August 10, 2006

I'm glad it's not my holiday this week…

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4778615.stm

Well, it seems the anti–terrorist police have done a fantastic job in preventing the plan to explode several plans mid–flight. All respect to them.

I find it slightly odd, however (and this may just be me being cynical) that the terror alert level has been raised to critical after the plans have been foiled. Let us quickly examine what the "Critical" status means:

an attack is expected imminently and indicates an extremely high level of threat to the UK

So, was the plot foiled or not? What attack is expected imminently, if this plot has been stopped? And with this plastered all over the news, you'd have to be a very stupid terrorist indeed to try anything today.

I only wonder how long the alert will stay raised. One thing's for sure, though; anyone travelling through a British airport in the next few days is going to have to leave bags of extra time in order to make it through security. They're hand–searching everyone, for fuck's sake, and God knows how much of a hold it causes when one person has to be hand–searched!

Ho hum, the joys of living in a "free" society…


- 3 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. God knows how much of a hold it causes when one person has to be hand–searched

    Hand searches do indeed take lots of time, and I encountered an extreme example of this I was in the US a few months ago:

    While in the check in queue, I was approached by a Homeland Security guard who asked to search my baggage. He took my suitcase and hand baggage to a table where it was meticulously searched by hand before I even checked in. Then, once I got to the front of the queue, the guard brought my bags over to the check in desk. I was not allowed to touch or handle my hold luggage. The check–in agent, checked me in as usual, but the guard was the one who had to put the baggage tags on my suitcase and load it onto the conveyor belt. And before you ask, I wasn't singled out – every passenger in the queue with me had to do the same thing.

    When I got to the security points, I again had my hand baggage searched. My laptop had to be turned on and off in front of security. I had to take my shoes off and they were checked both by hand and put through the x–ray machine. I had to under go the same process again (minus the shoes and laptop) before I boarded the plane. At all points in this process my passport and travel documents were checked.

    In total, the additional checks probably added at least another hour onto my time through the airport (which was Los Angeles if you're wondering), on top of the recommended 3h check–in time advertised. My guess on my experience is that there were probably suspicions about my flight/carrier/passenger manifesto hence the strictness in this instance.

    10 Aug 2006, 11:45

  2. Sorry – my HTML didn't work there – the first line is the author's comment!

    10 Aug 2006, 11:46

  3. Harry

    Actually I know its a pain, but its not as bad as it sounds. It only took us an extra 10 minutes to get through checks last thursday and by the time we flew they were even letting us taking sensible bags.

    The bit that frustrates me is that I cannot take my water etc on the plane, even if I am prepared to test it in front of them, yet the person behind me can take his cigarettes on… although has to give up his lighter? Where is the sense in that….

    24 Aug 2006, 17:17


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