Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Heathrow Security - A Joke?

I see the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have grumped about the apparent security mess at Heathrow. Glad they have said what the rest of us were thinking. Especially when they seem so out of step with everyone else. Especially the ridiculousness of the one bag rule. Never mind that the screeching middle aged women (whose families are no doubt glad they are at work) telling you that only one bag is allowed have no idea why. In fact yesterday a BA cabin manager, when asked, had no idea why the rule was imposed either. Most folk, myself included, are happy to buy into an amended rule or process if we know why. We aren't all dullards from Brixton going to Spain for our annual Vitamin D dose. In the last six weeks I have transited Heathrow twice. Each was a horror experience.

In the first case I was transferring to BA to travel to Europe. With a small bag and laptop, both security cleared through Sydney AND Singapore. Sadly Mrs Bucket thought that was not enough and one or the other had to be consigned to the hold. OK for me in that case but very tough for parents and other travellers with extra bags who suddenly had get everything into a single bag. No warning. It is something you discover after you depart your aircraft and are attempting to reconnect to another flight. And you find yourself in along queue for 30 minutes before the rule is barked at you. Leave the queue to check in one of the pieces at a separate counter and then rejoin the queue. I was sweating making my connection.

In the second instance (yesterday) I was departing Heathrow for the US - this time with laptop and samples. No go. Repack. Again no warning for the first time traveller but I was partially prepared given the previous experience going to Europe. Strangely British Airways reckons it is a government imposition. I thought it was an airline rule and could understand it being in place as a result of some sort of cabin management effort. Any security experts out there with any idea why this rule is helpful?

Heathrow is a second class shambles at the best of times. But this new imposition only creates staggering queues (legendary enough to make it onto YouTube) and convinces the cynic in me that these devices are employment ploys - designed to employ middle aged harpies who feel the need to boss a bunch of tired travelers around. Trouble is, these days you can't give them a piece of your mind. If you do there is every chance you will be in breach of some sort of anti terror legislation. Off to Guantanamo Bay, you with the two (small) bags and smart lip!!


Anonymous said...

I have never been outside my front yard. Your story is quiet funny. I'm hearing what you're saying. Happy travel.

Pickled Eel said...

Mate, you have been to let's see, Raymond Terrace. Newcastle. Umm, Sydney. Brisbane. Beaudesert!! Canungra. You've been everywhere man... But you would find Heathrow about as fun as a frosty pair of gumboots with no socks. Just like I did.

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