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Random Searches....interesting story

Random Searches....interesting story

Old Jun 19, 02, 10:43 am
  #1  
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Random Searches....interesting story

On Thursday as I was waiting at the gate to board the early AC/UA codeshare from YYC-LAX I had an opportunity to chat with some other Aeroplan Elite members (identified by luggage tags) when the agent called the J and E/SE,*G pre-boarding.

NO ONE MOVED..............

I mentioned to the lady beside me that I usually wait for 4-5 people before I go....as I don't want to be delayed by the random search "BS" and everybody else chimed in that they also do this. The agent chuckled when he overheard us and called for boarding again, when suddenly a small group from the back of the gate came forward.

Sure enough....number 4 was searched.

Anybody else here do this ?

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Old Jun 19, 02, 11:26 am
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Is the pope catholic ??

This is no SOP for me! As soon as security has a person I enter the line.

The other thing to also watch for is not to be the LAST on the plane as well.
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Old Jun 19, 02, 11:38 am
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Every airport and every airline I fly has the same 'random' search pattern. Other measures include a designator on the ticket for preselected searches. Also usually easy to spot.
This 'security search' along with the ABSOLUTE nonsense about xraying and turning on laptops just confirms my opinion that mostly its just to asuage fears in the general public.

[This message has been edited by wombat (edited 06-19-2002).]
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Old Jun 19, 02, 3:16 pm
  #4  
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Wait a minute, this was in YYC for a flight to LAX? Or did you mean the LAX-YYC? Unless the "random" secondary "search" nonsense has spread to Canada too...

FewMiles..

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Old Jun 19, 02, 4:03 pm
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Most of my flying is now out of BUF, so I can't comment on Canadian Airports.

Between the loss of the LOYALTY program, high taxes, airport improvement fees, etc. I have been able to save significant $$$ on Southwest (still haven't joined Rapid Rewards yet).
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Old Jun 19, 02, 4:31 pm
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Guess you haven't been flying much, FewMiles, but "random" secondary checks have been a fact of life up here too. I got caught on Thursday going down to LGA, number 5. Having learned my lesson in the US, where it is generally the first person and then anyone's guess from there on, I generally wait as well. In most previous cases it has been the first person to board.

More curious has been the variety of primary procedures I have experienced in the past few weeks of flying through airports in Canada, the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria...

In all European cases, never once were we instructed to remove laptops or cell phones, in fact signs instruct you NOT to remove these from the bag. There may be random detailed inspections after the scanning process.

Of course, in Canada, every piece of electronics must be removed from your bag and turned on to demonstrate it is not loaded with centex. [Maybe a terrorist might like to just take out part of an airport one day?] But even this is a variable process in the US, though just laptops must be removed and turned on, all other items such as cell phones, radios, etc. are exampt. [I often carry on a compact digital video camera and always have to turn it on and play something that has been recorded. I find this mildly amusing/ironic because many inspection areas have signs posted over them restricting photography!]

I agree these are purely for show, and contend that it is a true waste to take aside your elites, then let the rest of the rabble walk by. Positive profiling must be implemented, and don't say it is undemocratic. It is the best use of limited resources to eliminate from screening those least likely to be suspects: and the first place to start is with those who have been top tier elites for at least 5-years. The data is there, the records are on file. [Sure, flag any of us who have done a dozen trips into the middle East in the past couple of years, or to Pakistan, but otherwise, authorities can increase the odds greatly but reducing the number of people to be screened with more scrutiny given to those who don't rank in the elite tiers.]

The young man who did the cloth test on my bag at EWR yesterday seemed more interested in whether the films I made -- he noticed the videocamera -- made a lot of money and how he could get into the film business, than in inspecting my bag or revealing to me what the test he was conducting was called. "That's classified information I am not at liberty to divulge, sir."

More interesting was the impression I got that these new inspection personnel -- young black Americans likely just out of high school, if not drop outs -- were even more bored by their jobs than the former -- mainly immigrants -- employees who cannot work these jobs any longer because they require US citizenship. No wonder the youth unemployment rates have been dropping in the US. These kids are all becoming bored security inspectors! Give me the older immigrant workers any day. At least in my experience they were interested in their jobs.
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Old Jun 19, 02, 6:04 pm
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Once you get 'selected', you are labelled for that flight.

I was at LGA on AA and had the tap on the shoulder. So off come the shoes and out come the electrical devices. After we boarded the aircraft, we were asked to leave due to a malfunctioning lav.

We then boarded a second aircraft and I was checked again. Had to leave that Fokker because of presurization problems.

Upon boarding the third aircraft...you guessed it.

Next time I'm wearing slip-ons.
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Old Jun 19, 02, 6:18 pm
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If your boarding pass has a designator ( ususally something with an S)printed on it your the lucky winner of the pre-selected boarding search. You'll find out when the gate agent takes your BP.

I noticed recently on a ORD-PHL run that the security searches were being conducted almost entirely on this basis. Perhaps the authorities realised that grabbing one of the first 5 PAX's, was way too predicatable.

[This message has been edited by wombat (edited 06-19-2002).]
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Old Jun 19, 02, 6:30 pm
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US carriers at US airports do use the boarding pass designator code to identify those to be searched a second time. I don't believe AC does on either side of the border, though. boacvc10, my condolences. Three times! What could you have hidden on your person or in your case between being checked, boarding, disembarking and reboarding? STUPID, DUMB, ASSININE... Only in America, where common sense is now considered subversive.

BTW, did you actually fly on a VC10 on BOAC?
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Old Jun 19, 02, 11:54 pm
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In many airports in the US, the computer decides randomly who will be selected. But I have my doubts as to the actual randomness. I've been selected, by computer, on probably 1 out of every 3 flights. But then I'm on record has having visited many Muslim countries (most recently Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.) And I did spend a good part of last year going to Mexico City and Guadalajara for 55 minutes at a time.

But my travelling partner is often a Lieutenant in the US Coast Guard, and he get's pulled out easily as often as I do. No rhyme nor reason.

But then there's no rhyne or reason for the searches in the first place. To me they are simply an indictment of the initial security check. The indication is the first check is not sufficient so they need to do random check.

Problem is that random checks are designed to discourage others from violating the rules. But tell me, do you really think that a terrorist who's only too happy to give up his life in the interest of his goals is actually going to be disuaded from anything by a 3% chance of getting caught?
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Old Jun 19, 02, 11:57 pm
  #11  
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Agreed Ken, and define "caught". If we're talking an explosive-type device, having it go off during a random gate-check might not produce the TV pictures of something in-air, but it would probably cause just as much trouble for our society.

I'm not convinced the terrorists would consider that a failure.

andrew


[This message has been edited by Andrew Webber (edited 06-19-2002).]
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Old Jun 20, 02, 1:55 am
  #12  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by FewMiles:
Wait a minute, this was in YYC for a flight to LAX? Or did you mean the LAX-YYC? Unless the "random" secondary "search" nonsense has spread to Canada too...
</font>
Flights to the USA have to comply with FAA rules as well as the country of orign. Thus flights ex Canada or even Europe to the USA have "Random" searching.
 
Old Jun 20, 02, 2:49 am
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Thanks, Shareholder, I did not realise that the lack of common sense has spread so far now. You were correct, I don't fly much.

I agree completely with Ken that the gate-side "random" check does little but send the message that the initial security check is insufficient. They should put everyone through the screening there and do a combination of random and profile-selected secondary screening at the security checkpoint, not at the gate. Then people can be done with the security and be sent on their way.

exAC: Thanks for the clarification. I'll have to keep that in mind as I board my US-bound flight in YYC next week.

FewMiles..

[This message has been edited by FewMiles (edited 06-20-2002).]
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Old Jun 20, 02, 7:32 am
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FewMiles.....

I went from YYC-LAX.....and ExAC just confirmed my suspicion about conforming to FAA regs.

The funniest part was the agent looking at the group of 5 of us....he noticed our tags and was probably wondering what's up until he heard our comments as we were sitting in the very first seats by the door.
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Old Jun 20, 02, 8:17 am
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Shareholder:

Thanks for the sympapthy. After being searched a third time (fourth if consider the original security check-point), our small group was quite close to 'ground-rage'.

And yes, the BOAC VC-10 was the first plane I ever flew on (1970 when I was 5, YYZ-LHR). Thought it was the most graceful machine I'd ever seen (especially with the gold speedbird). Still do.
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