Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Airport Security

A quick nod to Greg Beaman for this story. A Ryanair flight was forced to make an emergency landing after a jar of mushroom soup in an overhead locker started to leak and dripped onto a passenger with a severe allergy to......mushrooms.

The story reports how the plane was forced to divert and make an emergency landing so the passenger could receive medical attention. Of more interest to me was how the jar of mushroom soup had made it through security checks and onto the plane? As a fairly frequent flyer I actually think the security checks are more of a psychological ploy to reassure passengers and conversely to keep them frightened than a serous attempt to stop terrorists. I have been through Newcastle airport many times carrying liquids in excess of the "100ml" limit and never been stopped once. My daughter on the other hand had a small spray confiscated at the x-ray machine despite it being quite clearly (to anyone with a sense of smell) a well known perfume. At the same check point I was passed through carrying 500ml of water and a screwdriver. Why a screwdriver you might ask? It was in an outside pocket of the bag and I'd forgotten It was there, until I arrived in Majorca and was unpacking.

Traveling back through Terminal 5 recently I had the joy of being photographed and apparently only the mess made by the baggage fiasco stopped iris scanning or fingerprinting being introduced from day 1 at terminal 5. No doubt the day will come and fairly soon, when DNA Tests are required to get on a bus! Airport style security at railway stations is already being mooted, so arriving at Darlington 10 minutes before the train is due too depart might soon be a thing of the past. If I'm going to a meeting in the west country its as cheap to fly down as to get the train and takes about the same time, even allowing for 2 hour check in at the airport. Make it as hard to get on a train as get on a plane and the time advantage for the train will disappear completely.

But, the question still remain. How did a jar of mushroom soup evade security? Just shows how the scanners, body searches and metal detectors are powerless in the face of a simple fungus!

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