Re: Problem is, most airport security rules are stupid I perceive the "con" is a perception that Airports are safe when items are detected. Interestingly enough, I have never escaped liquids check at local New York airports, JFK or LGA.
What bothers me most is the personal intrusion of privacy by surveillance cameras, body scanners, drug sniffing dogs and the like. New York City Police (NYPD) partnered with Microsoft to create a huge network of cameras called DAS "Domain Awareness System". I think of it as "the Machine" from CBS' Person of Interest. It would take an unreasonable amount of manpower to comb real time data to apprehend criminals. Airport security rules are designed to prevent and deter.
An airport security blueprint for mass transit systems can over-extend the fractured judicial system. How will law enforcement officials manage the increased number of arrests for petty offenses?
Re: Mixed feelings here You raise and interesting discussion point here. Everything - companies, banks, schools, airports - is getting bigger because it's more efficient. And future cities will inevitably have many of these big things in them. Yet Schumacher's "Small is Beautiful: Economics as if people mattered" resonates more and more with people.
We have moved from when Henry Ford sold a million identical cars to a point where his successors sell a million different vehicles each built to order. We want to be seen as individuals not processed as a grey mass. Commerce and retailers are understanding that just as government looks to be more "efficient"
Re: Problem is, most airport security rules are stupid Nicole, the liquids thing is a con because as you and I have found the scanners can't see them. So innumerable people are put to inconvenience (and some airports sell the bags) displaying their shampoo for no purpose whatsoever. The real terrorist won't. Not that I can recall a bomb EVER being found by a security check.
What 9/11 and 7/7 proved was that terrorists can be creative. Maximum impact will always be achieved by doing the unpredicted thing at the unexpected time. Doing it again next week or a year later will always be much harder.
The best we can do is constant vigilance. And we are all safer when unstable travellers are relieved of what you call a box cutter and I call a Stanley knife
Re: Problem is, most airport security rules are stupid A few years back, I renewed my US Passport and was excited by the "chip" inside. Intel [the semiconductor company] has had much greater success with them!
Re: Problem is, most airport security rules are stupid I am, without question, a fan of "Technology." But consider this: I am an upper extremity amputee. This means, that I am equipped with a prosthetic device which illicits a security scenario made ever more complicated by "Technology." Full body scanners are never quite enough to satisfy airport security. A full pat-down, complete with a bomb test [for that hidden explosive material inside my prosthetic] is also required.
Periodically, I'm 'treated' to an x-ray of my prosthetic [a Supervisor's call at JFK [NYC]. But NOT in place at Bob Hope International Airport [Burbank, CA]!!!
Since full pat-downs can only be performed by female security personnel [in my case] this typically amounts to a 15/20 minute wait [BEFORE the events I've described herein] because the TSA has [it seems] far fewer female personnel.
Re: Mixed feelings here You note: "i deplore the trend towards ever-larger airports, particularly those designed by Richard Rogers. They are designed for airport managers not passengers." This strikes me as true [though I have far less experience travelling by air, than you]. Also, I note how this very sentiment rings true for schools in the United States. That is, insert school administrators in place of airport managers; students, in place of passengers. The unifying theme? Crowd Control in the 21st Century.
Re: Problem is, most airport security rules are stupid "The liquids game is a con."
Simon, what do you mean when you say it's a con? I'm in the same boat in that I've never had to go back and take my liquids out, but are you saying it benefits the authorities or airports somehow to have us have our liquids in little baggies? Or just that it's stupid?
Re: Problem is, most airport security rules are stupid It's important to give the security services some credit here - most potential terrorists are known before they get close to a flight but there's always going to be somebody who slips through the net.
It's interesting to look at airport security in extremes. Post 9/11 how many people would have got on a flight if no security existed? I'm pretty sure nobody. Security exists as a deterrent - if you feel the process is rigorous you're less likely to try anything. As a passenger you tend to feel safer. Conversely, too much and you're likely to seek alternatives (different airports, the train or staying put). Getting the balance right is key. Technology can help us get the right balance - people moving quickly and feeling safe.
Smiley and welcoming faces at an airport is an entirely different challenge. There's not many happy faces during security and customs but then again people generally look pretty glum at my local supermarket.
Re: Problem is, most airport security rules are stupid Airport security is trying to catch the half-witted attacker rather than the coldly calculating terrorist. I once accidentally took a 6 inch mower blade into Heathrow. Another time after I lent my wheelie case to my son I got through 3 different airports with his pocket knife before the 4th spotted it.
The liquids game is a con. I never once put my collection of liberated hotel hair shampoos into a clear plastic bag, and I never once got challenged in hundreds of flights.
The UK operated iris scanners for some years which was a boon for frequent flyers but the machines were quite slow and unreliable. The current chipped passports are supposed to be machine readable but so far I've never seen the machines actually in use amid rumours that the chip security isn't perfect.
Re: Mixed feelings here I spent a decade as a business traveller, initially around Europe but then also covering Asia Pacific. It was a delight flying out of Heathrow just after 9/11 when the flights were half full. As a professional passenger you get to have your likes and dislikes about airlines and airports and you develop ways of dealing with them.
i deplore the trend towards ever-larger airports, particularly those designed by Richard Rogers. They are designed for airport managers not passengers, certainly not the business passengers who pay for them. The old Barajas passenger terminal in Madrid was pretty horrid but exceedinly efficient to get through. The new award-winning Terminal 3 takes 20 minutes more to navigate and is poorly labelled. My current favourite is London City airport in Docklands which has a confined site, with a short runway and steep glidepath. It's mostly business travellers and is a joy, being close to the City and fast to get through.
I can understand the loathing of Heathrow but it's my local airport and I know how it works including how to avoid the traffic snarl-ups. The hideous visa experience is our revenge for the loss of the colonies and is equally reciprocated toward UK visitors at US airports. Waiting for 90 minutes behind a 747 load of Chinese tourists visiting Atlanta has stayed with me as an experience not to be repeated. A huge contrast to the choice of smiling officers that you see at Changi in Singapore
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