There are many jobs out there, which I often think “Why would anyone want to do that for a living?” but I guess it takes all sorts to perform different jobs in this world.
Amongst these jobs is Airport Security, which in my opinion is one of the hardest, thankless jobs I have seen for a long time. But yet when you stop to think about it, it is one of the most important jobs there is and performing this correctly and to standards saves thousands of lives every day.
Airport Security has always been an important aspect of travelling and their job is to keep passengers safe. As we all know, airports became increasingly tougher in their security after various attacks and attempts to breach safety and September the 11th changed entirely the way we travel. Since then checks made before you board a plane have taken an entirely new high. All these rigorous checks have been put in place to make sure disasters like those seen in the past do not reoccur again. So when you are an Airport Security Agent, your only job is to make sure all planes take off and land safely. Our lives are in their hands!
When you are a frequent traveller you get used to going through security and know what is required of you. For those going through airports every week, this is a routine you are used to and expect to be asked to take off and remove everything. When you think about it, everything we have to take off or unpack is because someone in the past has tried to bring a plane down with it; shoes, laptops, and liquids. I just hope no one ever tries anything with their underpants, imagine having to takes those off at the checkpoint! So it has become a complex and lengthy process and whether you like it or not, you need to take everything off and out!
Now, for the less frequent traveller this is something that may be see as an inconvenience and a bother. But what they fail to see is that thanks to these rigorous checks and dedicated people, we are all safe to travel.
I was witness to an incident recently whilst travelling through Heathrow Airport. It was 7 am on a Monday morning and I am going through airport security in terminal 1. I have my routine, I know what I have to take off and take out. Just a few places in front of me there was a couple that were travelling I guess to some holiday destination (I am stereotyping here but they had that look of “I’m on holidays!” the sun glasses, book, camera). They are taking things off and out and as they do the security agent on the belt asked the girl to take off her boots. This is standard and everyone who travels regularly knows. She started to make a fuss about having to take her boots off and the security agent explained to her why she had to. So she did and in a mood and muttering something towards the security agent she headed to the other side. As she goes through the metal detector, sure enough she blips. And she does not look happy. She stands a side and she gets scanned. Her male companion goes through and he also blips. So now they are both being scanned. As I walk through, I don’t blip and I hear the girl say, why didn’t he blip? I mean, what a question right?
Less than amused, and having been scanned and searched, they are free to collect their things. But as you can imagine, she has brought liquids bigger than the 100 ml allowance and she is told that either she goes back and checks them in or she is loosing them. And an argument starts, as it seems these are expensive and she is not prepared to loose them. She was not prepared to go back and check them in so she became very rude towards the security agent and in the end she threw them on the table muttering, “You keep them! You need it more than I do!” The agent took them and placed them in the bin as they are not allowed to keep these and she flipped when she saw this. She walked away in rage blaspheming towards the security agents.
I have seen this behaviour several times in other travellers and I do understand why people feel this way. But what I do also believe is that people should realise that they are only doing their job, and not picking on you wishing to give you a hard time. Their job is to keep the skies safe and for that we should be thankful that they take their job seriously.
But even those who know the drill and walk through without being stop, how many times have they stopped to say thank you as they pack their belonging and walk toward the departure lounge? I can tell you from my experience not very often. But when we walk out of the plane we thank the airline staff. When we are in a shop and someone helps us, we say thank you. When we get off a taxi we say acknowledge the taxi driver with a thanks. Even when someone opens a door for us we say thank you, so why not to these individuals who day after day stand there in duty saving people’s lives? Because we take for granted what they are doing and we see them as a foe and not a friend!
As a frequent traveller, a husband and a father, I salute these unsounded heroes, this men and women who every day keep our skies safe, who every day meet thousands of passengers who ungratefully pass by and never say thank you, thank you for what you do to keeping us safe.
I would like to challenge everyone who reads this article to change your mindset and from now on as you walk through Airport Security, whether it is every week for work or once a year for your vacation, to take the time and thank the person who just saved your life. You may get a strange reaction as they are not used to people being nice to them, but if we all start today, then this will become a very rewarding and satisfying job.