Airport security and the monetisation of distrust

I am just back after a trip of 10 days and have suffered the travails of airport security at 5 airports.

It occurs to me that the behaviour of the security personnel (by definition composed of people required to follow a particular protocol and required NOT TO THINK) is primarily a measure of distrust.

  1. The “security” industry is just too large and too lucrative to disappear.
  2. Whether or not airport security achieves its purpose is not measurable and it is to the industry’s benefit that it not be measurable.
  3. The greater the inconvenience and hassle generated, the greater the perception that something useful is being achieved. (Hassle free security checks – which could be done – is not beneficial to the industry).
  4. The security checks are the single most disruptive and stressful part of the journey.
  5. Idiot security staff (chosen so since they are not required to think) are vested with a power to ruin your travel experience and doing so is one of the little pleasures they have in their jobs. They are more formidable than any immigration control officer.

Distrust has been monetised and some industries are making a killing. It is the monetisation of the precautionary principle where it pays handsomely to be alarmist.

I will not see a return in my lifetime to the days when the travel itself was a pleasurable experience. Those days are long since gone and will probably never return.

Fortunately it is still exciting to arrive.

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