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Airport security checkpoint: running the gauntlet?

Man, I wish I'd been there to see just how this all went down!

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/framed-arrested-and-robbed-by-the-police-in-frankfurt_us_5a58f270e4b01ccdd48b5bbf

So many things to reconsider these days. Stick deodorant is a liquid? A potential explosive? (I once was required to hand over a dangerous-looking 8-oz. bar of chocolate-covered marzipan on these grounds.) And apparently the "N" word (Nazi) can get you a criminal record.

Hard to tell from her account alone how many of her problems were self-inflicted and avoidable. I suspect at least some. But given the power these folks have to empty your wallet and make your day miserable, my take is it's best to take security checks very seriously - know/follow procedures, shut up, respond politely to any questions, however harsh they may sound. And don't argue over deodorant.

Any similar stories out there??

Well, she sounds simply delightful. Not.

Surely an experienced traveller knows you smile politely and let them do what they want to do. Recently in Portugal I was grumpy at the airport and I was made to go back through the X-ray machine because I didn’t smile and say hello at the guard on the other side and had apparently jumped the queue. I felt humiliated but I just did it, because you know what? I’d been rude. And they’re people too.

That whole thing about the guy with the tattoos and the haircut? What on Earth is she on, getting upset by a haircut? Stupid cow. This whole article reeks of entitlement. And a cruddy attitude.

Posted by
5459 posts

I have had TSA people with their own twist on the rules, however I did not react like the person in this piece. The lesson learned is the same advice I give others; regardless of what you think about security agents, their competence, or your sense of being "right", they run the show, it makes no sense to argue. If they say your underwear is a liquid and should be in a quart bag, thank them, pop em in a quart bag and move on. Making a scene just gets you a trip to a little room to the side, and it just goes downhill from there.

Posted by
324 posts

I bet she was behaving as dramatically as her writing style, and the officers were over her antics.
And who goes to Germany and compares people to Nazis in public places?

Posted by
2799 posts

Jane said it: entitlement!

She brought the whole thing upon herself by sending her bag through the scanner without taking out her bag of liquids. And she seems to blame the suitcase for that, as though it put itself onto the conveyor belt.

I feel sorry for her students.

Posted by
2637 posts

As African American families consider it a necessity to give their children “The Talk,” perhaps it can be modified for this angry traveler and someone can give her “A Talk.”

Wow! A PHD from Georgetown who writes with a thesaurus at her side. Roget would be proud. I wonder if part of the problem may have been her academic’s feeling of superiority and infallibility? Of course we’ll never know since we got only one side of the story. No matter what she thinks, security agents at all airports are in a stressful situation and if they discover an anomaly (finding possible traces of an explosive) are instructed to follow an established protocol. Apparently calling the police - and keeping the PHD waiting - was unacceptable since she complained about the time it took for them to saunter up to her.

This is a perfect example of what might happen at a checkpoint if you become belligerent or uncooperative. Don’t fight what they say. They have the power. Even if they misinterpret a rule in your opinion, they are tasked to enforce it. Instead of arguing about the deodorant, why not just toss it, shut up, make your flight and purchase more deodorant when you reach your destination.

Posted by
853 posts

Oh my goodness!! I have been through Frankfurt many times and have always been treated politely.
Maybe because we act polite. And I have been patted down there, after they ask permission.

But my post is to say, with my luck I will be sitting next to this nut case on my next overseas flight!
I'll continue to fly through Frankfurt just to make sure I avoid her!!

Posted by
2505 posts

Entitled self absorbed academician who's uses the words incommodious and quotidian in two sentences! And published in the trashy Huffpost. Consider the source. Behave like this and you get what you deserve!

Posted by
1147 posts

Why would you argue about having to give security your deodorant? I would just turn it over, and buy more at my destination. I also say absolutely nothing (other than short answers to questions). They are just doing their job

I see so many accounts of people who complain about things that happen to them in security and on airplanes. (some by authority figures, others about their fellow passengers) After awhile it starts having a psychological effect and I begin to think that my next trip will be miserable Then I fly and find that for all the complaints it is no better or worse than before.

Posted by
49 posts

Contrary to other replies I find it enlightening that someone would have the courage to stand up to these people. I bite my tongue when I go through security and have never had a real problem however I would like to think I would stand up for my rights like this woman did.

Posted by
7974 posts

That was the most bizarre article. I can see why she has a difficult time everywhere she goes, she takes herself with her.

Posted by
3923 posts

Is it better to lose your deodorant and make your flight, or to stand there arguing over solid vs. liquid definitions and miss your flight plus lose money? Wow, easy choice for me.

Posted by
276 posts

On a flight going home I breezed through security like a sprinkle of dust in a wind tunnel. My 74 year mom confined to a wheelchair was pulled aside for a thorough inspection. When her right hand tested positive for explosives I was very happy we had several hours before our flight. The ample time helped me stay calm knowing we'd make our flight. Her left hand was negative for explosives. The agent left us and returned several times and my mind wondered wondering how someone could build a bomb with only one hand? Maybe one gloved hand? My mom brought me back to Earth when I noticed she was tearing and very nervous. Got me a bit mad agents would put the sweetness woman on Earth through all this but they don't know my mom. The agent, a lady, was actually quite sweet after her fourth return. Much relieved when we were finally allowed to proceed we shared a laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

Posted by
2505 posts

We all recall why we have to endure this, right? Aircraft were used as weapons of mass destruction. I fly a lot and usually security is a minor annoyance. Several times I've had secondary screening and once, in Munich, we almost missed a flight as our bags were torn apart. But, if all of this prevents one madman from blowing up a plane, so be it. Professor Potty Mouth is a good example of how not to behave at a security check point. You should check out her website. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and here is a good eaxmple http://www.christinefair.net/html_pages/home.html.

Posted by
8293 posts

The wonderful, levelling thing about the security lines is that the agents don’t give a fig about your disability, your advanced age or your advanced university degree. You are just another passenger to search and assess, whether you are a university bigwig or Costco cashier small wig. Our heroine seems to have misunderstood that point. Not such a clever boots after all.

Posted by
10260 posts

I have an aversion to scented personal products and finding an unscented, solid deodorant in Europe is difficult. I always carry a spare.

Only once have I been questioned over it. At Berlin Tegel. The officer pointed it out on the screen, I told his it was a solid deodorant, he nodded and that was it.

The one time I did forget to take my 3-1-1 bag out of my bag, at Heathrow, I was pulled aside and the bag was thoroughy searched. It took forever, not because of the search, but because the woman doing the searching kept walking away to argue with her co-workers about who was next to go on break. Finally, another screener walking by, I think a supervisor, was asked to finish the search. I was done in two minutes and got an apology. Lesson learned, always check that my 3-1-1 bag is out and check to make sure everything comes out they want to come out. And that is different everywhere.

I find by being polite to the screeners, smiling, saying hello, and waiting for them to say okay, they seem to treat me better. It's just being courteous to someone who probably doesn't get treated well by most of the public.

For the woman in the story, I think there was something else going on. She may have been targeted for extra security because of her trip to Afghanistan. Pehaps she had the dreaded SSSS on her boarding pass and didn't even know it.

Posted by
12544 posts

Her messages to the Trump voter would have gotten her banned from this board, but apparently not from Georgetown University.

Posted by
7854 posts

Condescending, self-important potty-mouth who may be intelligent but not very smart. I hate to say this, but this is how I’ve seen several misinformed Americans handle situations overseas. They think they have some white, American privilege that will beckon the Marines to come to their aide. It’s a you-don’t-know-who-I-am or I-have-friends-in-high-places attitude, but, it doesn’t work. At some point Georgetown is going to have to deal with her. For now, she says she’s going to see the German ambassador. What a waste of energy and talent.

I wonder how a German arrest could affect her ability to enter and exit Schengen at will.

Posted by
12544 posts

Be careful with her website. One of the links messed up my iPad. I should have known better than to click on it.

Posted by
8293 posts

It would be pleasing to know that she is following this thread. No doubt she is busy running her university and her home city.

Posted by
10260 posts

Note to travelers......the U.S. Constitution does not follow you. The rights you have in this county may not be the same in others.

The Germans take being called a Nazi very seriously. It is even against the law to show the swastika. When Mel Brooks' "The Producers" was going to be performed in Berln, they had to get special permission that would all of the show to be performed as written.

As for the professor, she even says she is a troublemaker on her resume.

Posted by
2154 posts

After reading this article, I never want to use a word with more than two syllables again.

Posted by
18055 posts

She even admits to having a predetermined prejudice against FRA, calling it one of the worst airports in Europe, "Frankfurt Airport is routinely decried as one of Europe’s worst airports."

Skytrax routinely rates airports worldwide on a scale of 1-10 based on customer review. Of the 20 busiest airports in Europe, #4 Frankfurt, at 4/10, is hardly the worst. Ten of the twenty, including FRA, have a 4/10 rating based on customer reviews, along with Heathrow, Gatwick, Copenhagen, and Oslo. Four, Dublin, Schiphol, Zürich, and Munich are 5/10. There are six 3/10, CDG, Orly, Manchester, Fiumicino, Barcelona, and Lisbon. Frankfurt is hardly the worst. There are 10s in the world, but they are all minor airports. It seems that people don't like big airports.

One this side of the atlantic, it's worse. Atlanta, O'Hare, and Baltimore-Washington are 4s, JFK, Philly, and Dulles are 3s, and Newark is a 2.

Posted by
7797 posts

Sure glad I found the condensed version on onemileatatime.

How dare the German airport authorities employee such ignorant police and security screeners that they did not 'know' who she is. Just look at her resume and published article and books. She MUST be right. No?

The Washington Post article I saw referred to "roll-on" deodorant ( not solid stick)