Holiday chaos looms

By | Category: Travel rumblings
© Dan Sperrin

© Dan Sperrin

That is the irresponsible headline – at least on the early edition – of tomorrow’s Daily Mail. The Daily Telegraph doesn’t afford a much better view since it says that holidaymakers can expect “physical, invasive checks.”

Is this responsible reporting or scaremongering? Am I adding to scaremongering  – if that is what it is – by mentioning it?

The “truth,” whatever that is, behind this is that US officials have said that there may be a possible terror threat on flights flying directly into the US. On that basis no flights to any other destinations need have such “invasive” security if that is even what is being planned. Obviously the authorities won’t tell us what additional security they plan and neither will those planning such events so the traveller and holidaymaker is left in the middle.

For those involved in tourism in the US the worry is that this will deter people from travelling there. Yet when a colleague flew from Winnipeg in Canada into the US yesterday, she didn’t see any additional checks. In media reports throughout the day it didn’t seem as though there was additional security at Heathrow. Some people said that there were additional checks at the gate but that is not unusual. I have faced that frequently since 9/11 just as every couple of trips my bags get swabbed and I get pat-downs.

But should two newspapers heighten fears by running such emotive headlines and ideas? The short answer is that they are hoping you will by the paper as a result. But then, aren’t I as guilty as the m by using a headline to attract your attention even though I play the stories down? Whatever the answer, tourist authorities are hoping you will disregard this lurid reporting and holiday anyway.

What is likely to be the only “truth” is that you can expect a longer wait at airports to get through any checks that come. Because – for the authorities – they can’t win. If they don’t be vigilant and something happens all hell will break over the heads. And if they do beef up security and queues lengthen passengers will moan.

But as for being “invasive checks” and “chaos looming?” Pull the other one!

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