MavEtJu's Distorted View of the World

Airport-insecurity in the USA

Posted on 2002-04-02 08:26:40, modified on 2006-01-09 16:29:21
Tags: Rant

After 11/09/2001, the security at airports has increased a lot. Instead of just X-raying your luggage at the moment you pass a security line (often customs and at the gates just before you enter the plane), everybody now get a full search of your bag and are swiped with a wand.

Well, the above story goes for airports outside the USA (remember where the planes took off?). Everybody I've been talking to was fully checked and wanded on Schiphol Airport (the Netherlands), Charles de Gaul (France) and Sydney Airport (Australia).

Where our hand luggage wasn't fully checked and we weren't wanded was... in the USA! At the San Francisco (SFO) and New York JFK Airport (JFK), only a handfull of people were fully checked (lots of Middle-Eastern faces in that row). For the rest, nobody cared.

To make the story even worse for the airport security: My wife (an australian citizen) and I (a dutch citizen) bought our airplane tickets "cash" (Cash as in: not per credit card, but with a direct-debit card). That was bad thing number 1. I, with my dutch passport, bought a plane ticket in Australia to go to the USA. Bad thing number 2. Enough reasons to put a big S on my tickets. I could be a terrorist...

At the check-in at the airport in Sydney, the woman told me that I had a S on my ticket and that I would get checked before going into the plane. But since everybody got wanded and checked, it wasn't anything unusual. At the check-in in SFO and JFK I asked them about the S also and they said "no, no, all the additional checks are random". It would turn out to be very random: I got checked three out of three times, because I had a S on my ticket. My wife, who didn't have an S on her ticket, didn't get checked once in the USA.

After the first inter-USA trip we decided to speed up the process a little and that at the entrance of the gate she would carry the hand-luggage. Great idea, although it gave a couple of weird faces to the guards. But then, they didn't have to worry about it, they only had to check me, not my wife. One time even, while standing in the line to be checked, I realized I had a handfull of dollar-cent coins in my pocket and that the wand probabaly wouldn't like them. So I handed them over to my wife. Yes, while standing in the line to be checked for weapons.

So yeah... outside the USA all pigs are equal. But inside the USA? (Anybody remember where to WTC-planes have taken off?)

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