Check-in security and common sense

Lawson Over the last few years, we've all watched with exasperation as airline check-in procedures have become increasingly time-consuming and invasive.

The Evening Standard carries a concerning story about the 78 year old peer Lord Nigel Lawson's treatment at the hands of airport security busybodies at London Gatwick Airport.

Faced with demands to take off his shoes, the former Chancellor explained that as a result of surgery he has had to his legs, he is unable to bend down and therefore needs to sit on a chair to remove his footwear.  After much grumbling, a chair was provided with what Lord Lawson's son Dominic describes as "spectacular gracelessness".

Following, this a more senior security officer demanded Lawson hand over his passport.  He refused.  Following this, the officer 'phoned ahead to the airline's passenger gate and ordered EasyJet to deny the peer access to the fight for "not having passed through security".

No elderly – or indeed any – traveller should expect to be insulted by security staff for their medical condition or have to contend with Stasi-style demands to view their documentation.

Should there not be an element of common sense when it comes to check-in security procedures?  Did Lord Lawson really pose a "threat" that had to be dealt with in such a heavy-handed manner?

By Daniel Hamilton

Posted by on Nov 4, 2010 in Body Scanners | 6 Comments


  1. noway
    4th November 2010

    I have given up flying (I used to fly regularly) – I prefer not to put myself in a position to be treated with suspicion.

  2. Mike Cunningham
    4th November 2010

    I am surprised that the ‘security squad’ didn’t hustle the Noble Lord away the moment he demurred to their requirements!
    Once you hand the power to bully over to the apparatchiks, don’t be surprised when bullies pick it up and use it!
    Read the signs in the airport stating that ‘abuse’ of security people will not be ‘tolerated’. The P.C. Version of ‘Do exactly as I say, and don’t complain’.
    Through your votes, you get the country that you deserve!

  3. vervet
    4th November 2010

    As mush as I sympathise with any elderly gentleman that is subjected to such disrespectful treatment, I cannot help but feel glad that a peer and previous member of the House of Commons is subjected to the same treatment as the rest of us. It is even more satisfying that his son Dominic (a prominent member of the MSM) expresses his disgust.
    The reason we are in this state is by the actions of MPs and peers, and the failure of the media to hold them to account.
    I’m afraid they must also reap what they have sown.

  4. alastair
    4th November 2010

    Indeed, though one suspects that victimising Lord Lawson might have been rather foolish of the staff responsible; I can’t imagine that he doesn’t still have the ear of the Conservative leadership.
    Hopefully this will drive them to do something about the security theatre nonsense that we all have to put up with.

  5. David C
    5th November 2010

    Give the security jobsworths and police the powers and they will abuse them. They pick on the weak and the elderly to satisfy their sadistic impulses. They picked on the wrong one this time, maybe elderly, but not so weak as they thought, so it got in the paper. It happens over and over again. Remember the octagenarian ‘terrorist’ at the labour party conference?

  6. Xave
    6th November 2010

    Unfortunately this is the experience that every traveller experience in UK airports these days. They bully customers and treat them with disrespect. I always joke that security staff are the ones who failed the traffic warden tests.