Mark Gillett

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Archive for August 2014

Airports – Heathrow Sucks

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I am constantly bemused by the lunacy that confronts me each time a travel through Heathrow Airport. I don’t think it would be nearly so bad if my experience was the same at each of the airports I travel through but its not. No matter where I am, the security checks are simple and respectful. Heathrow? Well, they are just unbelievable. Each of my last 3 or 4 journeys my bag has gone through the “extra check” line where it gets taken for a good swabbing and total empty out. Early on in the experience I was told it was the hard drives and camera and it was best to take them out with the laptop. So my next trip I did exactly this and in anticipation of a clear walk through I was again disappointed. I got stopped. So now I begin to get agitated and question why again?. 

“Well, sir we need to check”

“Yes, but why?”

“Because you have cables sir.” 

“Err, they are earphones, what on earth might you find in there?”

she ignores me and the search goes on, she searches my bag and returns and after 10 minutes I am on my way.

My next experience;

“Sir can I please have a look in your bag?”

“Do I have a choice then?”

“Well, you can say no but I will look anyway.”

“So, why are you asking me if you can look then?”

“Sir, I have to look in your bag! Can I please take a look”

“No”

“But Im going to have to have a look!”

“Thats fine but don’t ask me if you can look if you are going to look anyway.. Just take a fucking look!”

“Please don’t swear at me sir!”

“I didn’t swear at you, I swore, period!”

The search happened and after 15 minutes of wasted time I went on my way… A few more times I had similar experiences and one really nice indian lady who apologised profusely before the search but said she had to, so I just kept my mouth shut and smiled. However, this last one took the biscuit.

I arrived at T5 checked in with no more than hand baggage, got to security and took out my laptop, cables, earphones, hard drives and anything that might matter. By bag gets selected again!!

“Please, please, tell my why my bag is being searched?”

She ignores the question and asks if there are any object that might hurt her in the bag so I ignore her. She asks again to which I said “no” so she opens the bag and empties it out. “Will you please tell me why the search?” I emptied everything out that could possibly perceived as a bomb or determine that I am a jihadist! Please?”

“Its liquids sir” she said tersely.

“What? What liquids?”

“Here sir!”

“Excuse me? Thats a tube of toothpaste 2 inches long!” She then took it out put it in a plastic bag and ran it through the machine again. It was a miniature travel tube!

I have come to the conclusion that the UK Airport security services probably all share the same brain cell. It is not rocket science when determining who might possibly be a danger, who really cannot be a danger and who might be a grey area.  No other airport except American, of course, do I ever have such an experience. I am now on my way back to Heathrow which of course, will not be a problem but I really don’t know what to do next time. I think I will put each item in a plastic bag of its own, empty everything out at the X-ray machine, take three of the big trays and just see what happens.

 

Written by markgillett

August 26, 2014 at 8:56 am