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6:36am on Saturday, 12th March, 2011:

Unnecessary and Tedious


Well my arrival in Dublin wasn't a bundle of laughs. It shouldn't have been too hard: it was just a simple change of gates. However, before going to the gate I had to present my passport.

I had to present my passport because some guy in a uniform said that people English people flying to England had to do that. I think he would have included other UK nationals too, but he said English. OK, so I queued, presented my passport, and was sent round to where all the non-English people on the flight had already gone 10 minutes earlier. On my flight there were about a hundred schoolkids travelling to Britain. I found myself at the end of a 100-person queue.

The queue was for a security scan. The Irish authorities must have figured that we could have picked up weapons on the flight from Boston or something... There was only one X-ray machine there, and they were X-raying everything — belts off, shoes off, liquids out, laptops in a separate tray, the works. I'd been subjected to a backscatter X-ray in Boston, but that clearly wasn't good enough.

When it finally got to be my turn, they pulled me over. My bag had an umbrella in it. I had to take the umbrella out so they could open it. I warned them it was wet (I had it in a plastic bag) but they opened it using the switch and subsequently sprayed water all over. I asked why they had a special interest in umbrellas. They said it was because they could be used to conceal weapons. Well, as they classify knitting needles as weapons, I guess they could. Even the Americans didn't ask me to take my umbrella out.

All in all, it took an hour to get from the plane to the next gate because of entirely unnecessary and inadequately-managed security measures. I shan't be flying from the USA to the UK via Dublin again if I can avoid it.

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).