Thursday, October 28, 2010

Is it time for change at airport security?

Katie Silcox author
In the UK, there’s a growing clamour for change. As anyone who has flown recently will know, getting from check-in through to the departure gate can be a lengthy process.

British Airways’ chairman, Martin Broughton spoke out earlier this week saying that some of the current security checks are ‘completely redundant’ and should go.

He described airport security as a ‘layered’ approach, whereby ‘every time there is a new security scare, an extra layer is added on to procedures’ and that there are ‘European requirements, there’s UK requirements and… US requirements laid on top of that’.

Airports are backing Mr Broughton’s call for change.
Inside Heathrow airport
Initial checks are carried out after you’ve checked in and before you pass through to the departure lounge. These involve a number of processes including asking all passengers to place liquids under 100ml into a see-through carrier. Liquid containers that are over 100ml must be disposed of. Additional checks are sometimes carried out at the departure gate, notably on UK to US routes.

Then there’s the question about electrical equipment, do I or don’t I remove it from my hand luggage? For that matter, do I or don’t I remove my shoes? Coat? Scarf? Our experience tells us that the answer isn’t exactly clear, with individual airports acting in different ways, at different times.

We’ve even come across extra checks at the departure gate where security staff ask around 50% of passengers to remove shoes again and to take a sip from their departure-lounge bought drink.
No wonder we’re all getting so confused.

But should we be getting annoyed at the security process if it is just that – a process of security. If it’s keeping us safer when we fly then surely that’s a good thing?

Or is the blanket security check out-dated and in need of change? Could we look at having more intelligent checks instead of the mass checks that seem to be putting all passengers out?

We want to know your opinions. Should we leave airport security teams to do what they consider best? Or is it time to update old systems?

Let us know in the comment section below.

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