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On air: Why should the US decide your airport security?

Claudia Bradshaw Claudia Bradshaw | 14:35 UK time, Thursday, 28 October 2010


This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 28 October. Listen to the programme.

This blog post was written by WHYS editor Mark Sandell...

I've just flown into Belfast from London Heathrow this morning. A one hour flight from one part of the UK to another. Before boarding the plane I had to put all my luggage (when I say 'all' it was just a plastic bag but that's not important) through a scanner and had to remove both my belt and shoes before being allowed to go airside.


 Standard form of course and no bother (as they say here), and all in the interests of security. The shoes of course have become a standard part of the checks since a man called Richard Reid tried to detonate a bomb in his footwear on a flight from Paris to Miami nine years ago. And of course we can't take liquids on board since a plot was uncovered to assemble bombs on board transatlantic airliners in 2006.

If I'd been flying this morning between, say Boston and Los Angeles, I may not have needed to remove my shoes. If I'd been flying out of Israel I may not have needed to leave all my moisturisers and face creams at home.

So why is there one rule for the rest of the world and another for some domestic flights in the U.S.A or in Israel where the authorities "profile" people to decide whether there's a security risk?


British Airways chairman Martin Broughton has led the way for changes to be made - after suggestions that the UK was the USA's "poodle" and the British Government look like they may agree.

Is it time to ease off the security a bit? Would profiling - hated by some people as a way of discriminating against certain ethnic groups or religions - be a better and more efficient way? Why should a family off on their holidays - or a business executive who travels the same routes regularly - be subjected to the same scrutiny as a suspected terrorist?

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