back to article How HAPPY am I on a scale of 1 to 10? Where do I click PISSED OFF?

I am in a long, slow-moving queue of anxious passengers trudging through airport security like chained natives thrown into the lava pit by Ursula Andress giving a “lesson in obedience”. I remove all items from my trouser pockets and put them in my coat pockets. I take off my coat and put it in a plastic tray. My laptop goes in …

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  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Spot on, Mr Dabbs.

    Do I want faster data? Yes.

    Do I want to pay for it? No.

    And the same with the airport. The only thing worse than the default wander-around-half-undressed is the occasional 'could you come with us please' requests which involve a small room, unsmiling people, and pointed questions about the amount of technology I happen to be carrying and why I have two passports... Once upon a time, flying used to be a pleasant, enjoyable activity. Now it's a torture worse than the London Underground. How can one fail to have anything other than a dreadful time there?

    It's the wrong question, Grommet!

    1. Dave Bell

      Re: Spot on, Mr Dabbs.

      In my experience, what saves the London Underground is the presence of the ordinary people of London. Though I managed to avoid the rush hour. London is messed up by the ultra-rich seeking to preserve their precious bodily fluids, every night.

    2. Smitty Werbenjaegermanjensen
      Facepalm

      Re: Spot on, Mr Dabbs.

      Well, I feel sorry for the other people in the queue...

      << my Personal Molester has a good rummage around inside each pocket to ensure that they have been pushed down sufficiently to reveal my arse crack to all and sundry >>

      Frankly, I'd rather not have to see the arse crack of about 98.2% of travellers, including Dabbsy's, and Sod's law dictates that I'll never get to see the ~1.8% of tasty totty tushy on my preferred list. This is the true tragedy of Airport security.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The machine is not designed to detect things. It is simply designed to go “bleep”.

    Actually it is. I have had this confirmed by security guards at three airports - to be more exact LHR, SOF and MAD. After one of the many recent scares (forgot which one) they all had a "random trigger" added to keep the security personnel on its toes. The more interesting was the attitude:

    Me, p*** off: Why is this bleeping?

    LHR: Do not worry, it is random, they added it recently.

    MAD: This is just random, it's annoying, isn't it?

    SOF: The m***f*** c*** added this last week so I now need to waste my time on people who are OK. If I could only *** *** the mother of whoever came up with this idea...

    As far as surveys being designed artificially to drive a particular cause there is nothing new there. 99% of them are designed by the creators of the Donetsk Referendum:

    Option A: Do you want our country to be independent?

    Option B: Do you want our country to declare independence and then ask Russia for absorption.

    How about option C? Guess not...

    1. Cliff

      Re: The machine is not designed to detect things. It is simply designed to go “bleep”.

      Quite. A paper survey with the question 'would you be prepared to volunteer some help to other residents in this sheltered housing' has just been used by one of the richest charities in the country as a 'consultation' in order to sack half the staff.

      So, anyone involved with these misleading and deliberately deceptive and coercive survey questions - fuck you. It's cynical to say people were satisfied with no real intention to listen and to fudge the figures. You're complicit in actively making the world a shittier place and deserve all you create.

      If you want a genuine mood-gathering system start by sacking all the market research experts who offer their services and employ someone with a good grasp of English and Engineering - it'll go a long way.

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: If you want a genuine mood-gathering system

        And that's why they don't ask someone with the aforesaid qualities. How then would you get the right answers when asking the turkeys if they're in favour of extended human families gathering once a year for a slap-up meal?

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: The machine is not designed to detect things. It is simply designed to go “bleep”.

      The Donetsk Referendum:

      "Do you support the declaration of state independence of the Donetsk People's Republic?"

      Amazingly, no mention of Russia.

      I suspect you are making things up.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: The machine is not designed to detect things. It is simply designed to go “bleep”.

        "I suspect you are making things up."

        I think he might be referring to the Crimea referendum.

    3. Heathroi

      Re: The machine is not designed to detect things. It is simply designed to go “bleep”.

      option c, staying loyal to Kiev, whoever was in power, had been rendered moot already

  3. Vociferous

    >as soon as you come across the “results of a survey” in the media, you can be certain they are selling you products or spinning you bullshit

    Also true of "a study shows". All studies which get press as "showing" or "proving" something invariably are junk, either commissioned by or seized upon by a pressure group.

    >t seems if you were to offer smartphone owners faster throughput, the other 40 per cent of them will smile and shake their heads

    That'd be for instance me. I don't need faster throughput on my smartphone, because I don't move large amounts of data with it. 3G speed is more than sufficient for Youtube and Drive, and there's nothing else I'd like to download to my phone. I do not wish to pay more than I do now for a feature which has no benefit to me.

  4. Dr_N Silver badge

    Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

    ... the real problem with airport security is the number of morons in the queue who have to be repeatedly told what to do. Thus slowing the whole process down.

    Sometimes weighted surveys are useful. Especially the ones you have to hand out after running a training course, which are probably put on your file over at corporate HQ.

    1. Cliff

      Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

      Is it really? Or is the real problem a theatre of security that adds very little actual protection buy degrades every traveller (with every native tongue, with many infrequent flyers) with ever-variable and inconsistent rules? Toothpaste? Is it a cream or liquid? The sign doesn't ask for pastes, and it contains very little liquid, less than an apple - so what's the water percentage threshold?

      For instance, in the Middle East they were quiet happy for me to take 2 bottles of water as hand luggage to fly to London. Some places want to see your laptop unpacked, in its own tray, some even see it turned on (unlucky if you've got a crappy battery), yet other airports don't. Some want shoes off for everyone, others don't. It's highly inconsistent, and the first time most people find the particular combination of socks, shoes, pants, belt, jewellery, coins, keys, phones, water, toothpaste, laptop open/closed/powered, etc is tired, stressed, and being humiliated in a factory farming dehumanisation programme.

      By the way, I've now landed in London with my water and some and toothpaste - lucky I didn't detonate over the city, eh? It's a pantomime of actions that look like diligence, complex rituals to appease the security gods - don't blame the poor fuckers caught up in it.

      1. Vociferous

        Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

        It's only Western airports which take all the latest security paranoia from the US seriously, in Asia and Africa the airports either just go through the motions, or implement a tiny subset of security*.

        * not necessarily the reasonable parts. I recently had my toiletry bag emptied and nail clippers and shampoo bottle confiscated, at the same airport where no one bothered to check why I was causing the metal detector to go berserk.

        1. Fred Dibnah

          Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

          "It's only Western airports which take all the latest security paranoia from the US seriously, in Asia and Africa the airports either just go through the motions, or implement a tiny subset of security*."

          I took an internal flight in West Africa a while back, and when my bag went through the scanner I'd forgotten that I had water in my drinking bottle. The nice lady at security simply asked me to take a swig then, noticing that I hadn't exploded, she let me take the rest with me and wished me bon voyage. I haven't seen that kind of common sense in Western airports for a long time.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

            After having traveled with a baby/toddler + all the paraphernalia that that entails for a few years I can only conclude that most security workers are about as confused as the passengers over what they can take and what they can't, but they're better at pretending they know.

            I'm surprised Dabbsy didn't get the police called in for his rant, it seems even sarcasm can get you a warning that you're stepping out of line. What are we without sarcasm but Americans?

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

            I haven't seen that kind of common sense in Western airports for a long time.

            It is the norm in Eastern European countries if you are travelling with small kids. Some western European countries show some sense too (Spain). They actually know that water is required to mix kids formula.

            Compared to that Heathrow is a combination of a pointless abuse and idiocy.

            I remember travelling right after they introduced the new liquid rules and my wife was not yet familiar. So she packed 6 bottles of ready-made formula for our 45 days old daughter. I was made to drink from every one of them (so we had to dump most of it in the toilet by the end of the day), harassed, pestered and abused for 30 minutes. In the meantime junior (age 6 at the time) who was allowed by us to pack his backpack himself cruised straight through. He had in his backpack a box of plasticine with a Tom-n-Jerry big (20 cm diameter) alarm clock with an external ringer on top wrapped in headphone wire. No comment on what this looks like on X-Ray.

          4. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

            Ha. Last time I flew in west Africa the woman next to me had a microwave oven on her lap. Times really have changed...

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

              As long as she turned it off for takeoff and landing you are fine

            2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

              @ Androgynous Cupboard

              The last time I flew in Tajikistan, the chap next to me had a chicken on his lap, and there was a goat rampaging up and down the aisle... about ten or twelve years ago, mind; they may have improved since.

              Having said that - I also had my cabin baggage on my lap since the overhead lockers would comfortably have held a medium-sized paperback, though not, I think, an inch-thick airport blockbusters.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

        I got caught taking the well-known explosive Marmite through LHR security going to Australia. Apparently it is a paste and therefore highly dangerous. The upside is, at that point (if you have enough), they will take your entire heavy hand-luggage bag off you and check it.

        I noticed that they don't mind it being on the aeroplane, they just don't want you to be able to eat it.

        We need to publicise a single phrase to use to express dissatisfaction at the "any other things you want to say?" section. With enough people repeating what they think of the security theatre, maybe it will be so embarrassing that (a) they get the hint that no-one believes them and/or (b) they stop asking for surveys, either of which would be a good thing.

        1. Arctic fox
          Joke

          @P.Lee Not at all old chap. You have to understand that our Antipodean compadres....

          ......regard it as a strategic cultural imperative for Australia to protect the home Vegemite market.

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

          @ P.Lee

          Marmite.

          Maybe they are just working for the Marmite makers.

          They have a thing about it being brought in and out of different countries from where it was made.

          So some strictly religious Jews in the UK can no longer get guaranteed kosher Marmite (some change in the manufacture proccess here), but it can (could) be obtained overseas and imported.

          But no, Marmite stepped in, went to court and stopped the small stores who'd imported it.

          Same stuff, same company. And a tiny number of people in the UK who would go to these lengths to get their toast covering - but who would not, under any circumstances now eat the UK product. So Marmite would rather lose them as customers than let them buy and bring in their tiny supply.

          It seems to be some sort of obsession with them.

      3. chivo243 Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

        @Cliff

        Well stated and an upvote for you. I only travel a couple times a year, and never at holidays because of all of the bullshit and headaches that come with everyday travel. I'd like to enjoy my travel, as I did in the early 90's. It was a fun adventure then, not it's a fight to retain even a modicum of calm.

        In the end, air travel makes me feel like I'm a criminal and I must defend myself just to board an aircraft.

        Big Brother because the plods at the airport already know how you should answer their poorly formed questions.

      4. Trygve

        Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

        "a theatre of security that adds very little actual protection buy degrades every traveller (with every native tongue, with many infrequent flyers) with ever-variable and inconsistent rules? "

        Too effin' right. Most frequent travellers have a fair grasp of the current security zeitgeist, especially at their core airports, but the poor chumps who only fly once or twice a year have no clue or real chance of getting one. The surly incompetents who man the miles of tattered queue-barriers have interest whatever in providing information and the airport websites seem to make a deliberate point of providing inaccurate information (presumably to foil The Evils). The only reliable rule is to travel with nothing, lower your expectations, and wear clean underpants. Also assume that LHR and JFK will consistently exceed your worst expectations, appalling shitholes that they are.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

      "the number of morons in the queue who have to be repeatedly told what to do."

      Really? Or is it that there are lots of people who only rarely fly and are terrorfied by what might happen to them if they get a step wrong in the security checking?

      It's quite some years since I last got on a plane and after all the scare stories I've heard, I know I'd be in that position. Last time I flew we still voluntarily chose whether to walk through the red or green channels, collected our luggage off the carousel and didn't even speak to anyone official most of the time.

      Despite the series of "Airport nn" films, and various hijackings aound the world, few people were scared of flying and no one was scared of airport security.

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

        "Really? Or is it that there are lots of people who only rarely fly and are terrorfied by what might happen to them if they get a step wrong in the security checking?"

        No. I'm talking about the morons.

        You know the ones:

        Business traveller. Too busy yabbering on the phone or emailing to sort out his overcoat, laptop, bag of "liquids", carry on suitcase (that's actually waaaay to big to be carry on) etc whilst in the queue.

        And then just has to argue with the security bods as to whether his wallet has to go through the scanner or not.

      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

        > the number of morons in the queue who have to be repeatedly told what to do.

        Or like me, they're pissed-off obstructionist assholes protesting in the only possible way that won't get them immediately arrested.

        "WHAT'D YOU SAY SONNY BOY? SPEAK IN MY OTHER EAR, THAT 'UN'S NO GOOD!"

    3. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

      Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

      "the real problem with airport security is the number of morons in the queue who have to be repeatedly told what to do. Thus slowing the whole process down."

      Not to mention those too slow witted to take their wedding ring, watch etc off & put them in their laptop bag while queueing. Or those so poor at thinking ahead they wear badly fitting trousers needing a belt on the day they are travelling. Similarly hard soled shoes, wear flat ones that don't need to be removed. If the airport supplied liquids bag isn't up to your exacting standards bring your own.

      My top level of ire is reserved for those idiots who when their bag is diverted into the search and swab row get angry with the poor sod who is just doing his job. All but one of these guys in the numerous times its happened to me has been careful and respectful of with my property. Like the scanners 1 in X bags gets a random search and swab.

      1. Ivan Headache

        Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

        "... wear flat ones that don't need to be removed."

        So how come I have to take off my Birkenstock sandals every single time I fly?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Although a fairly accurate and amusing portrayal of LHR security...

        Personally my wedding ring is made of non-ferrous materials.

    4. Marshalltown

      Nuts

      The sole justification for modern airport "security" is to convince people not to travel. What metric is available that shows that "security" either benefits me or in fact even catches the occasional smuggler? What we do hear about are folks that jump the que, dodged the security bods and disappeared into the mob beyond. We hear about people with health problems arrested, detained, and expiring in TSA custody, of folks with poor fashion sense arrested for trying to meet their significant others wearing t-shirts fitted electronic signs (and that was outside the security perimeter), and more fail after fail. The problem is "security" personnel with their common sense de-installed. "I'm sorry, that is a full liter of water. You can't take it through security." "But, it's just water! And besides, it isn't full. I've been drinking it!" "I'm sorry sir. The container is just too big." Tcha!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MiB

    A person is smart but people are dumb, panicky, dangerous

  6. jake Silver badge

    Such surveys are invented by marketards.

    And, like everything marketard-driven, are best ignored.

    I don't visit the federally mandated molestation stations. How do I avoid them? Easy. I don't fly commercial air anymore. Life's too short.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: Such surveys are invented by marketards.

      >I don't fly commercial air anymore

      Glad to hear you find your parent's basement so safe and comfortable.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Such surveys are invented by marketards.

        Glad to hear you find your parent's basement so safe and comfortable.

        It's Jake. He's built his own jetliner, which he's flying himself everywhere he needs to go.

        1. jake Silver badge

          @Stoneshop (was: Re: Such surveys are invented by marketards.)

          I find it amusing how many commentards put words into my mouth ... Do you, Stoneshop, actually believe I claimed anything you wrote? Why? Inferiority complex?

          1. pepper

            Re: @Stoneshop (was: Such surveys are invented by marketards.)

            Owning a plane isnt that expensive, and if you enjoy flying a N amount of hours a year then it already quickly evens out compared to renting. I even know some people that got the certification required to do their own maintenance on their aircraft cutting the costs even more.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Such surveys are invented by marketards.

        Actually, Vociferous, I own and fly a couple of small aircraft.

        Try thinking outside of the box.

        1. Vociferous

          Re: Such surveys are invented by marketards.

          > I own and fly a couple of small aircraft

          If you're that rich, what the hell are you complaining about? You don't have to mix with economy class plebs like me at the security checkpoint or passport control anyway.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: Such surveys are invented by marketards.

            > You don't have to mix with economy class plebs

            That's what he is saying

            1. jake Silver badge

              @DAM (was: Re: Such surveys are invented by marketards.)

              "That's what he is saying"

              No, DAM. What I am saying is that if you apply yourself, you have options. I could take my boat to SF Giants home games. I don't; rather the wife & I take the Larkspur Ferry. Fun trip, every time, even on the return after a loss!

              It's not about "economy class", it's about sensibility.

          2. jake Silver badge

            @Vociferous: (was: Re: Such surveys are invented by marketards.)

            I wasn't complaining. I think you are, though.

            Get an education, get a useful job, save some money, invest wisely, live a little (not a lot!). It's not going to happen overnight. There are no magic fix-it pills. You have to work early on if you don't want to worry about paying the bills later in life.

          3. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: Such surveys are invented by marketards. @Vociferous

            You don't have to mix with economy class plebs like me at the security checkpoint or passport control anyway.

            Don't worry. Not long until wholesale bans on private planes start to come in, then he'll suffer more than the rest of us. After all, the alledged 12/9 attackers supposedly learned to fly in light planes, as did a few others.

            With so many attacks by light planes over the last few years (0 since 2002?) they must be about due to make new laws about them (just like the recent 'passed under urgency' laws in NZ that will address things that've never been a threat and almost certainly never will - and even if they were the new laws would neither detect nor prevent).

            /sarcastic rant

            (Oh, Jake - I bear you no ill will and hope to join you in private plane ownership before much longer :) )

        2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Such surveys are invented by marketards.

          Actually, Vociferous, I own and fly a couple of small aircraft.

          Oh dear, is your home-made teleporter broken?

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Such surveys are invented by marketards.

      I don't fly commercial either. When I go from Orlando to Phoenix, I drive. All 2,129 miles of it. I do stop off at interesting spots along the way.

      I burn as much carbon as I can too, taking my dirtiest car

  7. Shane McCarrick

    Having studied applied statistics and biometrics- and worked for 2 marketing companies when I was a student- to pay for my pot noodles- I have to concur......... The relevance of a significance proportion of the questions is slight at best, and the manner in which you combine the answers from multiple questions- to profile those poor fools who answer the surveys- is nothing short of criminal.

    As for airport security- try explaining that you have permanent pins in your tibia, fibula, femur and hip- along with the scars to prove it......... I have actually been asked to strip to my underwear in public in Heathrow numerous times- and as an apology the security guy said single men travelling from the UK to Ireland are considered high security risks? Really? I have a major in chemistry too- doesn't mean I've concocted an explosive device and implanted it in my leg, which I can walk on quite well......... Also- seeing as they're seen most of my body, bar my genitals- my medication may as well be examined in detail- they actually have special little trays for this- so your immunosuppresant tablets, cortisone and ibuprofen can be examined tablet by tablet (I have Crohns- and do in fact take 15-20 tablets a day- and have done for years)..........

    At least in Charles De Gaule in Paris- they actually got me a very drinkable coffee and free access to one of the lounges- after molesting me......... I didn't think it was a good tradeoff at the time- until I discovered my onward connecting flight was delayed for several hours........

    Sigh- next time I'll take the boat.

  8. imanidiot Silver badge
    Coat

    Why would anyone bother

    even IF you're an idiot, why would anyone bother filling in a survey these days. You get them from all and sundry, all of them pointless, all of them asking exactly the same thing in just an ever so slightly different way, and all handholding you into giving a much more positive response than you intended.

    1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Why would anyone bother

      Simple---someone has to do their part to try and offset the rave reviews given by simpletons and morons.

      Incidentally, the only time I was ever waved through the body scanner I discovered my luggage had been searched and left in disarray with shampoo leaking on everything. Coincidence?

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