Benet Wilson on Security Fun


So the Cranky Flier is off on some boondoggle. But rather than give you, his loyal readers, a few days off from his pearls of wisdom on the aviation industry, he called on some of his few friends to fill in as guest bloggers. Cranky BenetIn my day job, I’m the editrix of Aviation Week’s Towers and Tarmacs blog, covering the wild, wonderful world of airports.

So of course, I’m going to write about what I know best. My sister is a police officer on the West Coast. She really loves her job, and is addicted to all shows law enforcement. But she recently started watching the A&E cable show “Airline,” which covers Southwest Airlines in its larger airports. Sister couldn’t believe how ridiculous people act in airports, and I had to tell her that even in these post-9/11, tight security times, bad behavior still abounds.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) web site is a virtual gold mine of things that screeners catch in passengers’ bags, including guns, a belt buckle knife, a torch lighter, fireworks and assorted drugs. I am amazed that people still try and bring guns through security – or conveniently “forget” that the gun is in there in the first place. And I could write a separate blog just on the escapades of celebrity “incidents” at airports. But let’s just look at a few examples of exactly what’s been going on at airports around the world.

Drugs and rampers don’t mix. How many times have I written about airport and airline ramp employees being caught smuggling drugs, guns and illegal goods, taking advantage of their positions? Passenger Stupidity LevelsOur friends at the Gadling blog tell us about 4 baggage handlers at Madrid Barajas Airport who worked with “loaders” to smuggle cocaine into the country.

Get to the airport earlier next time. Next we have an article from the New York Daily News. Rosalinda Baez, described as an executive earning $190,000 a year as a consultant for Dell with homes in Manhattan and Texas, was arrested after she was denied boarding on a JetBlue flight after the jetway was closed. Instead of just waiting for the next flight or making arrangements, Baez instead decided to get the plane to come back by asking what the gate agent would do if there was a bomb in her suitcase, which was on the aircraft she missed. She also raged against TSA and its policies. She was questioned and arrested by the FBI. She was released on $200,000 bond and is banned from flying JetBlue until the matter is resolved.

Drinking and airplanes don’t mix. Boston TV station general manager Randi Goldklank must have been drinking the same water as Baez, because she had her own incident at Logan airport. According to the Boston Globe, Goldklank came off a Delta Air Lines flight smelling of alcohol and was screaming and causing a disturbance at the gate. Airport police were called to try and calm her down. But instead she struck an officer, said she was a “big shot” that would have all the police officers’ jobs. Goldklank was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer, and was placed on leave from the television station.

Snoop Dogg is vindicated. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Snoop has had his issues at airports. Back in 2006, Snoop and his “posse” were in a brawl in British Airways’ first class lounge at Heathrow (which I’ve been in – sweet) after employees asked some of them to leave. The dust-up caused the rapper to be banned from BA and the government to reject his visa into the UK. But a UK judge has ruled that Snoop can get a visa, since the fight was “precipitated by decisions made by BA staff and police,” according to the Times. The judge said he couldn’t find any evidence that Snoop had even been responsible for the brawl, agreeing with a ruling made by an immigration judge back in January. All’s well that ends well.

And speaking to Heathrow and ending well, I thought I’d end this post with this YouTube link. It’s a hilarious song about the disaster that is the new Terminal 5. Enjoy, and pop over to see me at the Towers and Tarmacs blog anytime!

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6 comments on “Benet Wilson on Security Fun

  1. >>Baez instead decided to get the plane to come back by asking what the gate agent would do if there was a bomb in her suitcase<<

    That’s editorializing the situation. Baez had a good point, however: if you want to fly some luggage without you being on the plane (Lockerbee, anyone?), just don’t get on the plane. Perhaps her tone of voice wasn’t civil at the time, and she upset an underpaid airline employee with an authority complex, but that wouldn’t be the first time.

  2. The fact that people are unknowingly bringing guns through security reminds me of a very old Sam Kinison skit. His vengeful wife packed a loaded gun in his carry-on.. or so Sam stated.

  3. I thank you all for the nice comments. And I do a version of this column — called Strange But True Airport News — every Friday over at Come over anytime!

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