‘Security absurdity’

This item appears on page 29 of the March 2011 issue.
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After visiting Argentina in November ’10, my wife and I flew home to Charlotte out of Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) on Continental Airlines. I will compare our experience to that of another ITN subscriber who returned to the US through EZE in February ’07 (Sept. ’07, pg. 44).

Good news — the departure tax was included in the cost of our airline ticket. One less queue!

It’s still true that you can wear your shoes while passing through the security checkpoint. There was no requirement to remove liquids and computers from our carry-on luggage for the x-ray machine.

My travel corkscrew (with a two-inch-long metal screw) was confiscated. For years, to four continents, I’ve taken this TSA-permitted corkscrew in my carry-on luggage (we don’t check any bags). Despite my protests, it was not allowed here.

The above-mentioned subscriber experienced a hand-search of carry-on baggage at the gate. We arrived at the gate area two hours early and observed several international flights boarding from nearby gates. There were no hand-searches of luggage. Travel companions of ours left on an American Airlines flight to New York’s JFK carrying their full water bottles, and their bags were not hand-searched either.

Shortly before our flight was to board, however, a security checkpoint was set up, passengers had their carry-on luggage hand-searched, and our newly acquired and still-sealed water bottles were confiscated. Pointing out that we had obtained our bottled water just steps away from the gate didn’t impress the security official.

What was different about our flight? At check-in, we were given a very small slip of paper that we were told to keep until boarding. (Our companions flying to New York did not receive such a paper.) I don’t recall what was printed on it, but its content did not explain its purpose. These papers were collected at our boarding gate security checkpoint.

Regarding security at EZE, I found some aspects of it too relaxed (some people evaded the gate security checkpoint) and others unnecessarily rigid. Airport security absurdity is by no means confined to EZE. Let’s have effective security, not “show” security.

STEPHEN O. ADDISON, Jr.
Charlotte, NC

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

After visiting Argentina in November ’10, my wife and I flew home to Charlotte out of Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) on Continental Airlines. I will compare our experience to that of another ITN subscriber who returned to the US through EZE in February ’07 (Sept. ’07, pg. 44).

Good news — the departure tax was included in the cost of our airline ticket. One less queue!

It’s still true that you can wear your shoes while passing through the security checkpoint. There was no requirement to remove liquids and computers from our carry-on luggage for the x-ray machine.

My travel corkscrew (with a two-inch-long metal screw) was confiscated. For years, to four continents, I’ve taken this TSA-permitted corkscrew in my carry-on luggage (we don’t check any bags). Despite my protests, it was not allowed here.

The above-mentioned subscriber experienced a hand-search of carry-on baggage at the gate. We arrived at the gate area two hours early and observed several international flights boarding from nearby gates. There were no hand-searches of luggage. Travel companions of ours left on an American Airlines flight to New York’s JFK carrying their full water bottles, and their bags were not hand-searched either.

Shortly before our flight was to board, however, a security checkpoint was set up, passengers had their carry-on luggage hand-searched, and our newly acquired and still-sealed water bottles were confiscated. Pointing out that we had obtained our bottled water just steps away from the gate didn’t impress the security official.

What was different about our flight? At check-in, we were given a very small slip of paper that we were told to keep until boarding. (Our companions flying to New York did not receive such a paper.) I don’t recall what was printed on it, but its content did not explain its purpose. These papers were collected at our boarding gate security checkpoint.

Regarding security at EZE, I found some aspects of it too relaxed (some people evaded the gate security checkpoint) and others unnecessarily rigid. Airport security absurdity is by no means confined to EZE. Let’s have effective security, not “show” security.

STEPHEN O. ADDISON, Jr.
Charlotte, NC