Tag Archives: airport security

Be careful next time

29 Jan

Going through security at the airport can be a frustrating experience, even in Asia.  The US still takes the cake for the most obtrusive, but even the Philippines has the umbrella rule (click here for that story) and other islands weigh you before you check in.  Recently in Singapore I also had an interesting experience.

In Singapore, you go through customs first, but don’t go through security until you enter your boarding gate.  I like the system, for the most part as it is more efficient in terms of getting people trapped in the boarding area which means flights board in a timely manner.

This time after I pulled out my computer, iPad, phone and laid each thing on the belt I took half a step the wrong way and bumped into a pole next to the metal detector.  My pants caught on the very sharp edge which was at thigh level and it ripped a pretty large hole in my jeans.

My jeans after the fact - be careful next time!

My jeans after the fact – be careful next time!

I expected an apology or at least some type of excuse, but instead the screener said “You should be careful next time.”  I don’t see how this was my fault and the comment really bothered me.  Why in the world would any airport put a razor sharp pole at thigh level?  If it was a little kid it could be eye level which would have been very dangerous.

I wish I could have thought of a comeback at the time, instead I repacked my bag and entered into the gate holding area.  Recently there was a study globally that said Singaporeans ranked very low on the global happiness index.  The behavior I experienced confirmed that and was something that I would have expected more in mainland China than in Singapore.

Luckily the jeans I was wearing were pretty old, so at least it wasn’t new clothes, but it still bothers me.  What would you have said if it happened to you?

Do you have an umbrella?

5 Feb

I had just gone through my second security check of the day – the first being in Shanghai’s Pudong airport- the second now in the Manila airport.  We had a layover to fly from Manila to Cebu and had to transfer from the international to the domestic terminal.  Each of us had a small bag and neither had any problems at the first stop.

The female attendant asked if they could open my luggage.  My thoughts initially went to the large bottle of prescription cough syrup on top – it’s over 100 mL so the obvious choice for a question.  Instead – “Do you have an umbrella?”  I did have an umbrella actually.  She said – in the Philippines it was illegal to carry on an umbrella and I (and Li) both needed to check our bags because of the umbrella.

I was flustered and hot, not ready to check my bag.  Finally I acquiesced and went back through security where we checked Li’s bag – pulling out the contraband in mine and receiving a baggage ticket for our trouble.

Security in the Philippines is a strange mixture of politeness – there are separate lines for men and women – and the worst of US policy – I had to take off my shoes, which is pretty nasty when you are wearing sandals.  They didn’t seem to care about liquids, but my umbrella was deemed a weapon. 

We spent a wonderful 8 nights in the Philippines.  While it did rain, it was only at night.  I didn’t use the umbrella the entire time.

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