Airport security

On a recent short trip I travelled “hand baggage only”. I threw in my travel washbag without even thinking about the contents, as it would have had what it had in for the last trip. However, it usually goes into the checked baggage.

As I stood beltless and shoeless waiting for my rucksack to come through the X-ray machine, I felt a sudden icy chill at the realisation that I had a pair of scissors in the bag. Full-size, not nail scissors, and with a sharp 4-5 inch blade. Don’t ask me why they live in the washbag; I have no use for them.

The bag was pulled to one side and a very stern man asked me if he could search it. Really he was telling me that he was going to search it. He pulled out the washbag, and undid the clip. The scissors were in a closed section inside. In another section with a clear plastic screen was a jar of hairstyling wax (almost as redundant as the scissors in my case).

He jabbed a finger at the offensive container and looked me in the eye.

“What’s this? Hair wax?”

I nodded.

“That’s why you’ve been stopped today. Any liquid, gel or wax should go into the clear plastic bag.”

“I’m terribly sorry.”

He shook his head wearily and folded up the washbag, returning it to me with the other contents for me to repack.

So, less embarrassing than it might have been. However, it’s hard to see the point of the endless queues etc given that (a) undeclared liquids and gels are not even examined and (b) the X-ray machine can’t even spot a pair of scissors.

This was on the way back, too, so they’d missed both of them on the way out…

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