Airports can be tricky places. Each time I’m at an airport, I have no idea what to expect. Within India itself, there are so very many changes! At Mumbai airport, for example, there is no need to scan your check-in baggage in advance. You stroll right up to the check-in counter, collect your pass, deposit your baggage and are on your way. But at many other airports in the country, the first step is getting your check-in baggage scanned and getting the labels on. While I do appreciate the fact that it is all about the security and the safety of passengers but with so many conflicting and contradictory rules, it seriously seems senseless! Also, with the advent of technology, some of the rules are absolutely obsolete and need to be done away with! let’s take a look at some of these:
Liquids in Hand Baggage
Almost every airport in the world has this rule. Liquids over 200ml are not permitted in hand-baggage. For all backpackers, light travellers, and budget travellers, it is exceedingly difficult as they need to switch to hard soap bars or rely on multiple shampoo sachets or travel kits or put their baggage into check-in and wait forever at the airport till it rolls around. While I do understand the security element of this rule, technology has advanced way beyond the 200ml limit and now, many airports abroad are revamping their scanners with the new tech that can detect the liquid and deem it safe instead of making passengers empty liquids off their bags. I just wish the process was expedited and applied the world over globally.
Many places still make every passenger take off all jackets and shoes and place them in the trays for scanning. While some shoes do come with metal elements, not all do. Also, it takes a whole lot of time and is unnecessarily tedious. Again, the one grouse I have is that there is no uniformity at airports. Some insist on this while others honestly do not give a damn. When I was in Jeddah, I and other ladies I was with were literally stripped in a “women only” room for check while never has this happened at any other airport. Why can’t everyone update and have the same standards? Why does one have a full-body auto scanner and the other has a harassed personnel manually scanning everyone with a hand-held detector.
No Electronics In Flight
While many airlines are now doing away with this rule, many still rigidly seem to follow it. Just recently, there was news of India allowing in-flight calls starting October 03. However, nothing has been confirmed as of yet. Most passengers have never understood the need to keep electronics switched off while in flight as it does not even hamper the signals or the waves as it was earlier believed to do. Once again, with some allowing and some simply being anal about it, we wish there was some sort of universal order around the whole issue.
Electronic trays are meant for you to remove the electronic equipment like laptops, portable charger, in some cases mobile phones… In many airports they have a rule for only laptops or tablets while other electronics do not need to be put into trays. In many places, they are used for shoes and jackets too. It’s all very bizarre. Also, some airports only have a very small size that fits phones and not laptops – although they are meant for the latter. Can we have some clarity on just what needs to be scanned separately and what not?
Physical Boarding Pass
This is one thing I seriously wish was done away with. With everyone moving to a paperless, plastic-less ecosystem, airports still waste loads of paper each day on boarding passes. I wish we all simply received a QR scanner code or a bar scanner that acts as a valid pass. While there is the option to add a
No Food and Water
Not all flights, domestic, or international, allow you to carry food. There have been times I have accidentally carried a food packet through check-in and not been stopped for it but there have been times when even a small chocolate created an issue. Also, water. Some airports allow you to carry water or liquids if you sip it in front of them and as long as it isn’t sealed. Having packaged foods shouldn’t be a problem as long as it is not seeds or any other item which cannot be exported. Also, if the person is having a drink and it is safe, it should be allowed through the security check without issue.
Like mentioned above, some airports have a system where you need to put your check-in bag through a scan before you go and take your boarding pass. This needs to be done away with as most passengers today are aware of baggage rules and do not carry inflammables. Also, there are passengers who are always stopped before the boarding if there is anything sensitive in the baggage. One of the claims made is that this prevents flight delays but then, when the passenger has to open the entire bag, remove that one item, put it through the scanner again and the rush, it causes enough of an inconvenience too.
Different Rules At Every Airport
Like I mentioned above, each airport comes with its own set of rules and regulations. Unless you are a regular at any of the airports, you most likely do not know the rules and are stumped each time. Sure, some of them are common but hey, do I keep the jacket on or take it off? Or do I put my phone in trays or not? It is not so much of an issue in a place where the staff is communicative but in places where I do not know the language or the communication is an issue, it can turn pretty difficult and tedious. Wish airports all had standard rules and regulation procedures which they followed with diligence. Easier all around, don’t you think?