Usually when we hear stories of having to endure a 70-minute wait to get through a security checkpoint, and, upon arriving, being asked to take off your pants for further “screening,” we think of the TSA and American airports. After all, if the TSA is going to leak pictures your junk on the internet, they might as well fondle it first, right?
But actually, that was the scene faced by many yesterday morning at the Beijing Capital International Airport. Thousands of passengers were left stranded or racing to re-book missed flights after the government silently and mysteriously raised the security level for domestic flights leading to extremely long delays at security checkpoints.
Gao, a university professor who refused to give his full name, missed his flight to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region because many passengers were not ready for the tightened security.
“They even asked me to remove my pants,” Gao said, adding that he had not been informed of the security upgrade.
Along with the occasional pants removal, delays seemed to be primarily caused by passengers having to remove their belts and shoes, a measure not usually taken for domestic flights.
Those who have traveled in the United States have come to expect being fondled, violated, insulted and delayed by the TSA while traveling. China, on the other hand, despite being ridiculously unorganized in so many other facets of society, seemed to have their airport shenanigans together and generally left travelers with moderately good feelings and sunny attitudes — until now, it seems.
I guess the time has finally arrived to import our travel tear-away track suits — the convenient and hassle free way to breeze through airport security since 2001.