Yesterday I was flying out of Budapest airport and accidentally managed to get all of the security lines in terminal 2B closed for about 15 minutes.
I did the usual, laptop out, liquids in the bag, coat and boots off and walked through the x-ray machine. It beeped and they did an explosives check on my hands. Thought nothing of it and carried on through to get my stuff. My bag seemed to take ages in the scanner machine and more and more staff were coming over to look at the screen. The whole time I was wondering what on earth was going on- I had a wet bathing suit in my bag, was that problem?
Next thing I know, I'm being led to a private interview room (in my shoeless feet) for a further security check, including under my bra straps and between my toes. By now I'm super confused/worried but nobody would tell me what was going on. Went back outside and at this point noticed that all of the security lanes were closed and the staff were all standing some distance away. I was allowed to put my shoes on and then a member of staff kept questioning me on the contents of my bag. I responded with the usual, shoes, clothes, towels. Plus a small internet router (I have a chromebook so reliant on WiFi. My previous accommodation wasn't guaranteed to have a wireless connection so I took it for that). This clearly wasn't the answer they were looking for but it was the truth.
A security guard then asked to see my passport, and starting writing down lots of details and asked me for my mother's name and my home address. Still no explanations at to what was going on. I was then taken to one side and told to sit down, and immediately surrounded by 4-5 security staff. When I asked what was going on I was just told to "Wait". The same security guard that had taken the passport details then asked me to sign a form that gave them permission to open my bag. I thought this was odd, as normally security would just ask for verbal permission. At the same time, three police men and a police dog turned up, one of the policemen was even filming with a portable camera.
At this point it was explained they had seen something "bad" in my bag; electrical wires and a box and it looked super dangerous. I was really scared by now, and actually nearly considered asking them to call a lawyer for me or the British Embassy. It sounds ridiculous now but it was 4.30am, I hadn't slept and I was sitting at an angle where I couldn't actually see them opening my bag. In sleep deprived hungover paranoia, I was worried something was going to be planted in my bag, as I knew for sure there wasn't anything in it to cause this. They kept asking my nationality too, which I thought was odd, as they had seen my passport.
Anyway, finally, 15-20 minutes after going through the scanner. they decided to open the damn bag, and 30 seconds later, they realised what the 'explosives' they could see were in fact my internet router and a box of 'Cards Against Humanity'. Seriously, a heavy black box and a WiFi router caused this. At this point all the uniformed security staff just wandered off, and one of them told me I was ok to leave and helped me repack my bag. The woman who did the body search said sorry and said "It looked really horrible on the screen". A couple of the staff asked me what the router was, then they just let me go. So scary.
The whole time they would not tell me what was going on, that was the most unsettling part. I'm not sure if was because the staff didn't speak much English or if they thought I was about to blow a plane up!
I'm also not sure what the implications of this are. Is air travel security going to be really really tough on my now? Am I going to have problems entering Hungary again? Am I going to be added to some kind of list?
The stupidest thing about the whole experience is that I travelled through London Stansted and Stockholm Skavsta with exactly the same stuff in my bag. Are they too lax about security or is Budapest particularly strict?
Urgh. I nearly got refused entry to the Maldives and deported back to London in February, perhaps this year isn't going to be a good travel year for me.
tl;dr: A wifi router and a card game got part of Budapest airport evacuated and me nearly arrested yesterday for carrying 'explosives'