Rumble: Airport Security... Eh?

When coming back from Kuwait, checking in for our flight to Rome, we went through the first security control, at the entrance of the airport departures building. I put my bags through a large Xray machine, and stepped through the screening frame. It beeped, as I still had my mobile, wallet and coins in my pockets. I had not even taken off my heavy overcoat. The security guard did not blink, gave me a quick superficial frisk while was smiling at Liz, one of my travel companions: “Hey habiba, where are you from?” I could have carried an AK47, he still would have had more attention for my blond (female) colleague.
The second security point was just a check if you had a boarding pass, after which you got into the tax free shopping area. After immigration, came the second Xray check. I was about to take off my overcoat, and the security guy waved me through ‘Habibi, jalla, jalla!’ (My friend, fast, fast!). When he saw I hesitated, he smiled at me ‘Come, come. It is ok!’, referring to the overcoat I had half-pulled off. Of course the ‘thing’ beeped. This time, he did not even frisk me. Just smiled at me ‘It is ok, habibi!’
It seemed the real security check was to happen at the boarding gate where two guards with utterly bored faces, asked me to take off belt, shoes, and coat, but only gave the Xray screen an occasional look…
Hmmm… security is only as good as the people who have to enforce it.

Or maybe not… Maybe the machines also play an important role in the dis-security. I remember in Islamabad, Pakistan, shortly after 9/11, we had to push our stuff through a monster Xray machine as soon as we entered the airport building. The machine hardly ever paused, and the security guards seemed to enjoy to see stuff jammed off the belt at the end. A guaranteed mess, certainly as people there were not known for “travelling light”.
One day, I could see the screen of the Xray machine, reflected in the glasses of the guard. I thought I saw the screen flickering as if it were defective. I got suspicious, and while I was grabbing my bags from the pile, I bent forward to see the actual Xray screen. It was as I had expected: the screen did not work, apart from ‘snow’ it only had large horizontal stripes scrolling over it, like an old TV which had lost it signal. The thing was defective, and the whole security setup was only a show..!

Talking about pre-flight security. The funniest was in Teheran-Iran, where during one visit, I had to take national flights regularly. The pre-boarding screening was done manually. You disappeared, with a guard, in a small cubicle, with curtains at two sides, and the guy would frisk you. It seemed it was always the same guy, who frisked me. And he did it very… eh… thoroughly. He clearly liked the body contact, and would hold me really close when frisking my back, standing in front of me – rather than having me turn around… The last thing he always did, was softly squeezing my private parts, while giving me a wide wink and smile. Hmmm…

Anyways, on the flight from Kuwait to Rome, the view from the plane onto the remote areas in Iran was astonishing. Some were like we were looking at the world, from a space ship.. A sample I wanted to share with you...
Iran from the airIran from the airIran from the airIran from the air

1 comments:

Worldman 22 January, 2008 03:33  

There is not much to add to what you said. But: Geneva Airport. Technically everything works fine. The lady watching the screen does not see my potential bomb. She has turned her head to the right (or left) talking to her colleague. Probably about the fight she had with her husband in the morning.

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