Thursday 18 August 2011

Working in Montréal today --Security Theatre

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Montreal today.

(Surprise ending to this one)

Meanwhile in some office in Calgary by way of Winnipeg I don't know if the bespectacled and very agitated traveller in front of me in the security line will be there.

It seems that he arrived at the security line right at 6:30 for apparently what was a 6:30 flight.  Let's to the math.. Ah don't bother, we know it doesn't work.

Interesting, while in line, he phoned someone else to state (loudly) that he was in the security line, and he would see if they would just 'let him go through'.  I am not sure what he believed he meant by this, but now he has the full attention of security agent #1.

"Please hang up the phone", she politely, yet firmly directs.  "But I am late for my plane, they're boarding now!".  Now even a first year student of logic can deduce that the phone being off or on-hook has little to do with the schedule of the flight, and she repeated the directive and added that she wishes to see his boarding pass.

At this point, his agitation increased and he repeated that he was late for his plane and "they're holding it at the gate, I have to go now!".  I must state that agent #1 has a great blank stare, I do wonder if she practices it in front of a mirror.  So out is her hand, eyes staring blankly and he.... complies, out comes the boarding pass, bags on the conveyor, belt, phone.. off through the metal detector and on to agent #2.

Bleeeeeeep Weeep!  I think this guy's shoes have a depleted uranium core, I don't remember the detector ever sounding quite so.. Alarmed?  "Please take off your shoes and place in a bin", requests agent #2.  "But I am late for my plane!", exclaims the late traveller.  Hey, there's that same blank stare, seems agent #1 and #2 have the same training.  And with a heavy sigh, the shoes into the bin.

Back through the the metal detector and Bleep Bleep!  The tell tale sound of the random selection indicator.  I almost laughed at the anticipation of what I imagined could happen next.

Try to imagine now as this fellow tries to explain that the random screaming does not apply to him because he is already late, and yes, he tried to walk past agent #2!  "Put your arms out straight so that I can manually pat you down.". "BUT.." "Sir, now, or you cannot pass security.". "But.." and a stern blank stare.

Out stretch his arms, pat down, more pleading to let him go through and it was almost comical when he patted his own pants down and declared that he was clear.  Finally he relented and allowed agent #2 to perform his job and he was cleared.  Grabbed his bags and off he went running down the gate 131-145 wing of Terminal 1.  It was then that I remembered that when he was on the phone, he said something about gate 120.

So what can we learn here..

It is difficult to make your own bad planning someone else's problem?
Acting agitated and panicky is not the best way to pass a security screening?
Don't wear metal shoes in an airport?


If you are working security, don't let yourself get distracted by diversions.  Security did not ask to see my boarding pass.

Have a safe day, Enjoy security theatre.

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