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Scary Experience at Budapest airport security

London, United...
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Scary Experience at Budapest airport security

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'

Phoenix, Arizona
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1. Re: Scary Experience at Budapest airport security

It could well have been the proximity of the cards and the router, which called attention to them?

It does sound scary, and glad that all finally had a peaceful ending.

As for you having a marker on you, others will have to tell you, as I do not know.

Fly safely,

Hunt

kentucky
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5,896 posts
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2. Re: Scary Experience at Budapest airport security

Guess you'll think twice about those cards and that router. What's with the heavy black box? What the heck are 'cards against humanity'??

London, United...
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3. Re: Scary Experience at Budapest airport security

https:/…B00DTXYCOU This is Cards Against Humanity. It's a (drinking) game. 550 cards in a fairly small box so it's heavy.

Thanks Hunt

Edinburgh, United...
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4. Re: Scary Experience at Budapest airport security

"What the heck are 'cards against humanity'??"

Best damn party game in the world is what it is :)

Palmetto, Florida
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5. Re: Scary Experience at Budapest airport security

Fantasy games for those with secret desires for mass race extinction, child exploitation, slave trading, etc…?

Pretty provocative name….

kentucky
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6. Re: Scary Experience at Budapest airport security

So the question was 'what the heck are cards against humanity'?

San Francisco...
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7. Re: Scary Experience at Budapest airport security

wow . hard to say what can or could or would or should happen in the future. Different countries and nationalities act differently especially when they do not speak the same language as the passenger -- communicating is hard . Oh well

perhaps in future when you take electronic things such as laptops cell phones out of the bag , you can take that router out and let it all be scanned separately. That box of cards -- I don't think it should be an issue all by itself

Kent, United Kingdom
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8. Re: Scary Experience at Budapest airport security

Many years ago, a number of men were ( wrongly) convicted of causing explosions in Birmingham ( UK),solely on faulty forensic evidence.

They had apparently been playing cards, and there was some sort of residue from the cards on their hands which gave a " false positive" result for explosives. This was seemingly the only " evidence" against them, and they served many years in prison before having their convictions quashed.

I can't post a link at the moment, but anyone can search for " Birmingham Pub Bombings, playing cards" and find details .

I once had a beautifully ripe dessert pear ( which I planned on eating on the aircraft) confiscated many years ago, nay, in the 1970's, at Manchester airport, but it was swiftly " defused" when the gate agent ate it himself!

London, United...
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9. Re: Scary Experience at Budapest airport security

Clearly it looked like you had a bomb in your bag. They were doing their job and being cautious and checking it out. Not wishing to interact heavily with a suspected suicide bomber as they did their jobs is understandable.

I doubt there will be any form of marker against you, you committed no crime, and although it was nothing I think uou should be glad they did their job correctly. Scary, of course, but it was simply an unfortunate set of circumstances, the way it was positioned causing it to look like something else on the scanner. Good on them for spotting it and dealing with it correctly.

Dublin, Ireland
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10. Re: Scary Experience at Budapest airport security

congratulations to the security personnel reacting positively to something unusual. that is what they are paid to do.