The delicacy of the UK airport security

So here’s the story: it begins with an iPad and ends with lacy knickers with a flowery print. (I trust this is not too risque for philosophers.)

Heathrow has been inconsistent about iPads. I’ve taken one through concealed in carry on luggage about 4 times, and nary a word. But this spring it all changed. I was stopped and put in a line where one gets to watch the fate that awaits you.

At the same time, you may want to know that I didn’t have a direct flight and half expecting my luggage to get lost, I put a change of some basics in the carry on.

Now, what they do when your bag is seen as suspicious is to have you stand by it while they locate the most obvious offending object. In this case, the iPad. They take it out and send the bag back through the scanners. This is not enough, though. They then go through the bag, removing all items and, holding each up for all to see, and drop it in a container. The woman before me was in tears. I was pretty sure the items I had were very innocent, so I wasn’t worried as each was displayed before all those waiting. Then I was handed the bag and told to fill it. But it obviously had one more thing left in it. One thing that had not been displayed for the amusement of the audience. And that was – you guessed it – a pair of lacy, flowery knickers!

(Could it have been that they thought knickers for grandmother type are just too disgusting to display. That’s just occurred to me. O dear! Anyway, do know that we have today possibly identified two terrorist tools in the posts on airports: garlic and old ladies’ knicker, even if lacy and flowery.)

7 thoughts on “The delicacy of the UK airport security

  1. All my security experiences have been very minimal recently, thank goodness. Haven’t been through Heathrow in dogs years and I really wouldn’t want to. Manchester Airport is exceedingly lightweight.

    If I were the type who was actually prepared, I might try including some obviously over the top embarrassing item just for kicks.

  2. Sometimes when I’m waiting in the security line, watching people have their luggage rifled through, I day dream about packing a carry-on full of the weirdest sex toys (and something suspicious–so I guess an ipad for instance) just so airport security has to stand around trying to figure out exactly what it is they’re looking at.

    Actually…if you ran one of those sex toy party gigs, this could be a good way to get free advertising. You could loudly explain to airport security what everything is, well in earshot of scores of people. You could then wait in the area where people put their shoes back on and hand out business cards.

  3. When I was checking in to Logan airport on my last flight home, the guy at security was grilling me about what I did for a living. I told him that I taught at a university. He asked what I taught. I told him that I taught philosophy. My brother studied philosophy, he told me, and now he runs a bar. Not a very useful degree, he said, after stamping my passport and telling me that I should have studied something else. See, security does have your best interests at heart.

  4. The last time a TSA guy found out I was a philosopher he told me that his favourite philosopher was David Hume, and wanted to talk about the problem of induction. He promised he was going to get hold of some stuff by this David Lewis I was talking about. I hope I run into him again to see what he thought.

  5. On one trip to the US, I had a very inquisitive, somewhat suspicious guy who wanted to know what I was speaking about. The topic was unfortunately lying, and I told him that. After initially looking a bit more suspicious, he started to see the humour.

  6. one time I went through immigration (at gatwick, i believe) with two different immigration statuses in my passport: a student leave to remain, and a spousal visa with my British husband’s name, etc, typed on it. the border agent demanded to know which was I: a student or a wife. /facepalm.

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