Crosscheck: Airports and Security

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jad Mouawad, airline correspondent for the New York Times, talks about how capacity and security have altered the experience of flying, and how the procedures change customer service.  


Jad Mouawad

Comments [29]

Pordy from Madison, NJ

Jjust flew from Newark to Seattle and back with 10 days of stuff for 2 adults and 2 toddlers. Security was a breeze and TSA folk were great, particularly in Seattle.

Jan. 20 2012 01:11 AM

None... NONE of the TSA crap checks for butt bombs or surgically implanted explosives...

Abdullah Asieri blew himself up trying to "ass"assinate (forgive me!!) Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef.

This is where the latest terrorisim technology has gone:

Jan. 19 2012 11:01 AM
Anthony from White Plains

The main beneficiaries of our post 911 airport security are the vendors in the terminals. I was a smoker following the shoe bomber incident I would be relieved of my lighter only to just buy another inside. Ridiculous!!!

I was singled out for enhanced screening in Paris simply because I looked suspicious. I had a stomach ache, was sweating and was anxiously looking around for a bathroom. I had no problem being screened in that case. I do have a problem with removing my sandals and my toddlers shoes.

Jan. 19 2012 10:58 AM
Drew from East Village

What perhaps don't know is that internationally flyers often go through "US security" at their transfer. They may clear security standards of the departure country and one they are going onto a US bound flight the international airport inplements US security standards. That's why no shoes, what haver you, in one country and then shoes once they board a direct US flight.

Regarding one city's security standards in the US vs. another, the TSA staff reflects the city tehy come from. NYC TSA staff are like Duane Read employees in NYC vs. Duane Read staff in Clearwater, FL.

Jan. 19 2012 10:57 AM
Ndidi Egeonu

Approximately 20 years ago, I was returning back to the US after living abroad for seven years and going to law school. While away, I missed the States terribly and couldn't wait to come home. After a 15 hours flight with a stop-over in Amsterdam where I became friendly with a Dutch family and spent time chatting about everything from religion, arts and politics we landed at JFK. I almost kissed the ground I was so happy to be back. To my dismay and humiliation I was pulled aside for a strip search. As I walked away, I looked back to the Dutch family. They had a look of horror on their faces. I can only imagine what they thought I was.
After the search the security personnel, a large guy, asked me what I was doing later that night. Later a friend explained that I fit the profile for victims of random searches in the early 90s - a young, black, African woman who could be a drug carrier! I always think about the poem that goes along the lines "I kept quiet when they came for you, until there was no-one to protest when they came for me."

Jan. 19 2012 10:57 AM
JAosn from NYC

The throwing out of liquids purchased from Duty fRee is not a fluke. My friend just returned from India and had bought a few bottles of Scotch which were then thrown out in Heathrow. My friend explained that they had been bought at duty free and shwed the receipt to no avail.

Jan. 19 2012 10:57 AM
Heleen Adam from Brooklyn

Could the experience of the woman at the Fargo airport be related to security dollars having gone disproportionately to small towns?

Jan. 19 2012 10:55 AM

Dorian, I fly from Europe to the US through Heathrow all the time --- they have the most stringent (and annoying) security procedures. You have to remove your shoes, you have to pull out electronics from your bags, you are recorded by several cameras at each station, and you are likely to be patted down after going through the metal detector. It also has the longest lines of any airport I've been in (terminal 5). Japan is similarly cautious in their airports.

Jan. 19 2012 10:53 AM
Jeff Pappas from dumbo

Yes lets make a stronger magnet to pull the needle from the haysatck instead of making the haystack bigger

Jan. 19 2012 10:53 AM
MM from NYC

Regarding the callers story of bottle confiscation. When traveling back internationally through Miami, we were directed to place any purchases in our checked baggage before moving on to the domestic flight.

Perhaps they did not get that direction

Jan. 19 2012 10:51 AM
Robert from NYC

Maybe the pace maker guy's pacemaker was noted on the flight over and on the flight back it was in the computer so he was ok'd?!

Jan. 19 2012 10:51 AM
jj from brooklyn

the woman from elal, where her daughter got the bottle confiscated, that is normal. if you change planes, even if you don't leave the secure area and you are flying internationally, they will take your stuff.

Jan. 19 2012 10:51 AM
Dan from Manhattan

At Moscow airport, arriving from New York, you go through security again, when transferring to another flight (same airline) even when that flight leaves Russia. Wonder how much this is done around the world.

Jan. 19 2012 10:51 AM

A total WASTE of time!!

Israel probably has the most threatened air travel conditions and none of the ridiculous TSA security circus AND, have NEVER had a 9/11!!

Jan. 19 2012 10:50 AM
Emily from Harlem, NY

I don't mind heightened security; it doesn't deter me from flying. However I don't feel as though heightened security equals heightened safety. Flying over the holidays my 4.0 oz of facial lotion was confiscated while my brother discovered (while we were on the plane) that he strolled through security with a pocket knife in his jacket.

Jan. 19 2012 10:50 AM
Genell Subak-Sharpe

I'm a white-haired, 75-year old grandma, and I find flying today a truly horrendous experience. I have artifical knees that trigger the metal detectors, so I'm pulled aside and subjected to what now is very unpleasant gropping. In fact, we teach our children that if someone tries to touch you that way, scream loudly or look for a policeman. I used to fly several times a year, and now do it only if it's absolutely necessary.

Jan. 19 2012 10:49 AM
Paul from Brooklyn

The airlines should be allowed to have riskier, less hassle flights. If we are adults and we consent, why not allow us to risk it? It's getting ridiculous, people have been flying for decades pre-911 with minimal incidents.

Jan. 19 2012 10:49 AM
RBC from NYC

@Helen from Manhattan: They screened you like that for one of two reasons: (1)you were the unfortunate randomly picked passenger that was subject to additional screening or (2)you bought your ticket less than 36 hours before your departure - most passengers that buy tickets close to their departure are subject to "secondary screening".

Jan. 19 2012 10:49 AM
Stephanie from Westchester

Sure, I like being safe but what I dislike is how I am now a prisoner for airport retailers. The liquid ban is a boon for the airport vendors. I hate throwing out water every time fly. We know we are going to be dehydrated flying so all I am trying to do is pre hydrate. Why must I be forced to spend money for overpriced drinks? What is the real likelihood that someone is going to repeat that specific terrorist act? This is hypervigilence rather than anything that makes real sense. And, by the way, if shoes are so important, then why are there exemptions for anyone? Children don't remove their shoes.

Jan. 19 2012 10:49 AM

I was recently detained for a while by homeland security guards at customs while coming into the country. I didn't want to answer all their detailed questions (I'm an American citizen) --- and they told me both that it was suspicious that I would exercise my right and that it was their duty to keep the country safe. According to the customs cards we fill out, their job is to prevent certain items from entering the country. It states it clearly on the card, in accordance with the reduction-in-federal-paperwork law (or whatever that's called). It also says I have the right to be treated with dignity and courtesy, which I wasn't.

Jan. 19 2012 10:47 AM
dorian from Manhattan

Can you guest comment on security in other, terror-prone, countries, such as Israel and the UK? My impression is they have stringent procedures but (if I remember correctly) don't require some of the procedures that TSA does, such as shoe removal.

PS I take the train to Washington DC rather than fly now, due to the inconvenience.

Jan. 19 2012 10:46 AM
Anna from NY

I was a frequent flyer all my life. After Sep 11 I became scared and slowly it developed into a phobia.
I don't fly any longer. Last year I took the Queen Mary II to Europe and used trains all the way to the Greek Islands.

Jan. 19 2012 10:46 AM
Dale from Manhattan

I fly less because of high cost and overcrowded flights. I don't mind the security checks. I accept them as part of safety.

Jan. 19 2012 10:46 AM
Pope Jon from Ridge, NY

A crude thermal nuclear bomb would take a 155mm howitzer cannon to set off the nuclear fusion in uranium. This would require at least a 40 ft shipping container and would not fit in your shoes or underwear. Considering only 3% of shipping containers are checked when entering this country, that's a 97% success rate. That's what should keep us all up at night...

Jan. 19 2012 10:46 AM
Nick from UWS

Brian, why don't you do a segment on the outright thievery of the TSA, and what they do with all the personal possessions they steal with impunity from the American public and keep for themselves.

Jan. 19 2012 10:46 AM

The new X-ray machines really freak me out. It's not clear that they're careful about monitoring the radiation levels, and it's not like the people that they have working the machines there are highly certified lab technicians.

Jan. 19 2012 10:46 AM
Becky from Albany

I hate the guilty until proven innocent assumption of TSA! It is complete theater and a huge waste of resources just to make people feel better without doing any good.

Jan. 19 2012 10:44 AM

a friend pays more for faster security

Jan. 19 2012 10:09 AM
Helen from manhattan

I was recently at an airport in Fargo, ND, and I went through the most rigorous screening I have ever experienced (and I fly often) in this tiny airport. It took about an hour total. I was patted down by 2 separate people, had all of my luggage searched (and I mean ALL my luggage, even the pockets of my coat where turned inside out), and then on top of that, while I was in line for actually boarding the plane, I was pulled out of line and had my hands checked with some sort of vapor pad. I've never even seen that happen before, I was shocked. Flying out of LGA, security takes 15 minutes.

Jan. 19 2012 09:31 AM

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