I went to Barcelona for a short four-day break the other weekend, mainly because it was cheaper to visit than almost anywhere within the UK. You’d never guess that fuel is expensive and flying is bad for the environment, would you?
I hate flying. Well, I hate the airport part of it. Specifically, the security. I say security because that’s what they call it, though it’s only tangentially related to actual security.
Airport security is demeaning, arbitrary, and inflexible, and it’s even worse since they started turning the metal detectors up to 11. It’s rare that I get through with my trousers still held up. I’m a skinny guy: I need my belt! Shuffling through with my trousers round my arse doesn’t make me feel secure, just oppressed and a little ridiculous.
Hell, airport security almost makes me want to blow shit up. I don’t think that’s the intended effect. (Wait! I didn’t mean it! Please don’t arrest me for thoughtcrime!)
You know already that airport security is ridiculous. It’s less concerned with addressing genuine threats than with visibly deterring the last failed plot. So an unrealised binary liquid explosive plan means no liquids over 100ml. A shoe bomber who never got his shoes to ignite means that we have to take off our shoes and have them X-rayed.
But what really proves the futility of it is the fact that the people enforcing the rules have stopped thinking. The man in front of me was sent back from the metal detector because he had a glasses case in his pocket. The agent insisted that he send it through the machine. Another agent, the one feeding the baggage into the machine, looked at the offending glasses case, opened it to show that it was empty, rolled her eyes, and complained to another colleague about the absurdity of it.
And then she put it through the machine anyway.
All the terrorists need to do to get round airport security is to think, because the people at the checkpoints aren’t!