Feeling Secure

Posted 12/08/04

By James Searcy


In my time I have flown around the world twice and would like to call attention to airport security back in the 70s. We departed IND and JFK with the usual inadequate screening of that time.

Our first stop was ROM -- much fun! On departure from ROM I received a search with the wand and a pat down, and had to really do some heavy begging to keep my small penknife.

Then, on to ATH where we were parked on an outer ramp and bussed to the terminal. On departure we were patted down and checked with the wand, and then taken by bus to the outer ramp where our plane was parked. All luggage was sitting on the ground under the aircraft, and one-by-one we had to touch and identify our bags, which were immediately loaded in the belly, and only then were we permitted to board.

On approach to TLV we were instructed to set all our personal items on the floor and have our papers in order and in our hands, as we would be boarded by their military, and we were not to make noise or any sudden moves. We were parked across the field from the terminal, and three armed soldiers boarded -- one to the rear, one about mid way in the cabin, and one in first. Then an officer boarded, walking down the isle looking everyone over.

After a few minutes, they dragged one man out, put him in their car and left. We boarded a bus with armed soldiers and went to the terminal where we were divided by sex. We walked into a covered enclosure and were patted down very personally, to the point of running their fingers thru our hair. I was first one through the search and walked into a room like a movie theater. I was told in no uncertain terms by an armed soldier to sit down.

When all were searched we were allowed to enter the terminal area for shopping as this was a fueling stop. In one hour we had to repeat the entire thing in reverse! Taking the bus back to the aircraft, I noted anti-aircraft guns located between the runways, which also were seen at ATH. Then fueling stop at BOM, deplaned and reboarded with normal security. BAQ and HKG only utilized a wand search.

GUM and HNL conducted normal searches. But out of LAX, to my amazement a man brought a full- sized Samurai sword on board. When I asked him how he got by security, he said they told him to just stow it in the cockpit with the crew’s permission.

When going back to TLV the security was extremely tight that long ago, and believe the Israelis have kept it strong today. So, we have very little to complain about today, as I certainly did feel safe there!

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