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Planes, Trains and Automobiles July 7, 2008

Posted by davidit in Uncategorized.
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By the time I get home to Auckland I will have been away for 16 days traveled on:

8 planes

18 trains

12 cars/taxis

I will have been processed by 7 different airports.

I am writing this at Terminal 3 at Heathrow airport, waiting for my flight and taking some time to reflect on the last 16 days. I have seen much and experienced much that alarms me; principally the erosion of civil liberties masquerading as personal safety that is the London airports security experience. Have none of these people read 1984? Even the tone and tenor of the security announcements sound like Big Brother, cheerfully malicious. I have half expected to find room 101. I found this sign tucked away at Gatwick and could not resist taking a photograph of it, I find this whole thing chilling.

It is bad enough that the Americans have seen fit to ride a coach and horses through their own hard won constitution in the name of security and then have the temerity to call it the Patriot Act! But in the land of the Mother of all Parliaments to do so too is alarming and smacks of toadying.

I guess that for most travellers the whole experience is a once a year inconvenience as they embark on their annual holiday, but I have experienced at first hand the security procedures for three of the four London Airports several times in just a few days and I can tell you that the procedures are not consistent! It amazes me that people are so passive about it. I was given the hurry up at one security scan point recently and I gave the official a load of verbal. I told them that as their system had required me to practically strip naked to go through another security scan, they could bloody wait until I was good and ready to move on once I had ensured that all that I had unpacked, removed and re-distributed in order to satisfy their requirements, had been put back in its rightful place by me and if they had to wait so be it. And wait they did, I made sure of that!

It seems to me that this whole thing is a classic bolting the door after the horse has long gone. The American’s ignored their own intelligence to their own cost; now the rest of the travelling world is inconvenienced as a result and no doubt the additional cost of the security proceedures, put in place to make us feel safer are hidden in increased travel costs. I never felt unsafe before and I think that I have been through enough airports in my time to say that. I know that I am more irritated as a result of the increased control measures, and lets not beat about the bush here, it is not about security it is about control.

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Comments»

1. Kat - July 8, 2008

I agree! I can’t understand why I have to remove my shoes and belt to fly into London but not to fly out of London. Why my gold bangle sets of the alarms in some airports and not others, and why I had to remove it for security checks flying from London to Edinburgh. Are some cities and their populations deemed more important than others? I wonder what it’ll be like flying to Bergerac in a couple of weeks?


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