Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bizarre Airport Security Measure

I've just got back to Montreal from attending a conference early this week in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The seminar I attended on business incubation was really stimulating, and the hospitality of Haligonians was nothing short of overwhelming.

What really has me scratching my head, however, is the latest wrinkle in Canada's airport security regulations.

I had forgotten to pack my lighter in my luggage in Montreal, and had to pitch it into a big pile of discarded Bics when going through security. This I had expected. I was unable to find paper matches (still legal) on my last day in Halifax, so I bought a cheap lighter I wouldn't mind turfing before getting on the plane.

So when I passed through security in Halifax on the return leg of my trip, I dutifully handed in the lighter to the security guard and told her to throw it out for me. "Don't worry, dearie", she said smiling, "just hand her over for a sec". She whipped out a small zip-loc baggie, placed the lighter inside, and gave it back and said "now it's okay to take it on board".

I still have that WTF expression on my face as I ponder what possible deterrent to acts of terrorism simply encasing a lighter in a plastic bag any two-year old could open provides if taking an unbagged lighter was such a serious security consideration. Come to think of it, what does placing any of the recently permitted lotions and liquids in a baggie do for our safety? All I can think of is speeding up the inspection of said items by grouping them together.

Personally, I am glad for airport security, although I am no longer able to take a walker of panic-abating vodka on board the plane for the time being. I am not so much afraid of terrorists as I am of idiots and deranged individuals. If preventing someone from stowing a half-filled can of naptha from a camping trip means having my luggage opened up and inspected, I'm all for it. But as far as the carry-on stuff is concerned, I'm afraid the human brain is imaginative to dream up some Plan B to wreak distruction if they thought seriously enough about it.


Blogger Fuff said...

Madness. Ah well, they obviously thought that you don't 'look' dangerous :)

9:34 AM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Fuff: I thought "Danger" was my middle name. No, seriously, I've been doing a fair bit of flying lately, and the only bit of profiling I've witnessed is gender-based: a lot of women are having their handbags scrutinized heavily, but when I walk on with two computers, GPS, digital camera, cell phone, mp3 player and enough cabling to hook a small town up on Ethernet, yet I breeze through.

10:11 AM  
Blogger fairscape said...


Well you know, just as soon as someone builds a better mousetrap some one else will build a better mouse.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Nobody™ said...

The ziplock bag makes no sense.

2:44 PM  
Blogger marty said...

I'm thinking of trying this next time I fly:

I am going to pee into a bottle and try to take it on board. I suspect they will take it away and analyze it. This seems like a cheap way to determine if I am a diabetic without incurring a lab fee.

11:03 AM  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

I thought everyone knew that the protective force field around a ziploc bag will prevent any malfeasance involving the contents.

9:39 PM  

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