“I’m sorry, Ma’am, but you’re going to have to get rid of the water bottle.”
“What? Why? I just bought it at the airport kiosk. They said it would be okay.”
“Nevertheless…” The guard checks her watch. “Regulations changed, again, ten minutes ago. No water.”
“But it’s a long flight.”
“You can buy some water on the plane. Next.”
The guard looks at the man’s passport and runs it through a computer. She pulls out plastic tie downs. “Put your hands behind your back.”
The man does. “But why?”
The guard ties his hands together. “It says you have a black belt in Judo. We can’t be too careful. You’ll have to ride the flight like this.”
“Take it or leave it. We could just cut your hands off.” The man swallows and walks through, trying to grab his shoes and briefcase best he can. “Next.”
The guard holds up her hand. “I’m sorry, Ma’am, but your baby must go through alone.”
“But he’s three months old. He can’t walk or even crawl.”
“How do you suggest he’s going to move forward?”
“Just put him in one of these bins and send him along the conveyor belt. The process is painless.”
The baby screams as it disappears into the dark bowels fo the X-ray machine. The mother looks distressed and tries to go through the detector. It whoops.
“You’ll have to go through again and remove your shoes.” The woman does.
“Oh and no liquids. You’ll have to get rid of that.” The guard points to the woman’s chest.
“No liquids are allowed on board.”
“Are you talking about my breasts?”
“You’re breastfeeding. No liquids.”
“You want me to get rid of my breast milk?” People are beginning to murmur.
“We can’t be too careful. You can go behind that screen and collect your baby once you’re through.” The baby is screaming, lying in a bin by the guards scanning laptops. One runs his explosives detector over the distressed baby as the woman runs behind the screen. The guard’s earphone beeps. She listens and tells the rest of the guards something. They bring out a box of latex gloves.
The next man has already removed his shoes, watch and ring and steps through. The guard motions him back. “Please remove your tie, belt and socks.”
“My tie and socks? Why?”
“New, updated regulations. Oh and roll your pants up above the knees.”
The man does so and steps through. The guards gets out a magnifying glass and inspects his feet, running the explosives detector up and down his legs. “You should trim your nails. I just have to take a sample from…under…here.”
“Ow!” The man yells and hops up and down holding his toe as the guard takes the gouged out bit of flesh from under his toe nail and drops it in an analyser.
“Okay, open your mouth.”
“Open my wha–”
The guards sticks a tongue depressor in the man’s mouth, shines a light around and swabs the teeth.
“What the fu–”
“Look, how long is this going to take? I’m going to miss my flight.”
“About another twenty minutes to analyse these swabs.”
“But I’ll miss my flight!”
“It’s for everyone’s safety, sir. Why are you getting so upset? Do you have something to hide? You should have come four hours before your flight.”
“Now please go behind this screen and drop your pants.” Another guard snaps on fresh gloves and grabs the lube.
“What! I’m not carrying anything! You’re metal detector hasn’t beeped once.”
“Nevertheless, we must check everyone now. No liquids, shoes off, pants rolled up, teeth examine and all cavities checked.”
“Someone tried to smuggle in a bomb in their anus. We can’t be too careful.”
“Forget it. I’m not flying.”
“You’ll still have to go through the search.”
Six months later someone swallows a bomb and tries to smuggle it on board.
The guard stops the first person and hands her a hospital gown. “You’ll need to change into this prior to surgery.”
“Surgery? Are you crazy? I’m trying to get on a flight.”
“Regulations. We must inspect everyone before they get on. You should be ready to fly in a day or two…”
Six months later fifteen airlines go out of business and airport kiosks close down. US congress listens to concerns but thinks security still isn’t tight enough. Welcome to the brave new world of enhanced airport security. Of course, we’ll all feel far more protected now.