I love the reality TV show by the same name. It is an eye opener to see what travellers go through when entering or leaving a country. If you are a regular traveller or have travelled before, you probably know about the intimidating process of going through airport security when checking-in and out. If you are checking-in to board the plane, you required to take-off your coat, belt, bangles, shoes and anything that might trigger the alarm when going through the metal detector. If that is not enough, you also get subjected to the frisk search and a swab test through your luggage. This is after you have placed all your liquids containers in that small clear plastic bag. Travellers get subjected to these acts in the name of security and managing risk. Once the officers are satisfied that they have conducted a thorough risk assessment, and if there is no further cause for concern, they let you go otherwise you get detained. This is not only the most traumatic experience to go through, you are also more likely to miss your flight whether straight or connecting.
My experience was not a disturbing one. I was with my son, on our way to Ireland. I was in front and we were going to check-in for boarding. After taking off the shoes, belt, coat, my hand luggage went through the conveyor belt, and everything was fine. When it was my son’s turn, one of the female staff asked me, is he with you? To which I replied yes and she further asks, is he your son? I again said yes. She continue to say, I need to check his bag and I agreed because I had checked his bag and was confident there was nothing inappropriate. She said you need to look when I am going through his belongings and doing the swab test.
While still looking at the lady checking my son’s bag, the gentleman by the metal detector gate said to me, we need to frisk check him and I also agreed, and he also insist that I should look when they are doing that. To me, it was their job and as long as I have given them permission they should go ahead. I know are passengers want to go through, how did they expect me to look at two different sides at the same time? I found that to be unfair on their part to ask me both a the same time to check what they have been doing. It would have been better if there was another adult. If I had refused, they would have thought I am concealing something and that would have delayed us, an unnecessary delay because we didn’t have anything to hide.
I then asked the gentleman why they insist I watch, and his answer was simple, he is a minor and we are not allowed to do security checking without an adult looking on. A fair response.
So next time you travel with your kids, make sure they take off everything that adults get asked to take off. Also, check that your children are not carrying items that are not allowed. I do not believe that children should be subjected to frisk search. It could be disturbing, and kids might respond differently which could ruin the holiday before it even start.
My son was fine, though he was not very impressed. He didn’t remove his belt and the buckle triggered the alarm response that is why they asked to frisk search him. In his bag, the woman found a tub of Vaseline and she confiscated it.
For those who regularly travel with your kids, what I am talking about is nothing new but if you haven’t and are planning to just be ready and do everything by the book.
Happy travelling. Do not get caught when checking-in and out
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