Well, it could be dangerous...
...you never know when a squad of terrorists will try to set up a doubles match in first class.
Europe's stupid aeroplane security rules have received a public kicking from the European Community's Court of Justice, which ruled it is unfair to confiscate items from passengers if you don't tell them beforehand what they cannot carry onto planes. Regulations adopted in 2002 for standard items not permitted on board …
This weekend I travelled carrying a Nikon 400mm AFS f2.8 lens with a body attached as hand luggage. These weigh 6+ kilograms. I could take out the security door with it. No one dared challenge me about carrying a potentially lethal weapon. However security did think my Acer AspireOne was a bomb and swabbed it down at the X-ray machine.
Go figure !
Speaking of figures often photographed ....
Airline security is stupid as does not stop terrorists boarding planes, it merely means they cannot take toe clippers with them.
If you take something on the banned list to an airport e.g. toe clippers, and they are removed does that mean you are attempting terrorism? Does it mean they think you are dangerous?
Its just all stupid knee-jerk reactions by stupid politicians.
"He was told racquets were a banned item but carried on and boarded the aircraft."
So he didn't get past security, but actually did?! Great security, there.
(Actually I can just imagine someone who might be rather pompous telling the poor, bored and under-challenged bods at the X-ray scanner not to be so silly and just marching off. Not knowing how big this airport was I suggest they did well to find him again!)
But they still get to arrest you for wearing a transformers T-shirt right?
Airport 'security' is a joke - designed and staffed by morons, it would only ever catch stupid terrorists (and even then it missed Richard Reid)
Lots of theatre going on at the front - nothing at the back, ask any soldier how many men and resources it takes to properly patrol a 10mile+ perimeter fence...
Last time I went through an airport (actually, Edinburgh Turnhouse), I was very careful to not carry my razor with my (I had hand luggage only), as it is considered a Very Dangerous Weapon as well as a Banned Item. I went through security and into a WHSmith at the other side, and lo and behold, what could I buy from the counter? A Gilette Mach 3 and spare blades, almost identical to the one I left behind. What's the bloody point?
Good on the EU courts for taking this one on.
Try Brummie airport - they had a airside shop (Innovations or somesuch shop selling boys toys). Selling those hurricane-proof flame-thrower ciggie-lighter/portable bunson burners.
I asked if it was OK to buy them (they are ready fuelled), 'sure, no problem'. The colleagues I was flying with forbade me in case I 'lit up' and tried to see how long it takes to burn through an aircraft fuslage at 30000 feet.
Think razros with blades set in platic like Mach3 are allowed .... a cut-throat clearly wouldn't be nor I think would an old style "safety razor".
Meanwhile when I first flew on a family holiday (1972 just before Munich Olympics - we flew into military airport since main airport had been allocated for Olympic use - so just before hijacking etc started) security only expressed mild concern at finding my mother had put a 8" blade kitchen knife in hand luggage with rest of our picnic equipment. Ah, innocent days of long ago.
I walked through security at an airport not more than a year ago, accidentally carrying fireworks in the pocket of my coat WITH a lighter in the other pocket. (Left there from bonfire night I think).
I walked straight through only realising when I looked over at the x-ray screen and saw them clear as day. This was one of those moments where you get a cold sweat. (I boarded the plane fine and resisted the temptation to kill anyone.)
Yet they won't let me take my half litre water bottle even though they let me down the lot in front of them and I can buy more bottles inside. There is absolutely no sane reason for this. It's just a knee jerk reaction for the Daily Mail ass rag readers and that ilk.
Worse than that is the way that people are allowed to bring belts and shoelaces through which could be used to make a garrote. As you point out though any numer of items which are not permitted through security are available once past it. I was told that the liquid/gel limit was to stop large containers of fluid coming through but there is nothing to stop you bringing 10x100ml bottles of something through and then transferring them to a 1L water bottle from Boots/WHSmith/Starbucks.
Anybody who has watched a few spy/thriller films will be familiar with any number of techniques for using 'normal' items to inflict carnage (propelling pencil dagger anyone?)
AC as I fly often and would like the option to continue flying
I was checking in on a Ryanair flight at Stansted once. The bloke checking in in front of me was dressed head to foot in tweed. The following conversation ensued...
Do you have any dangerous items in your hand luggage?
Are they dangerous?
They're guns. I'll let you decide.
I'll have to ask a supervisor. Hold on.
"Last time I went through an airport (actually, Edinburgh Turnhouse), I was very careful to not carry my razor with my (I had hand luggage only), as it is considered a Very Dangerous Weapon as well as a Banned Item. I went through security and into a WHSmith at the other side, and lo and behold, what could I buy from the counter? A Gilette Mach 3 and spare blades, almost identical to the one I left behind. What's the bloody point?"
Ah yes, but the razer would probably be shrink-wrapped in that plastic stuff they insist on using nowadays that is almost impossible to open without the aid of a tough pair of scissors...... (probably on-sale next door at Boots)
I went through Heathrow with a friend a couple of weeks ago, lots of staff standing around in groups of 5 chatting. Our carry on went through two sets of x-ray machines, staff were sat around but didn't even look at the screens. We got to Bangkok (transferring) the first x-ray machine we got to they took a large bottle of water out of my friends bag.
I think it would be perfectly safe to sack 4/5 of the security staff at Heathrow. At Heathrow we have a bunch of scruffy trash standing around in ill fitting uniforms that look like they want to be just about anywhere else, pretty much none of them are doing any work. Go to Bangkok and you have smartly dressed individuals, who give the impression of competence and look like they are actually working. England really has become a stinking shit hole.
You raise a very good point.
If I'm stopped and have something confiscated (dunno - a pair of knitting needles?), then should I also be arrested and questioned/charged? Just to be sure?
If I'm carrying such an obviously dangerous weapon then surely that means I am a (at least potentially) dangerous person and therefore should be stopped from getting on the flight at all. That's what would happen if a plod caught me with (say) a knife in the street.
And if I'm NOT a dangerous person, then why did they take my knitting needles away?
Trying to fly from LA to London, was pulled aside by security due to them seeing something they didn't like in my carry-on. Turned out to be a couple of tins of Jelly Belly jelly beans, according to them the tins were 'impervious to x-rays' and showed up as solid blocks on the scan. I had to remove the shrink wrap and open both tins up to prove to them that the contents of the two tins that I'd just bought from their duty free weren't actually dangerous (just tasty).
God does not play dice with the universe: He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who *smiles all the time*.
-- (Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman, Good Omens)
Last year, after visiting some relatives, we were handed a toy Bosch drill as a birthday present for our toddler when leaving for the airport. Not having space in our hold luggage, we threw it in a carry-on bag and thought no more of it.
On going through security we were told that this was obviously an instrument of Bin Laden and could not be permitted on board. I asked to see the list of prohibited items so I could check it for "lightweight toy drill/drivers (green)". No list was forthcoming - "It's up the discretion of the security manager, sir" - a security manager who was to cowardly to come out and explain this to us in person.
Even with the inevitable futility of pursuing the matter in mind, I tried to reason with the obviously embarrassed security staff who, having made their decision, were not going to back down now. A crowd of disbelieving onlookers watched as they chucked the brand new toy in the bin. They even refused our request that the toy be sent to a local kids home.
Best part? In their rigorous search they singularly missed the half-empty Innocent smoothy in the changing bag - something that is definitely prohibited by these ridiculous rules we are expected to endure.
Stand up, Bristol Airport security staff - you are a credit to faceless jobsworth "I'm only following orders, sir"-ness, no doubt you'll be honoured sometime by our caring Govt.
In practice the average punter still has no chance of arguing the toss about what's allowed and what's not - if they still want to board the plane after the debate. Apart from the sheer amount of time it would take to get through the various layers of (how shall I put it? "underclocked") security staff, they can still detain pretty much anyone for pretty much any reason, for long enough to make you miss your flight.
Even though we now know there's a secret list - it makes no difference as each plastic piggie makes up their own, arbitrary, list as they go along. One security guard makes everyone take their shoes off, when going through the detectors - whereas the one on the next aisle doesn't. (Been there, seen it happen). The person in front of me had a roll of sellotape confiscated "you could use it to tie someone up" - even though it's sold in WH Smith's just past the gate. You can't argue with any of these people, and they know it.
Just about the only thing that I reckon would make any difference is if the confiscated items were destroyed right at the point of confiscation - as I have a sneaking suspicion (completely unfounded, but that would explain a lot), that the guards simply take things they want. If they were denied possession of the things they take, there would be little incentive left for this legalised mugging - though they might demand a pay rise to make up the difference.
Take 6 men. Book on the same flight. All go to the bathroom at the same time.
All start fires. Use your body to barricade the door. Plane crashes.
Or just all get up at the same time and open the emrgency exits.
Weapons used - cig lighter and human body.
So, no more people allowed on flights then, and no more smoking at the airport.
planes will be filled with agressive beagles.
In 2004 I spent a couple of weeks working in India. That year they had an election and nearly had a nuclear war with Pakistan. They had good reason to expect someone to try something very stupid.
Security was tight on all flights. Not even allowed inside the airport without a ticket. Several bag searches and body searches. All done with respect and reasonableness. Any inadvertent contraband would be flown in the custody of the crew and returned once landed. Once though security you had to identify your own hold luggage before it was loaded.
The security police would mingle with the passengers before boarding to check for suspicious behavior. You could tell because no-one else wears black bomber jackets.
As I said they had a real problem and they took effective but reasonable measures to deal with it. Of course it helped that every passenger was very polite and patient because no-one in their right mind wants to do anything that might involve seeing the inside of an Indian prison cell.
> as I have a sneaking suspicion (completely unfounded, but that would explain a lot),
> that the guards simply take things they want.
In Frankfurt/Germany they even have the bin labeled with the section of the German law that governs giving up ownership: http://www.lawblog.de/index.php/archives/2008/12/16/ratsel-auf-der-gelben-tonne/ So the stuff in that bin is considered ownerless. Now guess what people are allowed to do with ownerless stuff?
In the US? Well, 0.5% of all TSA personnel have been charged with theft. If you take into account that only a small amount of TSA personnel, e.g. baggage checkers, has access to your belongings, you might come to the conclusion that TSA can't be trusted.
Came back from Canada last year after a rather rugged two weeks of mountain hiking. Got back to the UK, opened up the rucksack I had taken on board to find my 5-1/2 inch-blade hunting knife tucked in below my paperback books. Silly forgetful me. And my bag was scanned. I assume the fine folks on the other side of the x-ray machine were ogling the Girlfriend at the time (and who could blame them...). SO: all you terrorists out there, now you know what to do.
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It's only a matter of time till some security moron tries to confiscate a really valuable brooch (say ten times the security moron's annual salary) because it has a "dangerous" pin.
Years ago I tried to fly from London to Brussels with a hunting knife in my hand luggage. They removed it from me and put it in a jiffy bag with my name on it. I collected it from the baggage carousel in Brussels. That seems like a reasonable way to handle the situation. Somehow I don't think that's what would happen today.
I'm sure we've all seen the perspex boxes that have the demonstration knife and fork in it as a reminder you're not allowed metal cutlery, and hence the reason they give you plastic cutlery on the plane.
However... fly Club World or First on BA (other airlines are available) and you get nice shiny metal cutlery to eat with. It turns out that terrorists are poor and will obviously never fly in the more expensive seats on their way to paradise with 72 Star Trek fans..
Won't be long until the self-loading cargo will not be allowed carry-on at all. In fact I give it 2 years before we're all flying in the buff. Unless you're in first class that is.
1972, just made a trip to the southern states, purchased a Swiss rifle (with the bayonet attached was about 6' long), purchased a rifle case for the weapon, drove to Raleigh, NC, walked up to the ticket counter with it slung over my shoulder, checked it, flew to San Francisco, walked forward to the first class stewardess (yes... now they are flight attendants), she pops open the coat rack, hands me the case, back over my shoulder it went, and I strolled into the night........ now ... those were the days.
I am a frequent traveler - I have selected one belt because it is proved that does not ring any alarm at the security check in several German Airport (actually it did only once, I think they must have a threshold which can be changed and/or are sensible to meteo condition) anyway I managed to pass regularly wearing this dangerous item also in other European Airport.
My watch is in titanium for the same purpose.
This reinforced me the tough that you are asked to remove your belt (or watch)
to avoid the creation of queue because of people who has to pass twice in the control
because in the first the alarm rings.
Actually sometime - in Germany - I am asked about and I say not to worry, it does not ring.
This looks to be accepted.
One day I am coming back from Tel Aviv - pretty high in security - with connection in Wien,
in Tel Aviv I pass without problem in Wien I am asked if I have a belt.
"do not worry" - I say, and I pass
Alarm does NOT ring.
These guys wanted me to remove the belt and pass the belt at the x-ray,
a belt which did not ring first place.
At least they apologized saying that these were the rules.
Anyway while waiting my flight I notice the interesting .. personality .. of a girl,
very tall, possibly a 175 / 180 cm - nice miniskirt and a couple of quite high stiletto heels.
Examining more closely (for scientific purpose only, of course :-)) the shoes
I thought that in principle she could remove/tear the heels and easily kill/hurt someone.
Ah, last but not least - security check - late night, connection from long haul flight,
guy in front of me is really wear out - take off his bottle of water, shows to security
and says that he is thirsty and has to drink.
Security says no problem, so the guy take the bottle, drink and then board the plane with me.
Now, if half a liter of water is dangerous then it is dangerous also if just ingested,
and how about some liquid explosive ?
I wanted to challenge the security but the poor guy was tired so maybe i would have not understand the joke, but anyway...
A little while ago one of our trials engineers was returning after completing some installation work in a gulf state. He was on a commercial airliner, but one which was mostly filled with military personnel. At the start of the flight a Sargent Major type stood at the front of the aircraft and explained that as was the legal requirement, he was going to pass round a bucket, into which the soldiers were expected to deposit anything that could be considered "dangerous" such as pen knives, nail clippers, ice picks etc. He also managed to keep a straight face while pointing out that this did not include their assault rifles, side arms, any ammunition or bayonets!
Without fail i get my bags hand searched going through security at every british airport i've flown from. something taking about an eee, psp AND an mp3 player in a hand luggage makes me a terrorist?
The worst i've had is from Cardiff airport, where on 2 seperate occassions i've been told that a Kensignton Lock can be used to kill and/or restrain someone and was not allowed on the flight (chalked 2 up to expenses) and on one occassion that the cord on my eee charger was "longer than the permissable length" and could be used to restrain someone. That landed me i na heated debate, but "it comes apart in the middle", "i flew into here yesterday", "i need it for my laptop" all fell on deaf ears. one "nice" guard did let me leave to security, post it to myself, and queue jump to catch my flight ^_^
oddly a chrome-vanadium tipped tri-wing screwdriver was ok...
On various flights:
A teenth in his sock.
Golfball sized wrap of weed in the hold.
Lump of hash in condom pocket of jeans.
1L Volvic mineral water.
Moody looking electric soldering iron, complete with tip. Actually, they found that one, but The List only mentioned the tiny pair of needlenose pliers as they, unlike a soldering iron, are a "Tradesman's Tool".
He's gonna give them a whole HDD (minus heads+platters, plus... You guessed it!) in a removable dock with covering letters and other decoy props this summer. I'm thinking of setting up a "security" staff temping agency. Rentatard, or something like that.
The one with the http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1202/is-it-possible-to-make-an-undetectable-nonmetal-gun
The last time I flew somewhere, I realised (after getting to my destination) that I'd packed in my hand luggage:
* a folding knife
* a nail file (with a sharp point on the end)
* a pair of nail clippers (well known terrorist tool)
* a razor with spare blades
What did security confiscate? A bottle of hair mousse because it was a few ml over their arbitrary limit. Nice. Security theater, as they say...
This reminds me of the note we recently started seeing during logon at work, saying we must comply with the company's Internet code of conduct and such. Which is very nice, except that it isn't written yet.
Sorta like saying:
Corporation : Welcome to our company, condition of entry here says you must comply with our rules.
Employee: Sure, what are they?
Corporation: We're not going to tell you.
Last month I flew out of Ethiopia, and the guy in front of me, a chubby African man in his 50ies, put a fricking *handgun* on the X-ray. Don't know, maybe he was government or military, even though he was just wearing a business suit.
But what's the point of doing a security check if the guy is allowed to carry the gun on the plane anyway?
Oh, and I bought two tennis rackets at Dubai airport duty free and put them in my hand baggage. Well, I could have hijacked the plane with them (don't know, somehow?) but then it was going where I wanted to in the first place (home) so what's the point???
Oh, and there was a scary guy speaking Arabic on the plane! ... In the cockpit! ... Ok, so he was the Emirates pilot and both educated and paid to be there, but still!
Ok, to give this useless rambling an IT angle, on the same flight the inflight entertainment system crashed and it turns out they are running Linux.
And this is why I travel from the U.K to Europe aswellas around Europe by coach.
All the luxury of an air conditioned, extra roomy coach for a pittance. Might take longer but the scenery is great, more luggage can be carried, ferry trips are part of the parcel and customs officials don't worry about baseball bats, tennis rackets, electrical instruments and dodgy liquids...I carted my computer back from the Netherlands by coach (weighed a ton). Have a look at http://www.travelbudgie.com for some budget alternatives to air travel.
The flame icon because I am in it.
AC: "It's only a matter of time till some security moron tries to confiscate a really valuable brooch (say ten times the security moron's annual salary) because it has a "dangerous" pin."
Already happened. Except it wasn't worth 10x the id10t's annual gross - It was literally priceless:
(A WW2 vet and ex-State Governor nearly had his Congressional Medal of Hono(u)r confiscated.)
Cheese is banned. I had a very nice cheese confiscated by airport security. It was cheese FFS! What was I going to do with it? Ok, I can understand that playing tennis in an aeroplane might interfere with the pilot if the ball hit the cockpit door and distrated the pilot, so you need to confiscate tennis rackets. But cheese?
rotten rotten to the core is what our 'leadership' is. they've hardly even made an effort to hide that fact. RIDICULOUS is how i would describe all this rubbish nonsense.
these measures are not to try keep anyone safe, they are to fool us into thinking they are, meanwhile (apart from a few nice free items) it really all about FEAR. to always remind you to be fearful, so you will be compliant and not resist or question. how does a bully get away with it? only if the 'victims' allow it.
so, consider this. i have a brain which is one of the most powerful computers on the planet.. how dangerous is that? and to make matters worse it has control of 2 strong arms and 2 fast hands..
how will they confiscate these?
Cheese is banned because of D.E.F.R.A. regulations! It's illegal to bring any meat or dairy food products - and many other food and plant items - into the United Kingdom from countries outside the European Union. Something to do with Foot and Mouth, Bird Flu etc etc etc!
Most countries have rules like that in place - I know Canada does, although my dad did manage to carry an entire fillet of British beef in his suitcase through Toronto airport without a flicker from anyone!! It was the eighties, so no recent foot and mouth outbreaks and no mad cow disease!
Mind you, travelling between Manchester and India (regularly in the last 5 years) I have carried lighters, matches and various other banned items with nary a flicker from either the UK security lot (no surprise there!) or the Indian security (more of a surprise!).
Aberdeen airport. Passed through security with a bottle of contact lens solution. Fire alarm (false), airport evacuated. Back through security, same bottle confiscated.
I can see why anyone with reasonable intelligence would not do this job but please tighten supervision. If unemployment is going up now is a great time to run a staff improvement project. Train and test them all and sack the failures.
Any private black helicopters going?
Confiscated items do end up in the hands of the security staff, my father-in-law used to work at Luton Airport and a number of the security staff had a lucrative sideline at car boot sales.
What annoyed me was having a fountain pen confiscated during the liquid explosives scare nonsense. I wasn't allowed to carry it because it had ink in it and thats a liquid "sir". Squirted the ink on the floor, pointed out it was empty and they took it anyway.
Its a load a bollocks, doesn't keep anyone safe.
At Fiumicino they also make *arrivals* pass through metal detectors. Now, I've heard of people trying to smuggle dangerous weapons *onto* an aircraft, but never in the opposite direction!
Meanwhile, I can readily buy a litre of spirits at the duty free - very effective either as a Molotov cocktail or a hand-held weapon (in either broken or unbroken form).
"1st & business class normally get nice big glass bottles of wine laying about the place: not much effort to turn that into a weapon :P"
Probably cheaper just to buy some at duty free tho? :-)
Biggest problem I've ever had is carrying a zippo. Even that was precarious before the ban on every object conceivable. My last successful carrying of that I had to get permission from the pilot before carrying it on - the look on his face was along the lines of "why are you bothering me with that? just get on the dam plane"
Tho during the big ban times, I was flying to London City -> Edinburgh about twice a week for 2 months. On the penultimate trip they found a bic lighter in my flightbag - that I didn't know was there - that had presumably flown with me for the past 2 months. They confiscated it of course.
My most ironic one is India. They don't allow matches or lighters through security. But there is a smoking room at the departure gates, with people merrily chuffing away inside. Presumably it works like the olympic torch and will be game over when the room is empty for more than 5 minutes.
Or like me, found a pack of matches in my bag. Or rubbed two chair legs together.
Last time I flew I got into an argument with the jumped up fascists about this. In the end the security bod that appeared talked to me and thought I was OK, of course no-one apologised. I decided then and there, I have a choice. I will no longer use airports.
This country is sick, I look forward to moving somewhere civilised.
The point of all this 'security' theatre at airports is to reassure passengers that your government cares and is actively and visibly intervening at the point of departure to protect lives. Same rationale as ID cards and mega databases and with the same outcome: at least some of the highly motivated bad guys will still get through to their target.
Statistically air passengers are more likely to die as the result of a bird-strike, component failure, structural failure or a collision between aircraft, either on the ground or in the air. And all this despite rigorously enforced maintenance schedules, pre-flight checks and the deployment of anti-collision radar etc.
Once you take the first step on the road to madness you have an obligation to keep on walking, so owners of sharp-edged credit cards, debit cards, ID cards and store cards can confidently look forward to a mass recall and the issue of rubberised replacements. Thank you for flying with Wacky Airlines, your security is important to us.
"Statistically air passengers are more likely to die as the result of a bird-strike, component failure, structural failure or a collision between aircraft, either on the ground or in the air"
In fairness, they're not doing it strictly to protect the passengers - sadly these days it's more what they could do with control of a plane...
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
Says it all really...we're never going to be able to stop 100% of the nutcases, just like we'll never be able to stop 100% of prostitution/drug trade/insert favorite "War on..." euphemism here. The more we let them take our liberties from us, the more liberties they will take. The sad thing is that most people are too stupid to remember what has happened in the past when governments started taking liberties...to which another quote:
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -George Santayana
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