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Security process leaves a lot to be desired

March 2, 2014

Dear Sir,

The improvements in the airport arrivals process over the last 18 months have been noticed and appreciated.

Now let's turn to security screening for US departures. The rules in Bermuda in the US departures area ought to be the same as the US enforces, no more and no less.

But the rules are not the same. In Bermuda, wallets have to go through the x-ray, shoes must go on the belt, and cell phones are forbidden. None of these are requirements of the US authorities.

Wallets. In the US, wallets only need to be removed for the naked scanners that Bermuda thankfully has not implemented. The American authorities allow wallets to be carried in hand through screening devices due to the high risk of theft, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Shoes. A video on the US Transportation Security Administration's official YouTube page states that shoes-on-the belt is a “request” and that “it is not mandatory, so passengers who are concerned about their footwear can choose to place them in a bin.” If screeners can't get a clear view of the shoes, they re-run the bin, no big deal. This is also the case in London, where everything must go into a bin, including shoes. I put my shoes in a bin for a reason, and Bermuda screeners should let them be that way, rather than yelling at me.

Cell phones. There is no prohibition on the use of phones at US security screening areas; in fact, videotaping with cell phones is explicitly allowed, according to TSA's website. Airport security screening is separate from the US immigration pre-clearance facility, where phone use is forbidden but rarely enforced.

We need to make a good impression on visitors from the time they enter to the time they leave. Let's align the departures experience with the US TSA rules and replace the nasty officials barking these rules with friendly folks to wish our visitors a pleasant goodbye while looking for actual threats: guns and bombs. Wallets can stay in hand, shoes can go in a bin, and phones can be used until they go in the bin.

TRAVELLER

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Published March 05, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated March 04, 2014 at 5:34 pm)

Security process leaves a lot to be desired

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