British Airways Chairman Willie Walsh while having a go about Heathrow and politicians dithering about the third runway tagged on a complaint that UK Airport Security is a joke. He said it is becoming so extreme that passengers could soon be forced to walk through scanners, dressed in hospital gowns. He claimed that many checks, including rules on liquids, were unnecessary and simply caused long queues.
He added that Security is still the most frustrating part of the customer journey that I experience. It is also the area that frustrates our customers most. “You are still taking your shoes off, which I’m sure is not necessary”. “We’re taking everything out of our bag when there’s technology which can deal with that”. He added “In 10 years time you will have to go through security in a hospital gown. You won’t be allowed to wear clothes” He said “Sometimes you have to take your iPad out, other times you can leave it in. Some tell you to take your shoes off others to keep them on. Why is it I can have my iPad in my bag this time but not the next time? These are things that make no sense”.
I must agree that I have experienced the same frustrations as Mr Walsh’s customers but always have a niggling feeling that I would rather go through this ritual than risk being blown out of the air. Another voice is telling me that the terrorists have won the battle without doing more than a make few half hearted attempts and the delays they cause by ensuring extra security and expense is their target.
Gatwick Security – timeline last week. As usual my prosthetic knee replacements set off the alarm but instead of the usual surly no-neck jobsworth who I normally encounter I was dealt with a friendly human being. He said I’m afraid I would have had to search you anyway even if you hadn’t set off the music because you are wearing a hoodie – when I quipped back ‘surely that’s discrimination’ he actually laughed and said ‘yes its very suspect, you’re much too old to wear a hoodie.
A quick rub down followed by an x-ray to check the knees with more friendly banter. He pointed to a metal Armed Forces Veteran badge pinned to my chest and said ‘That gave a bit of a buzz but I’m glad to see that you are wearing it with pride. Have a great holiday”
What a breath of fresh air! Now if all the security personnel were human beings Willie Walsh’s customers would have little to complain about.