London Heathrow Airport, the third busiest airport in the entire world, naturally has various security measures in place in order to insure the safety of airline passengers and crew. Over past couple of decades, as the threats from rogue terrorist organizations have evolved, so too has the technology designed to prevent the materialization of these threats at Heathrow Airport. Although it might be a pain for the majority of passengers, the following security at Heathrow Airport technologies and protocols are essential in ensuring that a day like September 11, 2001, where the United States lost 3,000 of its citizens to a terrorist attack originating at airports, does not happen again.
The Procedures for Security at Heathrow Airport
In order to expedite the check in and boarding process at Heathrow Airport, there are certain protocols an individual can take before arriving at the airport. The most helpful would be to take only what is truly needed on board the plane. This will greatly reduce the time that is spent getting checked at the security line. Passengers should also know that containers greater than 100ml in volume of liquids, gels and pastes are not allowed on the plane. Exceptions can be made, however, for liquid baby food and milk. Again, only the necessary amount of food/liquid should be taken on board the plane. In order to be sure of the contents, a passenger may be asked to open his/her bag and to taste the contents of the containers. What about medications? At Heathrow Airport, children’s medication over 100ml in volume is allowed in hand bags. A prescription or medical note is required for this, however. Other steps one can take if children are traveling would be to make sure that they are wearing shoes with Velcro straps. This is due to the possibility of security asking passengers to remove their children’s shoes. With Velcro straps, this process will be much quicker. Furthermore, it is imperative that children do not take toys that resemble firearms or any type of weapon in any way. This can quickly a rise suspicion and stir up a panic at the airport. This is obviously not something that you would want to cause.
Security at Heathrow Airport – Body Scanners
An increasing area of concern for passengers at Heathrow Airport and at other airports around the world is the use of body scanners to aid in security efforts. Are the x-rays harmful? Do the images generated reveal too much of the passenger’s body? The following is meant to clear up many questions about body scanners. First of all, the people chosen to be body scanned are chosen randomly, and passengers need not get nervous if they are chosen. As far as current research can tell us, body scanners are safe to use. Tests by government agencies in the United Kingdom have determined that the x-ray dose administered by the scanner is far below dangerous levels and does not pose an unacceptable risk to human health. If you are still concerned about the safety of these body scanners, keep in mind that they are far less intrusive process than hand searching since there is no physical contact. Unfortunately, there is no alternative to the body scan at Heathrow Airport should you be randomly chosen. If you refuse to take the body scan, you will not be allowed to travel. Heathrow Airport acknowledges that this may appear harsh, but that it is necessary to maintain security levels. When it comes to privacy, current body scanner software produces images in a generic stick figure image. A red line will be streaked on the stick figure should the scanner detect possible items that are not allowed on the plane. Furthermore, none of the scanner images are saved, so they cannot be retrieved at a later date.
Although security at Heathrow Airport may seem like a daunting thing to go through, passengers should not feel weary or nervous. Although security is extensive and strict, it helps ensure a safe flight and the safety of passengers and airport workers.