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Carry-on bag screening- thorough?

Philadelphia...
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1,276 posts
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Carry-on bag screening- thorough?

I flew PHL to PIT this past weekend and something occured to me. As I was waiting in the fairly long security line at PHL, I noticed that very few people were openly carrying the ziploc bags for small containers of liquids and gels. I also noticed that quite a few people had carry-on bags that were huge and bulging. These big bags sailed through security with no problem. I had a lot of trouble believing that not one of these huge bags contained any prohibited items. On another recent trip from the west coast I forgot to remove my ziploc bag and a large bottle from my briefcase. Security had no problem with this. I really wonder if security is as thorough as we are led to believe.

UK, Mauritius
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for Mauritius, Belle Mare, Pointe Aux Piments, Pereybere
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1. Re: Carry-on bag screening- thorough?

At CDG Paris last weekend they were very strict. All bottles were confiscated, and I produced my plastic bag for inspection; and it was thoroughly scrutinized. \i had a scrunchie (hairtie) round my wrist and security made me remove it and put it through screening, along with my specs. In Europe they are obviously taking it more seriously than the States, and so they should. Its a pain but we got used to it.

London, United...
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2. Re: Carry-on bag screening- thorough?

I fly quite a lot and have found that it all depends on what airport you are in on how good the security is. At some airports they closely scrutinize everything, at others they hardly glance at either your belongings or the x-ray machines!

Maryland
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for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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3. Re: Carry-on bag screening- thorough?

" really wonder if security is as thorough as we are led to believe. "

Depends on what you've been led to believe, I guess. :)

Does it make you feel safer to see someone get a bottle of water seized by TSA?

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: Carry-on bag screening- thorough?

The fact that the US gov't spent billions of dollars to create a whole new agency (TSA) whose sole purpose is to make sure we are safe while traveling might lead one to believe that security is much more thorough now. Unfortunately many of the people working for TSA now are the same ones who worked for the failed private security companies before 9/11.

It's so true about security varying widely from airport to airport. Last year my wife and I were traveling from Saigon to Singapore. The x-ray machine in Saigon showed that my wife had a pair of scissors in her carry-on bag. The officers pulled her aside and told her " You have scissors in your bag. Please refrain from using them during your flight". On the return trip, the bag, scissors and all, made it through security with no problem at all.

Bangor, Maine
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277 posts
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5. Re: Carry-on bag screening- thorough?

I agree that even "thorough" security isn't all that thorough. We recently returned to the U.S. from France (CDG airport), and I thought I'd packed all liquids in our checked bag. When I got home, I realized that there was a partial (small) tube of toothpaste in my husband's toilet kit, in his carry-on bag, and another small bottle (under 3 oz) of shampoo in one of the pockets of my carry-on (which I'd forgotten to take out).

We went through the metal detector, were "wanded," and patted down. Our carryon bags, shoes, etc. went through the x-ray, and to top it all off, all our bags and our hands were swabbed and tested (for explosive or chemical residue I presume). In spite of this very thorough screening, no one noticed or confiscated the items in our bags.

I did notice a huge bag of larger bottles of confiscated liquid items at CDG, however.

On another recent domestic flight, no one asked if I had any liquids, and no one asked me to remove the zip lock bag of small liquid containers (which I was indeed using).

Chicago, Illinois
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597 posts
9 reviews
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6. Re: Carry-on bag screening- thorough?

I think mostly security exists to make the travelling public _feel_ more secure. Whether it actually prevents any determined desire to breach it is certainly open to question.

Palo Alto...
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7. Re: Carry-on bag screening- thorough?

We just returned from Puerto Vallarta (PVR) traveling to Phoenix (PHX). The security guy in Puerto Vallarta "searched" my carry-on backpack and confiscated 5 books of matches. However, I had an open 20 oz bottle of Diet Coke in my backpack and he never noticed it. Lots of confiscated water and soda bottle littered the security area, but not mine. Go figure!

Somerset
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for Cape Town
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8. Re: Carry-on bag screening- thorough?

Security, whatever technology is used is only as good as the people actually operating and controlling the security section. If, as has been filmed in the UK, some are reading newspapers rather than looking at screens they should be checking then it is a pointless exercise. Many travellers who come from countries not affected by acts of terrorism find it a total mystery. Personally, having seen the result of acts of terrorism in London I am prepared to put up with the hassle providing it is handled efficiently and therefore makes flying safer because it has been proved over the past few years that horrendous acts DO HAPPEN.

To IrishFan who wonders if we should feel safer just because someone has had a bottle of water confiscated makes one feel safer. The whole point is that security services claim to have proof that there were plots to fill water bottles (quite easily done, take a sealed bottle, stick a syringe in the bottom, remove the water,replace via the syring with a clear 'nasty' liquid, a spot of superglue to cover the syringe entry and off you go to blow up a plane) with explosive liquids. If you don't believe these things have or could happen then security is pointless from your point of view.

Lets face it, your baggage weight allowance is widely advertised and if your baggage is overweight the airline has every right to charge you excess. Equally restricted/banned goods are widely advertised, if you walk up to security carrying a 2 litre bottle of water or other banned item, then you can expect to have it confiscated.

I agree it is a pain having to queue to go through security, but providing this is handled efficiently then personally I am happy to spend that time waiting, after all I am only going to be sitting around the terminal waiting to board anyway.

As I said earlier, if the security check is going to inefficient then the whole thing becomes a waste of time.

NYC
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328 posts
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9. Re: Carry-on bag screening- thorough?

3 times in the last year I have witnessed TERRIBLE security @ LGA. Once they didn't even check the screen as the bags were going through, they were too busy sharing a look @ a Chinese food menu so they could order lunch. Once I forgot that I had put a huge cosmetic purchase in my purse (all liquids) they didn't catch it - I only noticed when I went to get money later on. And last time, my husband couldn't find his boarding pass to show security and they insisted he come through the line anyway b/c "he was holding things up"

So since I think security in NYC is useless, I am constantly annoyed by the long lines as it is just a waste of time.

On another note, how come they let those big bags through anyway - those are the idiots holding up boarding on the planes by attempting to shove them up when they clearly don't fit?

10. Re: Carry-on bag screening- thorough?

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