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Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:29 am

The History Of Security Checks?

Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:57 am

Good evening,
I was wondering with all the security checks nowadays because of terrorist threats, was there ever a day and age when people could walk into an airport and board an airliner without going through any kind of security , and if there was when did things change? I know 9/11 changed things drastically, but before that what brought about the threat that required tighter security. When I was young it was much easier to board an aircraft, there was still security and metal detectors but visitors without boarding passes were still allowed to the gates. Maybe someone who has been flying longer might have some answers. Thank you...
Posts: 428
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2005 6:03 am

The History Of Security Checks?

Mon Sep 04, 2006 1:05 pm


The security screeneings that you wer accustomed to pre 9/11 were put in place in response to a rash of hijackings in the 1970's. Several planes were hijacked to Cuba.

Before that, it was about the same as boarding a train.

Oh, and people used to dress up to go on a flight.

And the food was good.

And they were called "stewardesses."


.... oh well. All these things must end; but always too soon.
My happy place is FL470 - what's yours?
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RE: The History Of Security Checks?

Mon Sep 04, 2006 8:03 pm

Quoting C680 (Reply 1):
Before that, it was about the same as boarding a train.

I wonder if thats gonna change too, I have seen increased police presence in german train stations.

I hope not... probably not so soon.
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RE: The History Of Security Checks?

Mon Sep 04, 2006 8:20 pm

Probably the first security checks involved ElAl airlines in the mid to late 1960's due to the political situations and threats to them from that.
In the USA, the first security checks were put in the early 1970's due a large number of hijackings of aircraft to Cuba, by immigrants whom wanted to return there or had got into trouble in the USA. Guns and large knives were them primary target of the security checks, mainly using metal detectors. Then you had the 'D.B. Cooper' hijacking (where he jumped from a NW 727 by the tail stairs) which then triggered the use of x-ray machines. In Europe, the 1972 Olympics attacks in Munich and a series of other hijackings by middle eastern based terrorists put the first checks in Europe an many other areas of the world.
During the 1980's and into the 1990's more strict id checks, better x-ray technology, more questioning, tighter ticketing rules, less access to non-ticketed pax past security came into being as other terror attacks developed, including bombs and so on.
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RE: The History Of Security Checks?

Mon Sep 04, 2006 9:33 pm

The main changes in Aviation Security have, and are still occuring, within the Security Screening of airport staff.
When I joined the airport in the mid 70's although security was "tight" because of the IRA situation, staff were still allowed airside with no body, bag or vehicle searches. Personal ID's were only a photographic card, no magnetic strip, no other information other than name, who you worked for, staff number.
If you left your ID at home you went to a portacabin located in the gravel car park, now the Central Bus and Underground Station and fill in a pink slip to allow entry airside for 24 hours.
A colleague replaced his photograph with a picture of a "monkey" from Planet of the Apes comic, it took the BAA security (then known as the Chocolate Soldiers because of the colour of their uniform) two months to notice !!!
Staff now have to pass through all the same security as passengers, even though having to get clearances from Criminal Records Checks and Counter Terrorism Checks before being able to work airside.
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RE: The History Of Security Checks?

Mon Sep 04, 2006 9:59 pm

I remember in the late sixties it was possible to enter the departure lounge for Danish domestic flights with a suitcase, drop on a luggage trolley and walk away without showing a ticket. The trolley was not parked beside the check-in desk, but in the far end of the room. My family and I discussed it for fun, if I need something big to be mailed to me, my parents, living in the opposite end of the country, could dump a parcel on the trolley, and I could get off the trolley in my airport for free!
For sure those days are long gone now.....