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Airport security

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Airport security

Old 1st Nov 2019, 18:16
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: uk
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Airport security

Puzzle me this.. ..

When will security staff at UK airports show a human side? 20 plus years I've been operating out of UK airports and it hasn't improved one iota, despite the numerous CHIRP reports, media coverage etc. This morning I had to take a tissue (unused) out of my pocket before being body scanned, and then hold it during the subsequent "pat" down after the aforementioned scan. And I had to ask, why use a body scanner if you're going to do a full "pat" down anyway? Apparently it shows them where to search, which always seems to be the nether regions!

We are not would be terrorists until proven otherwise, please show a little humanity and common sense
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 19:18
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https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/m...dies-pnz5c3k37
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 09:01
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While there are exceptions, I have to say that most of the individual security agents I deal with are polite and friendly if you are polite and friendly with them. The problem with UK airport security lies higher up the chain of command than the individual gate agent.
Under our devolved system airport security managers can add additional local rules above that required by the regulator, so that at some airports a non locally based member of staff cannot access the ramp without local pass holding escort, at others they can; at some airports all belts must be removed whether or not they trigger the scanner, at others you are fine, and the scanners themselves seem set to different sensitivities - my metal bracelet watch triggers some but not others.
The devolved system is of course a convenient cop out by the regulator, allowing them to saddle the blame for any problem onto the airports manager - "we gave you the power to put additional local rules in place so its your fault", and naturally the local security manager does just that to cover their ass, leading to the inconsistent system we suffer. The purpose of a regulator is to provide consistent proportionate regulation, not to farm out regulation to allow it to shirk its responsibilities.
Our employers the airlines also appear remiss in supinely accepting this: I recently changed base; despite my pass at my previous airport have significant validity left we had to got through the whole rigmarole or CRC and security and CRC checks to get a new on issued - inconvenient for me and a additional cost for my airline at a time we have seen a number of airline in financial trouble. Why each airport has to start the whole process from scratch when somebody already holds a valid uk airport security pass I find inexplicable.
There are also safety implications: On the continent a number of airports use a sensible system of coded numeric keypads to allow access from the airbridge to the ramp and vice versa. In the Uk I typically cannot get that access to deal with say fuelers, or issues in the hold etc, unless I am at my home airport for which I hold a pass. More importantly if when on the ramp I need quick access to my aircraft - of which I am the captain, and for which I am responsible - I may not be able to quickly get it.
Finally I note our union BALPA seems almost deafening in it silence, its latest missives seem to be representing the edicts of the security authorities to the pilots, rather than the concerns and needs of the pilots to the authorities. Why for example when on duty but positioning as a passenger, do I suddenly become a more dangerous person, denied access to my crewroom to get the flight documentation that I will use later to conduct a flight, until the end of the positioning flight when my status magically changes back to that of operating crew, and I am allowed into the places I need to go to do my job?
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 09:37
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I have been harassed by airport security for the last 25 years. I don't remember one trip without some extra hassle.

I once asked a friend in the business for a possible reason and the only one he could come up with was that I might "look like a soldier". I am not and have not really been. About 90% of males of my age have gone through national service but that does not actually make one "a soldier" for the rest of his life.

I try to say as little as possible and answer questions but no help there.

And there are the idiocies like what is a computer, my small tablet apparently is but my large phone is not. They have the same capabilities and my phone actually has a larger battery.

They are there for the image not for actual security.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 10:36
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Airport security is a funny subject. As aircrew, we have to go through security every single day we go to work. I have refined it so that nothing I wear sets the detector off (belt, shoes etc). There is nothing in my bag that will cause a problem, and I put ALL my electronic devices into the tray And my liquids - in the allowed sized containers and in the correct sized bag. It is very simple really.

I am always polite and respectful to the staff. I smile and make polite eye contact. I say good morning/evening, do what they ask and say thank you when they pass me.

Sometimes I get a random search and pat down. Sometimes they ask me to take my shoes and belt off. Of course, no problem. Can I search your bag sir? Can I sample your liquids bag? Yes of course, whatever you need. It is very simple really.

Remember what security is trying to do - prevent an airborne fire, explosion or hijack. YOU know you are not a terrorist, but how do they know? You look like everyone else, so they have to check.

Security staff have an awful job. It must be so boring. Hundreds of times during their shift, they have to ask people to take their liquids out, take their belts off, take everything out of their pockets etc, Add to that if passengers and aircrew get cross or impatient, and no wonder security staff are sometimes tight lipped or strict with people.

My advice is to pack remembering that you will need to remove all your liquids and electronic devices. Give yourself plenty of time to get through security - don’t leave it until the last minute, there might be big queues. Do not get angry even if you think you did what they asked. Be polite and thank the staff. They don’t make the rules, and it is a nuisance for everybody, but they are trying to keep you safe.


PS I am not having a go at you, Aihkio, my post is general advice to everyone.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 10:44
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I get the idea of a random search but what are the chances of searches being random on every bloody flight for 25 years 2-3 times a year?

Lately I have loaded just about everything on wifey and just keep the phone, being without one would apparently be suspicious.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 11:00
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Ahkio ; I appreciate your experiences. As it happens, I look just like an Arab Terrorist. I love lying around in the sun and go very dark indeed. Although a UK National, I wound up as a Senior Captain with GF & was, largely, assumed to be Arabic wherever I went on Duty.Mostly, no problem. Off duty ; oh boy. Into LAX just after 9-11 , when answering questions I revealed that I was an Airline Pilot, Based in Bahrain (had to educate the inquisitor that Bahrain was in the ARABIAN Gulf and not the Gulf of Texas and that I flew B767 for a living it all got a bit twitchy !
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 11:18
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Black Beard would have got nowhere nowadays. I have an acquiantance who has a beard that practically prevents all air travel. Lately he has had some thoughts about some reshaping. As a std Finn he even does not tan easily.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 11:28
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I saw a wonderful example of this at Luxor last year. Cleaner was carrying five loose toilet rolls thro to toilets and armed guard made him put them thro the scanner. It was confusing and sort of reassuring at the same time.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 11:47
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At Stansted some years ago I saw Special Branch having to put their guns through the scanner??
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 12:00
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Originally Posted by dixi188 View Post
At Stansted some years ago I saw Special Branch having to put their guns through the scanner??
Obviously. They could have been hiding nail clippers in their guns.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 12:04
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This is a doco made in 2010. “Please remove your shoes” it backgrounds the TSA.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 12:17
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As a teen I remember carrying a 222rem hunting rifle into the aircraft on a normal domestic flight. Bolt was in the checked baggage but nobody actually wanted to see it. I think ammo was there too.

In the days long gone by, sigh ...
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 12:21
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The only problem I have had was at JFK some years ago.
My wife, a pensioner, cannot walk without shoes due to fused ankle bones.
I called the supervisor and he was deaf to my reasoning.My wife just about managed with a lot of pain and anguish to get through the arch.
I asked him why folks in trainers were not going through the scan. No response.
I assume it is about some women's shoes having a steel shank in them . Perhaps the supervisor was never told about this.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 13:00
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I've been given the full monty in Geneva. Shoes, belt, watch, shirt (popper studs), phone, laptop etc etc.
Then when you finally arrived in the departures lounge, they were perfectly happy to sell Swiss Army knives.....
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 13:09
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Unfortunately it's what one gets when one employs (mostly, in my experience) poorly educated and oft inadequate people on minimum wage and then give them power. A recipe for disater.

Last edited by Doctor Cruces; 4th Nov 2019 at 12:40.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 13:14
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Arrived as active skipper after a 14 hour flight in Melbourne and have been separated from the rest of the crew, then seriously patted down in front of all passengers. Being an old, unattractive skipper, therefore not for pleasure, but for show.
Obviously they found zilch. Then they questioned me. First question was: "What is the purpose of your visit to Australia?"
No further comment.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 13:41
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I never understood the restrictions on liquids and I'm convinced it's to ensure you continue to buy overpriced soft drinks/water in the departures lounge; along with having to trick unsuspecting folks into paying up to £2 for a ziplock bag.

Hypothetically if an odious individual wanted a large quantity of suspect liquid post security they'd simply have 20 folks on cheap tickets go through security with 100ml and mix it together in the toilets in an empty container?

It's absolute theater.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 14:10
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Luton airport a few years ago. I arrive at security. My bag goes through the scanner. My pass is swiped. All OK.

Security chap: Are you here to work?
Me (smiling): That’s why I’m wearing uniform.
SC: You must answer yes or no.
Me (still smiling): Is this a new procedure?
SC: You must answer yes or no. Are you here to work?
Me (teeth gritted): Yes.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 14:26
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Originally Posted by Discorde View Post
Security chap: Are you here to work?
Me (smiling): Thatís why Iím wearing uniform.
SC: You must answer yes or no.
Me (still smiling): Is this a new procedure?
SC: You must answer yes or no. Are you here to work?
Me (teeth gritted): Yes.
Going slightly off topic here, but this reminds me of a day as SLF in an exit row while flying Delta. Bear in mind that I'm middle aged and balding.

Crew: "Sir, are you over fourteen years old?"
Me: "Seriously?" with a raised eyebrow.
Crew in raised voice so that half the cabin could hear: "Sir, I need you to answer the question or I will have to reseat you. Are you over fourteen years old?"
Me: "Yes, I am in fact almost forty years old."
Crew, still in raised voice: "You must answer yes or no. Are you over fourteen years old?"
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