I returned recently from a trip to the United States and began to question the effects new airline luggage policies have had on flight security. On one hand the limitation of checked in bags to one bag per passenger is a positive change. This is especially true concerning security procedures behind the scenes. It is far easier to secure a flight when the volume of heavy passenger bags has been reduced by almost fifty percent.
While standing in line for the personal security checks I came to realize that the new luggage restrictions has created a new problem for security agencies. Since passengers would naturally try to avoid paying a surcharge on a second suitcase, they are now trying to board their flights with double the hand bags that were previously carried on board. I watched men with large back packs and computer cases standing in line while women planned to board with a rolling case, a large purse, and shopping bags full of goods.
The changes in carry on policies have undoubtedly created new problems regarding security procedures. Agents sitting at x-ray screens must now clear double the number of hand bags as they did in the past. While other security personnel are doing body checks, I must ask are the carry-on screeners able to concentrate under the pressures they face to move passengers through their security checks?
The lines I saw at two major airports were uncomfortably long. Each passenger seemed to use multiple plastic containers to hold shoes, belts, metals, computers and coats. The containers were lined up with the multi carryon bags waiting to be fed onto the conveyor towards the x-ray machines. With a major increase in the volume of personal goods being carried in to an airplane I believe it is time for airlines and airport security personnel to reconsider boarding policies.
Having worked in the airline industry for many years, and having been trained to operate similar screening machines in my youth I somehow felt a sense of insecurity at the volume of passenger possessions requiring a full check by pressured agents at both busy airports. Carryon baggage volume must be reduced in order to strengthen security procedures and reduce the pressures on the long lines of passengers waiting to be checked. On the brighter side wouldn’t it be great to be able to board a flight and to be actually able to find a place for your carry on.
By NACHMAN KLIEMAN
FORMER SPOKESMAN OF EL-AL