Airport Insecurity

You may not be able to take nail scissors through airport security, but a collection of dangerous objects will always be readily available the other side of the barrier.

The last time I traveled through Ottawa airport (that’s the capital of Canada, not the small town in Ohio), I had a problem at security.

I’d forgotten to pack my trusty Swiss Army Knife in checked baggage, and was stopped by an alert security guard just before I reached the metal detector. (No she didn’t have X-ray vision, it was attached to my belt).

Before 9/11, carrying a penknife onto an aircraft was never a problem. Once, when the penknife triggered a metal detector at Montreal airport, I recall an experienced security guard explaining to a new security card that a “canif” with a small blade was perfectly acceptable.

This time, however, I could not take it with me. My “checked” baggage had already gone through so I had to phone my wife and get her to come back to the airport to collect my penknife. (I’m really very attached to that penknife).

All of which makes the above photograph rather ironic. It shows a special container for disposing of sharp objects. I observed it in the gentlemen’s toilets in the secure area of the terminal at Ottawa airport. As you can see, the container is half full.

So even if you didn’t manage to bring any nasty sharp objects with you through security, you can conveniently pick up a few here.

9 November 2008

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