As a frequent North American air traveler, I know a thing or two about security. Every time I fly anywhere on the continent, I find myself at the mercy of the overzealous.
Airport security is a triumph of bureaucracy over common sense. The system should be stringently based on time-tested protocols and best practices. Instead, it relies upon individual interpretations and initiatives.
The result is a petulant and arbitrary security apparatus.
Here’s a list of my top airport security pet peeves. I’m sure you’ve experienced one of two of them yourself.
Shoes – Off or On?
I never seem to get it right. Probably because the rules are different every time. I think it depends on:
- The type of shoes you’re wearing
- How the security agent feels that day
- Age of traveler
- Your horoscope
No, seriously. Why is there not one simple, clearly delineated policy? Shoes on, or shoes off. Pick one.
Continuous Checking of Boarding Pass
I actually think some progress is being made in this area, but there’s still room for improvement. It’s a waste of both human resources and time to be checking people’s boarding passes again and again and again and again and again.
Think it doesn’t happen? My personal record is 12 times. It happened in Miami three or four years ago. (Atlanta takes the silver medal with 11 checks.)
Testing for Explosives and Other Nasty Stuff
Don’t get me wrong, I am fully in favour of this kind of testing. However, twice in the last year my knapsack has been tested before the security scanner, and then a few seconds later it was selected “at random” and re-tested. The re-test, for those who have not had the pleasure, is exactly the same as the initial test. And yes, the same person tested both times.
Security Staff Indifference
I understand that airport security may not be the most stimulating job in the world, but security workers complaining to each other in front of customers is bad form. More customer service courses and a better attitude will help.
Electronic Device Consistency
Laptops require removal from their bag 100% of the time. However, on two occasions I have also had to remove the battery. Sometimes tablets are required to be unpacked and sometimes not. Similarly, kids’ DVD players and other electronics may or may not require removal.
Again, one rule would save us all so much hassle.
I know, I know. These are ultimately minor complaints. We should all be grateful that we live in an era where we have the opportunity to get on a plane and fly halfway round the world in a matter of hours.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look to streamline the process.
As someone that treasures common sense, I value efficiency and consistency. I wish airport security did as well.