Are some security checks unnecessary?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Yesterday the Financial Times reported on the meeting of the Airports Operators Association (AOA) at which the chairman of British Airways, Martin Broughton, said that some of the security checks we have to endure at airports were a waste of time. We had them because the Americans insisted yet they were not carried out on domestic flights within the US. Forgive me if you tired of this story already. The BBC, then ITN and Sky made it their lead story for most of yesterday and by 7am today there are 866 articles on the web about it. Broughton has obviously struck a chord.
But which checks are unnecessary?
Good question but I don’t have an answer. Broughton queried the inconsistency at different airports of taking off shoes and how laptops are treated. CD-Traveller has written before of the confusion in the minds of passengers where you have to take your shoes off in some airports but not in others. The same applies to belts. And sometimes coins. To repeat ourselves, how can passengers feel confident about security if different standards are imposed? At least what has come out of this debate, and that is what it has become, is a call for consistency.
There have been laptop computer bags which, supposedly mean you don’t have to take your laptop out of them when you go through security but that hasn’t stopped me being asked to remove mine. A new announcement says that one scanner can detect if liquids have been tampered with (whatever that means!) so in future we should be able to take liquids through security and without having the 100ml limit.
But returning to Broughton’s comments what do they do differently in the US to here? I was there about a month ago and I had to remove neither my belt or shoes. I had to remove my jacket, take out my laptop, the plastic bag containing liquids as well as my coins. But at another airport I had to remove my shoes. (they were a different, more solid pair) The main difference that I see is that after going through normal security you can be checked again at the gate and go through a bag search there as well. That doesn’t happen on either our or American domestic flights. According to a CNN report, a US government spokesperson said Broughton was “…out of touch with current intelligence-driven security policies.”

And the view of the public? Those interviewed by the BBC and ITN seemed to say they would rather put up with it than the obvious alternative.

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