Opinion

Sunday 17 December 2017

Mary Kenny: I don't want apology for my strip-search at airport but I do want policy revised

Airport authorities need to review their policies. Photo: Getty Images/Creatas RF
Airport authorities need to review their policies. Photo: Getty Images/Creatas RF
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

There are, I am told, two sure ways of moving through airport security without getting unduly hassled by the security personnel: one is to be pushed through in a wheelchair. The other is to wear a full-length burqua and insist, if a search is suggested, that any invasion of one's personal body space goes against religious rights.

Coming through the security barriers before boarding a flight to Kerry, I alerted the security personnel -- as I always do at an airport -- that I am the beneficiary of two hip prostheses and, therefore, the alarm always zings when I go through. The usual procedure, then, is to run the sensor over the body parts, which picks up the steel elements in the hip joints. And as the woman security officer was doing this, she said: "Just stand here, my darling."

"Please," I said, "don't call me 'darling'. Particularly since you call male passengers 'sir'." "All right, my darling," she repeated. I said, once again, that I found these terms of endearment to be patronising to women: in America, if they say "Sir" to a male, they'll say "Ma'am" to a female. And with that, she signalled to a colleague -- an exceptionally tall and rather intimidating young woman -- and whisked me off for a strip-search.

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