on this topic. It should read :-
If you are terrified of passengers admit it and don't try to spread your affliction...it can be treated!
Simple fact is there is a lot of paranoia around at the moment and whilst security is important,so is common sense. Admittedly the joke was in poor taste and was inappropriate, but so was the over reaction of the check in and security staff. Iím with PETERJ and Down and welded on this one.

Have to agree. There seems to be a paranoid over reaction going on now by aircrew and gate staff. In the 12 months to September I spent somewhere around £12,000 on flights to various destinations. Since September 11, because of the hassle involved in flying I have flown only once. It is simply less trouble to not go or find alternative means, eurostar into certain European cities is soooo much less trouble than flying from London now.

A balance needs to be found and found soon. The alternative is a lot less airlines. Passengers are not the problem they are the solution.
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