12 Apr Airport Security Fun
We’ve seen in the media recently how ridiculous airport security checks have become. For me however, this isn’t anything new. I’m a young British male of Pakistani descent. Yes that makes me a brown guy who also happens to have the surname Hussain. How fun do you think airport security is for me?
I take all this with a pinch of salt as there is no point getting worked up about it. I just joke about it all now. Here are my personal highlights:
On a culture experience in Prague (read: lads holiday) I was taking my return flight home via a classy EasyJet flight. There were six of us; five white guys and me the token Asian. We all had hand luggage and I was the last one through security. Everyone was fine going through until suddenly, “Sorry Sir you’ve been randomly selected for a bag search”. Random selection huh? In front of the queue all my personal belongings were taken out and any liquids (all of which met the regulations) were individually tested for explosives. The cherry on top was of course my friends standing there laughing at me making ‘bomb jokes’. I love my friends.
Upon arrival I was treated to a ‘pop quiz’. They were convinced that my passport didn’t belong to me. I mean sure I’ve got a lot prettier since my passport photo was taken but it still looks like me. I was then tested on all the different aspects of my passport, the visas and the like. Thankfully I happen to know my own name and date of birth off by heart. It was touch and go for a while but I finally passed the test. Strangely I had to do this twice in two weeks!
Flying to Texas I was taking a Continental flight via Birmingham. I arrived really early so the airport was practically deserted. There were two guys at passport control, one white and one black. I was the only one walking down the winding queuing system and as I approached the black guy ‘whispers’ to the white guy “watch out for this one”. Being empty his whisper turned into an echo, so yeah, I heard. Sure enough as I approached, the white guy said to me “Sir, we’re going to need to check your hand luggage for any explosive devices hidden in electronics”. I was actually cheeky and asked why to which he replied “random selection”. Oh that old chestnut. Being the only one there I suppose with random selection the odds were pretty good that it was going to be me…
Los Angeles, USA
The was my first time entering the U S of A. I’d just got off an overnight flight from Fiji when sure enough passport control decided to pull me aside where a Hispanic woman gave me the grilling of a life time. It took about three hours in total until I was freed. They asked me everything and I mean everything. Where had I been (I’d been travelling for a year, that was a long list), what my parents do, what my grandparents did etc. The list of questions were ridiculous! Again, not the smartest move, I asked “why me?” to which she just held up my passport and tapped where it said “Hussain”. I’m sure Barrack Hussein Obama doesn’t get this much trouble at the airport…
Now to be honest I get this pretty much at every airport. It makes air travel certainly a pain in the ass. Like I said I take all of this with a pinch of salt. You have to see the amusing side and I know to expect it after doing something like 40,000 miles last year. I get it, I really do. If you had to “randomly select” a suspect from a line up, unless there was another guy next to me burning an American flag, you’re going to pick someone that looks like me. It’s interesting that ‘the fear’ really hasn’t subsided and it’s still the same as 5 or 10 years ago.
Now I’m not getting all uppity about prejudices, discrimination, generalisations or stereotypes. I’m actually just trying to make light of one of my own personal travel experiences. If I have made any “boo boo’s” with regards to political correctness in this article, please forgive me. I can never keep up with political correctness these days anyway. Last I heard you’re not allowed to sing bah bah blacksheep in schools anymore?!
What was the purpose of writing this? Well it’s just another point of view you may have never considered about travel or life in general.
I’ll be going back to the states later this year, I wonder how that will go…