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Florida Guide > Travelling

Security Measures 2010

With all the scaremongering about travelling to the United States of America, I thought I would update you with our experience of the new security systems in place at airports in the United Kingdom.

We travelled on 30th December 2009 a few days after the latest bombing attempt on a flight to Detroit.

We arrived at London Gatwick very early for our flight with Virgin at 1300. We were told to keep checking the Departure Board as we needed to be at the Gate at least 2 hours before take off to enable the close scutiny of our baggage and our body search.

We checked our bags in as normal and proceeded to the security gate. There has been much speculation and talk about how many pieces of hand luggage one is allowed to take and it is meant to be one piece of hand luggage if you are travelling anywhere within the United States of America. However, the baggage checkers do not know the destination of any of the passengers travelling, so at this point, if you have a carry on bag plus a handbag, then that will be okay.

Once you get to the Departure Gate, then you need to make sure you only have one piece of hand luggage, and this includes any Duty Free shopping you may have bought, so leave space in your carry on if you intend to purchase Duty Free. We arrived at the Gate at 1100 and it was after 1200 before we reached the Security checks. This was a slow process and extremely thorough. They took every single item out of the hand luggage, and then checked on items like purses, make up bags, etc. They then tried to place everything back in the bag as it was before and the bag was put on another table before you could collect it. You had to have a full body search which also meant taking shoes, belts, jackets, and the usual items - coins, mobile phones, etc. , out of pockets.

The whole process from arriving at the Gate took us one hour, but we were timing people who arrived after us when there was a longer queue, and it was taking anything up to 90 minutes, so please ensure you don’t leave it until the last minute before arriving at the Gate. The whole process was very simple and if everybody just takes a few items less onto the plane, it will take far less time. It was another ‘thing’ we have to do but as long as it keeps us all safe, then I have no problem with it. It certainly was not a bit stressful, just part of our travel.

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Page added on: 10 January 2010
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