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TSA/EU security experiences: Observations from the road...

TSA/EU security experiences: Observations from the road...

Old Jul 31, 07, 8:06 am
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: JAX
Programs: DL Silver Medallion
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TSA/EU security experiences: Observations from the road...

So I just recently returned from a two and a half week trip throughout Europe. I traveled through Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium and the U.K. Most of the travel was on a tour bus however in addition to the flights into Europe we also had BIQ-CDG, CDG-LHR, ZRH-VIE, and NCE-ORY.

A few observations and ramblings:

1. Security staff at all of the smaller airports in Europe were friendly, courteous and struck me as very professional. As a result I felt more secure on those flights than most which I take in the US.

2. CDG was a mess. We flew into the AF international terminal from BIQ on our way to LHR and missed our connection due to: A)Long line of px having to go through a passport screening before entering the terminal, and B)Long line of px going through a full security screening before entering the terminal.

3. FUN IN CDG: Blown up bags inside the terminal!!!
During our 4.5 hour layover in CDG we had the pleasure of "tie dying" our pants thanks to security blowing up a bag that was left unattended at the main security screening checkpoint. Long story short, as we are sitting at the little laptop power stations near the AF CS podium we hear a police whistle blow and about 5 seconds later hear the loudest explosion. People scream and many of the airport staff go running towards the source of the explosion. After a few minutes of calm we assume it was some sort of a drill, but no formal explanation was ever announced or offered leaving many px quite nervous.

Came to find out later (from a px who was waiting to get through the checkpoint) that two bags had been left behind. One was later claimed but another wasn't and after police dissected half of the bag they decided to blow it up! Evidently the owner eventually returned and was quite displeased.

4. Lastly, passed through LHR at 6am and had as pleasant of an experience going through security as possible (polite staff and no "barking").

Upon returning to the US I was reminded of the general nature of our beloved TSA...myself and my co-workers could only liken them to Wal-Mart employees; underpaid and under-trained folks just trying to make a dollar. Unfortunately they're not making me feel any safer in the process.

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