Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Flying part II

Last week I had opportunity to fly to London and experience the hostility at Belfast City Airport.

It started with me being asked to remove my shoes, and my belt. Just me, nobody else in the queue. I HATE removing my shoes and having to walk in my bare feet round the security area, so imagine the scene as I waddle around, walking only on the outside edges of my feet so the soles don't touch the ground. This is probably a throwback to having a verruca, which, not being a swimmer, I probably picked up at an airport in exactly these circumstances.

So I am making my way through the scanner in my peculiar motion when it beeps. Frankly, I only ever beep in Belfast, which always results in the full body search and frisk. And that is not an easy task for the security personnel when their 'victim' is balancing on the outside edges of their feet.

Frisk completed, I make a dash for my shoes which have appeared at the end of the conveyor belt, but before I can get them on the nice man behind the desk asks me, just me, not anybody else in the queue, if he can take my liquids and test them. Before I have time to draw breath he has emptied the contents of my plastic ziploc bag onto his desk and I'm watching my bottle of £23 Benetint liquid rouge roll precariously close to the edge.

While this is happening and I struggle to put my shoes on, I become aware of a woman moving towards me slowly. In fact, she gets so close I eventually look up (still trying to put on my shoes) and glare at her. At this point she grabs my bag and 'invites' me to join her in a little room at the back of the security area.

So, with one shoe on and one shoe off I diddle-diddle-dumpling, still on the outside edge of one foot, to join her and my bag in the room. Once I get in she slams the door shut, and in her best Eastern European voice instructs me that she is going to swab the contents of my bag for explosives. I don't even have time to wonder when Belfast City Airport started employing the KGB to do their security before she turns my bag upside down and empties the entire contents onto a table. And of course, you know who's going to have to tidy up that mess, once they've got their shoes back on.

Eventually, I am free to go to the departure lounge, where the first thing I do is buy a big bar of chocolate to calm the frazzled nerves. And when I open my purse to pay, there, staring out at me, are a pair of the biggest, sharpest, most illegal looking nail clippers you have ever seen....

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