It is pretty tough these days getting even close to the once legendary enjoyment of flying. Even getting close to the departure lounge is enough of a challege for me.
Why do so many people have to carry so many items of baggage on to the plane? Why do we have to stand in line like cattle waiting to be sold at market for security staff to prod, scan and X-ray us – and just how much do they see looking at the insides of our suitcases?
Hell, yes – I know it is important and I know we have to protect ourselves against the mad, sad and plum crazy people out there that want to blow us up. But surely, there has to be a better way than this?
Last week, I flew from Gatwick to Tampa with my sister and her husband. She is old enough to be good and knows better than to be bad but they still took her aside and scanned her hip replacement and then proceeded to take her hand luggage apart.
I guess that I do not want to see full profiling such that all white males with a Harley Davidson or big BMW motorbike get pulled aside. Nor do I want to see a special line for Iraqis, Iranians or Muslims in general; but there has to be a better balance – my sister is not a terrorist threat.
Like it or not, potential terrorists do fit a pattern. Probably better stated, most passengers do not fit the terrorist profile. Elderly British ladies like my sister could, within an acceptable percentage of error, be excluded from the majority of the security procedures. The acceptable error test is not an unreasonable one, all flying, driving and using London Transport carries a risk which we already accept. So, can we at least get real and concentrate our anti-terrorist energies where they are needed most?
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JennyLamb, United Kingdom
28 April 2010, 08:02AM
I would be in favour of selective screening and even letting passengers have a say in the people they have concerns about. The sad fact is that I now do look at people in Muslim dress with suspicion. I am not religiously bigoted but saddly this sense of discrimination is something that Mulims have brought on themselves through the actions of a small number and the inaction of many.
Christine Roberston, Bristol, England
28 April 2010, 08:07AM
The sad thing about security is that it is mindless. I went through Gatwick last month flying to the USA and they were doing the random checks at the gate. I assume that they check every 10th or 20th person or something like that.
JenniferHadden, United Kingdom
28 April 2010, 09:03AM
British people used to be able to queue patiently. We learnt it from our parents who managed in much harder times of war. Now, people are always in a hurry and think it is me, me, me that is important. Let me tell them that it is not.
Brian Allen, Lambeth, London
29 April 2010, 04:13AM
The trouble with the idea of selective screening is who does the selection? If it were the same stupid people that manage the bins in our area and say how much we can put in and when and where they have to be put out then we would be in deep trouble. It is ok saying about common sense but so few people in authority seem to have any common sense.
MaryJo, United Kingdom
29 April 2010, 08:03AM
I agree that it is sad that we have to put up with all of this delay and standing in line but what are the alternatives? Until we can sort out the political mess, there are bad people out there that actually want to kill us.
Adrea Paine, Swansea, South Wales
29 April 2010, 09:59AM
I know what you mean. I am a mother and should be more tolerant of other people's kids but some parents really are self-centred, inconsiderate pigs. They must know that travel is stressful - why do they have to make it more so buy allowing their brats to run around out of control?
MaryOliver, United Kingdom
29 April 2010, 11:24AM
I have the same problem. I was stopped and had the extra search. I do not think that I look like a terrorist but they were very nice and apologetic about it. I hate to use the phrase but I guess they were only doing their job.
Kevin White, Slough
29 April 2010, 12:38PM
There were these three guys in front of me and they were middle-eastern of some kind and they knew that they stood out and were almost taunting the staff to pull them aside. I reckon if they had been stopped there would have been all kinds of fuss about them being selected because of how they look which would have been unfair on the staff as it was them that was calling attention to themselves.
Josh, Sevenoaks, UK
29 April 2010, 12:55PM
Iím pro to the latest extra security measures; we need effective deterrents. I had no problem removing my shoes at Heathrow security, very thorough.
Jane King, London, England
30 April 2010, 06:44AM
Do you really want this Government to be deciding who should and who should not be checked? Can you trust them to have the right balance as you call it? Any kind of selective screening has the potential to be abused.
K Mabjur, London
30 April 2010, 07:03AM
I do not want to be in a country that discriminates against people just because of the way that they look. People should not put up with this idea. We are all equal here and it is not up to an airline to say who is allowed to go or not to go.
JimmyBarber, United Kingdom
30 April 2010, 07:50AM
I do love these online debates - you get to hear such diverse opinions and views. Of course we have to use selective screening. If we are going to have the cost and disruption of screening then it has to be made as effective as possible. Screening and searching the author's sister was a waste of time and resource in the name of political correctness.
Pete Black, Cheltenham
30 April 2010, 08:53AM
Who wants to see dodgy looking people pulled aside and checked? I do for one. I just cannot see what is wrong with the idea. It is the Muslims that are causing the problem, I am sorry for the innocent ordinary ones, but they have to sort their own people out.
WendyBentley, United Kingdom
30 April 2010, 11:27AM
I agree that we should be more selective. I would be quite happy to look at 100 of my fellow passengers and decide which ones that I would be comfortable travelling with. I might end up with 50 'suspects' but it would be a good start.
DaveReiss, United Kingdom
30 April 2010, 11:34AM
It does piss me off that I have to go though all this security because of the so called "Islamic threat". We really have to decide, and I guess the Islams have to decide whether they want to be part of a normal society.
30 April 2010, 11:47AM
This is crazy. How can you say that you can tell who is and who is not a terrorist? What if someone has asked them to carry stuff onto the plane. I saw Bridgette Jones and you can see how easy it is to get conned not by the bad guys direct but because your friend said it was alright.
Andy, South Shields
30 April 2010, 05:28PM
No one should be excluded from the DFT security procedures. With such a large volume of travellers, there is simply no time for airport security staff to assess if each individual fits a terrorist profile.
Ken Thomson, Glasgow
1 May 2010, 07:13PM
We had the problems up here and it involved doctors. How can you believe that doctors who have gone through all that training and have to be pretty smart would get involved? If you were being selective, would doctors not be one group that you would think might be safe? One of them did not even look very middle-eastern.
1 May 2010, 07:21PM
There is almost a collective madness about terrorism. The harder we try to protect ourselves the harder they try to get around the protection. It is bound to happen again no matter how hard we try. So why do we bother and put ourselves through all this mess?
Laura Kendal, Berkshire
1 May 2010, 11:18PM
I find the whole security thing quire frightening. They did a body search on one woman and I would not want them doing that to me and I don't know if I can say no to it. It is so unfair that we have to go though all this. I get really upset for the people traveling with children.
JimmyBarber, United Kingdom
2 May 2010, 04:16PM
I already commented once on this and I have now read the entry from Ken Thomson about the doctors in Glasgow. I have to admit that when 'educated' muslims want to blow us up just because of the religious differences then it is necessary to focus on all Muslims. I am definitely not anti-Muslim. I have no knowledge about or interest in their religion. If they want to pray to Mecca then fine but I just do not want them trying to tell me what I have to do or wanting to kill me because I am a non-believer.
Helen Williamson, Exeter, Devon
4 May 2010, 01:21PM
I want to avoid being blown up but I do object to the search and scan procedures and the endless queues and delays at the airports. I do not know the answers but I would have hoped that there was a better solution.
Christine Petersson, Lincolnshire
6 May 2010, 07:36AM
This article and discussion is actually very important. There clearly is a risk and the terrorists are going to try to kill more people unless we are vigilant.
Jessica Law, Somerset
11 May 2010, 06:14AM
I am new to this site and just read this article and agree totally that we have to do something to improve the screening. I suppose that I would not want to target Muslims as I would not want to be targeted myself but we could certainly exclude some people and make the system better.
28 May 2010, 02:26PM
They cannot start stereotyping/profiling every Muslim passenger because of the small percentage of them that have committed acts of terrorism. The security measures are a pain but very necessary, no one should be excluded.
Sally Bartlett, Scotland
28 May 2010, 05:55PM
I think the new 'body scanners' are an excellent idea and the fact that you wont be allowed to fly if you refuse. Safety should be our top priority!!
Stuart T, Greenhithe
1 June 2010, 12:51PM
This new system is extremely necessary. On September 11, the hijackers all set off the metal detector alarm. Despite being checked with a hand-held detector, the screener failed to find the items that caused the alarm. They then all boarded the aircraft.
3 June 2010, 01:29PM
Admittedly it will be a little weird/embarrassing to walk through these new airport security full body scanners, but if it proves an effective deterrent to terrorists I'm all for it.
15 November 2010, 10:57AM
I think this is a no win situation. If security is clamped down then obviously checking in procedures are going to take longer but if they aren't then risk of terrorists slipping through the net is greater.
23 November 2010, 08:31PM
I agree with Charlotte. If security is abolished then the aircraft are going to be easier to attack when it comes to terrorism, but on the other hand if we do get checked we can feel reassured that the airport staff are working at their utmost ability to protect us.
25 April 2011, 12:01AM
How did we get into this state? Why do Muslims want to kill us? Can it really be that their religion tells them that they have to make us convert to their ways or have the right to kill us. That has to be stupid and it is hard to believe that they really believe it.
19 September 2012, 05:28PM
The sad truth is that the "terrorists" (aka criminals) have won. They are willing to take extreme risks for what they believe in, as we have become more and more risk averse. We've forgotten the risks people took to obtain or defend the freedoms we take for granted and now demand a perfect, risk free, environment in which to enjoy them.
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