diamond geezer

 Tuesday, January 05, 2010

I'm not very good at flying. I can cope with the taking off and the landing, and with varying degrees of mid-flight turbulence, but I'm completely rubbish at the security check before boarding. I dread it, because I always mess it up. I fear it, because I'm usually made to look like a guilty idiot. And I hate it, because it's so bloody pointless.

I've made two domestic flights over the last few days, one to Edinburgh and another back to London. And I tried ever so hard not to make a show of myself. I packed my belt in my hand luggage, even if that left my trousers a bit loose. I packed all my liquids in my suitcase, because I'd rather not struggle with the latest instructions on what is and isn't permitted. And I thought I'd emptied my pockets of everything metal into the plastic tray before walking through the arch. But no. Beep beep beep. Dammit.

"Would you take your shoes off please, sir?". Sigh. Here beginneth the Security Wand Ballet. I stood with arms outstretched while a dour uniformed bloke waved his detector over my body, then underneath one foot, then underneath the other. I was treated to a full minute of human puppeteering, checking nooks and crannies here there and everywhere, ultimately to no avail. I'm sure all the other passengers in the hall were watching my performance - I would have done if I'd been them - and I felt belittled by the experience.

I then struggled to reassemble my composure, and my belongings. Keys back in that pocket, phone back in the other pocket. And, er, those coins, and this pen, and my jacket, and a pair of shoes to lace, awkwardly, slowly. Plus I'd been forced to take my laptop out of its case earlier, which had displaced a few more loose bits and pieces, so all of this still had to be repacked ready for boarding. I spent longer blocking the post-arch conveyor belt than I'd spent being electronically frisked in the first place. How useless did I feel?

I was more fortunate on the trip home, but one of my travelling companions had to stand around while his shaving gel was ostentatiously confiscated. There were only few last squeezes left in the bottle, but the printed capacity when full exceeded 100ml so everything had be chucked away. No lives were saved, but several petty unbending regulations were duly ticked.

In-flight security is important, I know, because everyone likes to travel secure in the knowledge that their plane shouldn't explode in mid-air. But much of the hassle we now have to endure before flying is pointless hoop-jumping, merely to ensure that some one-off bonkers (foiled) plot can't happen again. Just because Lucozade bottles and nail scissors could potentially be used to bring down a plane doesn't mean that anybody's actually planning to do so ever again. Especially not on your flight. But let's throw them all away anyway.

I bet I carried something on board which in a few years time will be deemed a totally unacceptable security risk. Shoelaces perhaps, or a wristwatch, or some other unlikely artefact that one single useless terrorist will attempt to twist to some evil end. No matter that their attempt will probably fail, and that the associated risk will be virtually zero, we'll all have to amend our behaviour and follow ridiculously stringent additional regulations before being allowed to board an aeroplane. Security only ever seems to ramp up, not down.

At least other forms of travel aren't yet the preserve of irrational kneejerk paranoia. Want to blow up the train to Edinburgh? Nobody's stopping you. Fancy crashing your car into a petrol station? Go ahead. But want to board a plane carrying a tube of toothpaste? Expect to be singled out, reprimanded and publicly humiliated. This global security charade puts me off flying far more than any eco-carbon campaign. And it can only get worse. Better safe than sorry? Or sorry to be playing so safe?

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this month?
28 Jan – 23 Apr (10am-4.30pm)
Sussex Modernism
The sixth annual exhibition at Two Temple Place focuses on radical art/writing in Sussex, and is damned excellent.

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Feb17  Jan17
Dec16 Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards