Prague Twin

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Airline Security

On Sunday, I flew from Prague to Frankfurt and back. I was quite interested to see what it would be like with all the fuss over new security measures. Overall, things went pretty well, but my experience in the Prague airport was anything but uneventful.

I arrived at the airport just less that an hour before my flight. Prague is a very small airport so I usually don't even get there that early. I figured an hour would be plenty of time even with extra security.

While I was waiting in line, there were two very old Arab men in wheelchairs at the back of my line. They were accompanied by three younger Arab men who were dressed in a distinctly western style: designer jeans, designer sunglasses, dress shirts untucked. They were all arguing quite loudly which was attracting quite a bit of attention. One of the older men in the wheelchair was dressed in the traditional garb: all in white with a headscarf. The other apparently had had a stroke. He looked very confused and every once in a while he said, "ahhhh!" All of the onlookers, including myself, were somewhat concerned with the scene. We all laughed at ourselves for being concerned everytime the one man uttered his signature, "ahhhh!"

I got through check-in in 12 minutes, through passport control in 2 minutes, and through security in 13 minutes. Essentially, it was a breeze.

At the gate, I was in my little iPod world until a couple guys from the states popped a bottle of champagne (at 6:30AM) in a very unprofessional manner right next to me. The cork hit the ceiling hard and the pop was heard round the world (well, nearly). Then of course the champagne went all over the guy who opened it. Since I was in my iPod world, I guess my comment was heard nearly round the world as well. I said, "are you fucking joking me?" Suddenly everyone was staring at me instead of the perpetrators. I imagine it was dead silent and I was quite loud. Truly a headphone moment.

On the way back, security was a little tighter. It seemed that everyone in my line was searched: the two people in front of me and the person behind me. How I avoided a search with my 5 pieces of electronic equipment is beyond me. The girl in front of me with pens wrapped in gift wrap was having a serious problem.

But all of this is nothing compared to the hardships experienced currently in the United States and in the U.K. The only sensible response that I have heard so far came from Ryanair's CEO Michael O'leary who is threatening to sue British authorities for their draconian security measures. The most obvious example of a total lack of common sense was when a pilot was prohibited from bringing a pen on board because the ink inside is a liquid.

What is most disappointing is that all of this hassle is exactly what the terrorists want. It is even more disappointing in light of the fact that this foiled plot was probably doomed from the start.

As a comic aside, I am always making fun of my wife for her inability to throw away plastic bags (or recycle them as the case may be). But now, she already has 3 designer label carry-ons suitable for the Brave New World.

4 Comments:

  • Glad to have you back!

    The recent events sure have brought it home how vulnerable we are to all real and preceived threats to our collective security. I am just hoping, that in our panic and hysteria, we are not helping to do a major part of the job for those who want to harm us.

    By Anonymous pekka, at 1:00 AM  

  • Thanks for the welcome back.

    I think we are doing the work for them. That is the point I am trying to make but am doing a rather poor job of it.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 2:46 PM  

  • So, did the Arab guys have trouble with security?

    By Blogger Elizabeth, at 12:35 AM  

  • No, not at all. Prague is really mellow. It is where east meets west. I firmly believe that we will not suffer an attack because, for better or worse, this is a neutral zone.

    No one gets hassled here, except the gypsies of course.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:50 AM  

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