Sunday, 31 October 2010

Pointless checking at airports?

There's been much in the news this week about checks at airports. From British Airways Chairman Martin Broughton slamming the checks the Americans insist on but don't bother implementing at many of their own airports to the news that the bombs found inside printer cartridges at East Midlands Airport had been partly transported on passenger flights and not just cargo flights as first reported.

I think I probably agree with MB mainly because of the number of times I've inadvertently gone through with things I shouldn't have and have gone completely undetected. I once kept my laptop inside my bag (you're supposed to have it checked separately) but nobody noticed. I have taken bottles of water through, a nail file, various liquids in excess of 100ml and once I even took a parliament bottle of whisky through. I should explain that none of this was deliberate, I just (like everyone else) forget what goes in the hold, what goes on with you and what needs to come out the bag for them to check separately.

Once I remembered after I'd been through and went back to confess to a bottle of water!

But the point is that each time my bag has gone into that machine that searches it and each time there have been contraband items (which apparently have the potential to do great harm) and they've never noticed.

And although I was obviously not carrying anything damaging, the same can't be said of those bomb containing printer cartridges. (Good on the person who spotted them at East Midlands.) I didn't realise the USA had insisted on the checks. Nor did I know that they don't carry them out themselves. It begs the question why we are "kowtowing" as Martin Broughton said, in the first place? I'm inclined to agree with Mr B. Why don't we just decide what checks are actually necessary and then do them properly? Simples as they say on some TV ad!

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