Airport Security

New aviation risk: pleats – Boing Boing

If this is true (and I have no reason to suspect that it isn’t) it would be typical of the process used for “securing” our shared transport infrastructure. Recent comments by Martin Broughton about the state of this hinted towards the ad-hoc nature of the rules (is an ipad a laptop?)(although as a side note, this is an accusation I would level at legislative bodies more generally), which of course are applied differently in different airports (do I take my shoes off? what about my belt?) and lead to confusion on all travellers, including those of us who fly a lot.

Whilst taking off over-clothes (jackets, &c) is natural and expected there will be incidents with clothing of multiple layers and pleats (or maybe just thick material) where this will lead to difficulties. I can also imagine a number of cultural implications of this – within English law, during a stop and search, for instance there are items of clothing that can be removed in public and others that must be removed in private (as you’d expect). I have never seen (in any airport) facilities for me to remove clothing in private, then pass through the scanners (and maintaining my modesty from other passengers). The reality is that this isn’t an issue for me, but I can easily imagine persons of certain culture where this would be inconvenient or offensive – without picking out the obvious situations where someone may be fully covered, what about a Scotsman in traditional dress (kilt and nothing underneath).

As I write there’s a comment on the boing boing page linked to about restrictions on clothing in future which is interesting. For regular travellers I wonder already how much clothing choice is dictated by the demands of airport security – slip on shoes, non metallic items (never mind the liquids – not that the security people ever notice) etc. How much inconvenience are people willing to put with?

Ultimately there will need to be changes – this relentless march towards “security” can’t last forever.