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Europe Vs. USA Airline Security

Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:50 pm

In the past, Europe always appeared (to me) to have much better security than the U.S. However, now I hear about the U.S. wanting foreign airlines to cancel certain flights until they agree to comply with "U.S. standards". I know in Europe they always question passengers about travel plans before they're allowed to board flight, but this doesn't happen in the U.S.

So, in your opinion, who currently has the best airline security? USA or Europe?
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RE: Europe Vs. USA Airline Security

Thu Feb 05, 2004 5:50 pm

Re:I know in Europe they always question passengers about travel plans before they're allowed to board flight

Er, no they don't. They only do this when the flight is going to the US, presumably at the request of the US paranoiacrats, and even then they usually only check your passport (AGAIN !). US carriers do seem to have officious unnecessary people that ask impertinent questions when you're in the check-in queue sometimes, again, mostly at UK airports, as if asking passengers where they intend to stay in the US will suddenly unmask Osama Bin Laden when he replies "Oh, um, I don't know, I'm a terrorist you see".

Apart from that, security in Europe is just the normal metal detector/x-ray/pat-down/paw through the bag type, which is what it's always been - they are maybe a bit more attentive now, is all.

The difference in the US is far more noticeable, because the restrictions in place are far tighter than they used to be. In Europe, non-passengers were never allowed airside, whereas in the US anybody could go through security as far as the gate.
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RE: Europe Vs. USA Airline Security

Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:21 pm

Travelling transatlantic the security is tighter on leaving Europe than it is on leaving the USA, but as JGPH1A pointed out, this is at the request of the US. They don't seem to care as much when you are leaving their country. But in terms of actual security measures they are pretty much the same, although much of the recent tightening of security for US domestic flights is what has been happening for years in Europe.

One noticable difference: they make you take off your shoes and have them xrayed in the US - they don't (from what I've experinced) in Europe.
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RE: Europe Vs. USA Airline Security

Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:27 pm

I've had to take off my shoes at many different airports in Europe (AMS, GVA ZRH, CDG) but it isn't systematic.
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RE: Europe Vs. USA Airline Security

Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:36 pm

Just left Milano for a trip to Thailand/China and at the metal detector station, they searched for explosive on my hands and briefcase.

Bye from Shanghai
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RE: Europe Vs. USA Airline Security

Fri Feb 06, 2004 3:25 am

The main difference is that in Europe you have better trained, reasonably better paid security personnel with full benefits, and airports that have been designed with security in mind. In the US you had until recently a bunch of poor slobs getting paid minimum wage (or close to it), and 4 weeks of trainning (in some cases less), who really don't give a hoot; and airports that were built with the design concept of a shopping mall. Some things may have improved slightly but not much.
If I were a screening monkey getting paid $5 or $6 bucks an hour I wouldn't give a rats ass about what gets through and what doesn't. If I were to get fired because of it, there are plenty of other jobs out there paying that low.
That's basically the difference. People who care and people don't care.
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RE: Europe Vs. USA Airline Security

Fri Feb 06, 2004 3:53 am

The last time I dared to mention the $ billions of money made available by US government specifically for 'security', I was rudely 'shot down' for 'whining.' I'll say it again, there was no government money made available in Europe post 11 September - we just got on with it. That is how we do it here!

Whilst the effectiveness of the US 'low paid' staff may be questioned, for sure the management are to blame in not creating a system that works - irrelevant of how much you pay somebody. Ever heard of Quality Standards? Where is the responsible supervision of adherance to any laid down parameters?

In the meantime we, in Europe as experiencing, at the request of the US paranoiacrats, to be inconvenienced by vague 'intelligence reports' - ask Bush and Blair about their Iraq information!

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RE: Europe Vs. USA Airline Security

Fri Feb 06, 2004 6:17 am

I was very impressed by the security at BHX when I was there to catch a CO flight back to EWR...made the TSA look like incompetent fools again...

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RE: Europe Vs. USA Airline Security

Fri Feb 06, 2004 11:06 am

A thing that you will never see in Europe (especially in Germany) is the screeners just talking to each other and not paying any attention to the bags or the passenger's comments (e.g. "Please put those locks back on"). But the last time I was at ORD the TSA agent was just throwing people's bags around and yelling all over the place while he was not paying attention to what people were saying. However they were very good at yelling at the passengers who didn't trust the TSA agents that were manually searching their luggage to back off (at least 15 feet).
So I would say, the overall security measures are tighter, although one might be able to blame FRA for the Lockerbie incident but A LOT has changed since.
Now that everybody that is flying to the US is under special watch, especially young men (like me  Sad ) and gets the famous "did you leave your bags unattended" question a second time.
And yes, I had to take my shoes off on both sides of the Atlantic.
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