I’ve never once been
asked to open a bag at an airport after it’s gone through the X-ray scanner,
but on a recent trip to Johannesburg, my sister and I had our belongings
On the outward-bound trip, the eagle-eyed crew at Cape Town International Airport spotted a pair of small paper scissors in my sister’s laptop bag – she’d had no idea they were there – and confiscated them, because you know what kind of havoc small paper scissors can cause on a plane.
And on our return trip, my handbag caused consternation at the X-ray point at Johannesburg International Airport, and I was asked to step to one side and empty out its contents. A vigilant officer had spotted this contraband – a keychain I bought in Holland last year. (It caused all-round hilarity and they didn’t confiscate it, happily.)
I must say that on both occasions (and particularly the return one, when Joburg airport was like a zoo), the staff were polite, friendly and efficient.
- I travelled via Dubai a few years after 9/11, when airport security worldwide was at its peak. I bleeped when I walked through the X-ray machine, and was asked to take off all my jewellery and try again (I’d already removed my belt and shoes, as was standard practice at the time). I did, and it bleeped again. I was asked to walk through with my hands raised (by now the long queue behind me was starting to mutter), and it bleeped again. I was asked if I had any metal plates in my head and I said no (although I was tempted…). Finally, the staff looked at each other, shrugged, and told me to proceed. And that’s how I smuggled a detonator onto the plane. NOT REALLY, OKAY?!