‘I still have over twenty trays at this point.’ Airport Passenger Was Told To Put Only Four Electronic Items In Each Tray So They Did Exactly That
by Matthew Gilligan
Airport security can either be relatively smooth or it can be a total NIGHTMARE.
And this story sounds like it definitely belongs in the latter category.
This person was flying back home from a long trip when they had an interesting experience with airport workers.
One electronic item per tray? Sure, no problem!
“This happened yesterday, as I was returning home from a two week trip to Germany. The final leg of the flight departed from Paris, where I had this lovely interaction with the agents whom, despite me knowing are not TSA, I still refer to as TSA in my mind.
While going through security in the airport, I know the drill, belts off, jacket off, take the laptop off my bag. So I submit to the x-ray four trays: one with my carry on, one with my laptop by itself, one with my belt, watch and jacket, and one with my personal item (think a fanny pack).
And they were chosen to be looked at a little more closely.
I’m randomly selected for further screening (I have a Lebanese last name and a beard. I’m ALWAYS randomly selected for further screening) and the agent berates me for putting all my electronics together.
I point out that I took my laptop out of the bag, as per standard procedure, and the agent says (screaming at me, mind you) that that is not enough. I must take out EVERY electronic device from my carry on and put each of them in an individual tray, and I’m being sent to the back of the line to do so.
Knowing that things escalated needlessly, they decided to get a little revenge.
Here comes the malicious compliance: there are two things this French-TSA Agent is unaware of: the first thing is that I’m a videographer by trade and I was in Europe to cover an event (SPIEL) with video footage and interviews. The second thing is that Air France changed my flight times so my 2 hours layover became a 10 hours layover, which I’m not particularly happy about.
So I’m being sent back to the end of the line and I have to submit each electronic item individually? Sure, no complaints from me. Two camera bodies, one drone, one gopro, four lenses, nine batteries and two lavalier microphones later, there is no more space in the treadmill. People behind me are complaining they will miss their flight, because I’m taking so long.
Hey, just following orders!
There’s nothing I can do, I’m just following the orders I received. And at this point, I only unpacked my photography vest and fanny pack. The treadmill starts moving, some space clears up to put additional trays, and that’s when I open my carry-on bag. Again, I’m in Europe for work. I didn’t bring any nice clothes or shoes or anything. All my personal effects are in the checked-in luggage.
The carry-on is filled EXCLUSIVELY with electronics. I still have four microphones, two recorders, lights, additional lenses, battery chargers, video monitors, audio monitors, drone controllers. Once I open my carry on, it’s very clear for everyone within eyesight that I’m not even 1/3 of the way done. One electronic per tray? Sure thing, I’ll just occupy this entire checkpoint by myself, then.
People were NOT happy with what was going on.
The people behind me are literally screaming about their missed flight to the point the security agents leave their posts to control the line.
Someone in a non-uniform suit appears, and talks to the agent who sent me to the back of the line.
And it seems like these security guards learned a valuable lesson that day.
That’s when the unthinkable happened: the agent comes to me and says there would be no need for me to continue separating my electronics, and I could just submit my entire carry-on bag as a single item and they’d examine it further if it seemed necessary.
“You sure?” I asked “Because it’s no bother at all, I can keep unpacking here all day long”
They insist it’s not necessary, but I still have over twenty trays at this point occupying the treadmill.
I go through the metal detector, I spend some minutes recovering and repacking everything, and based on the amount of fuming passengers, I like to think I contributed to Charles de Gaulle reviewing their stance on x-raying individual electronics.”
Let’s see how people reacted.
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I would’ve been pretty annoyed by this whole situation.
No doubt about it!