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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-09-09 09:09
Subject: [travel] The hop across the Big Pond, some notes on security
Security: Public
Tags:australia, calendula, new zealand, travel
calendula_witch describes our trip home, at least thus far. One leg to go.

I will comment that international security is a bit ridiculous. You go through security to get on the plane. You go through security when you get off the plane and transfer. You've been inside a sterile area the entire time. Unless duty free shops are rife with terrorist agents or something. In Auckland, we cleared transfer security (complete with screaming children and the usual flying-with-amateurs types), only to clear US-destination security 100 yards later. Because so much might have happened to us to walking down that hall, I guess.

It was revealing that as we were going through the second Auckland security check, the guards discovered the scanning portal had not been turned on when used for the passengers who'd proceeded before us. They consulted briefly, decided it was too much trouble to make everyone come back up, and kept the line going.

So what was the purpose of this checkpoint if the scanners not being on didn't matter? Really, Barclay. The magic of security theatre, inconveniencing travelers everywhere to preserve governmental deniability.

Anyway, home beckons and brain is frazzle. Watch for photo essays on the trip over the next few days. Y'all play nice in the mean time.

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User: fledgist
Date: 2010-09-09 17:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Magical thinking?
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User: desperance
Date: 2010-09-09 18:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So what was the purpose of this checkpoint if the scanners not being on didn't matter?

This is on a par with the way I learned that you weren't allowed to carry loose batteries in your cabin baggage any more: when they stopped me at security and told me so, and made me go back out to put 'em in an envelope and send them as checked baggage. I asked them if it was okay to have my camera with me in the cabin, and oh yes, that was fine. Which made me furious, because the loose batteries were spares for the camera. Which it would take me exactly two seconds to take the batteries out of the camera and thus have loose batteries in the cabin, if that's a risk. I don't care how stringent the rules are, so long as they're logical and consistent; stupid just drives me crazy...
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User: msconduct
Date: 2010-09-10 00:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
How weird. The TSA site says you can't carry loose lithium batteries in your checked baggage but are fine to take them in your carry-on, and there is no limit on other types of loose batteries in carry-on luggage. And they specifically ask you not to check any battery.
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User: msconduct
Date: 2010-09-10 00:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
To be honest, we're not all that panicked about security in New Zealand. Our obscurity and distance means we tend to think our chances of being a terrorist target, or a launching pad for terrorists, is about the same as us being asked to join the G8. Security on internal flights, especially, is very lackadaisical. I got a flight from the tiny airport of Blenheim once: no x-ray, and the only question the check-in desk had about my suitcase is where I'd got it because he wanted one. This may strike the more terrorist-oriented world as alarming, but it's actually pretty realistic. The entire world is not at an identical threat level.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2010-09-10 11:06 (UTC)
Subject: Heathrow variation
I just went through Heathrow on Wednesday, and as I was in line at security (for the second time, after being misdirected to terminal 3), I heard a Heathrow employee loudly telling a coworker, "This place is a joke." I can only wonder what specifically he was referring to, but it didn't instill a lot of confidence to a first-time visitor to Heathrow.

-Nee in Germany
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