Friday, October 28, 2011

Security at the airport

The security procedures at Changi airport is excessive and is causing a lot of inconvenience. Here is my experience.

1. On arrival at the airport terminal, I have to screen my bags. Why is this necessary when the bags are also screened at the check-in counter and at the boarding room?  I suspect that this is to prevent a bomb going off before check-in. Is this so important?

2. Before entering the departure hall, I have to show my ticket and passport to the policeman.

3. After going through the automated gates and have my finger printed, there are still people to look at my passport. I recall that this procedure was implemented when someone passed the immigration desk though with a wrong passport. Do we need to over-react to this mistake by introducing another set of check?

4. Before entering the boarding room, I have to go through a detailed screening. The laptop and mobile phones and other metallic objects have to be removed  In spite of removing so many items, it is likely that the metal detector will beep and subject me to a physical check.

5. I still have to show my passport to the staff who scan my ticket.

Altogether, I have to show my passport three times and have my bags scanned twice. I suspect that more requirements will be introduced to combat other security concerns. The question is - are these measures overdone?


komatineni said...

Well, I'm quite proud to say that Changi experience is still one of the best experience. I've been traveling for quite some time and if I recall couple of my most recent trips it makes me much more happier that I am in SG.
Manila --> Q up for 1 hour to enter the airport; show passport; Security scan; Q again for check-in; Show your pasport; Q again for Customs; Show your passport; Q again; Pay the airport fees; Security scan- remove your shoes,belt; Final security check; Q again; show your passport; Q again to get in to the flight.

San Francisco - same as above except the airport usage fees & customs..

Now which one is better? While I agree the duplication might not be necessary this is a simple step and glad I'm sure no one can enter the flight 'accidentally'

Anonymous said...

Obviously it is common for Singaporean agencies to provide patch-fix when something happens, simply by adding on more procedures on the already existing procedures, sometimes without regards to the big picture.

Sometimes it becomes not only tiresome for those being screened, but also exhausting for people carrying out the checks. The management could have sat down and plan out a grand-procedure by taking into account the main intend of such security checks. They will definitely save more resources and in turns tax-money, which can be utilised elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

All these checks are the reasons why airport taxes are now almost as expensive as the airticket itself. You pay hundreds of dollars so that they can hire more people and machines to check and recheck you. You are paying for the inconveniences. I try to minimise taking an airplane and instead use the airport taxes to shop and dine instead.

Anonymous said...

Problem is more and more procedures and requirements are added without anyone looking at the whole picture. When I was working at Mnc finance head, I was wondering why we produced so many reports for HQ and wondering whether those reports were necessary, useful and whether anyone is looking at them.

Instead of asking HQ, I merely drop sending the report one by one for those I felt they are useless. After six months, no one ever notice and I concluded that no one is looking at HQ while in the meantime new report requirements came in. If I have not dropped those reports presumerly required by people who no longer there, we would need to employ more and more staff locally just to comply. I have done that throughout my career and I have never increased head count even as business expanded by two to three times over the years. I have even reduce head count while sales and profit increased by getting rid of unnecessary requirements.

Anonymous said...

Bottomline is authorities adopt you are guilty until proven innocent policy. Unless you are part of the establishment, then smooth flowing.

E.g. SAF personnel on special chartered flight. Preferably you're officer instead of non-com, otherwise still got spotcheck and drug sniffing dogs.

E.g. Certain civil servants and stat board staff have diplomatic passport --- VIP treatment. And you don't need to be senior to have such passport e.g. 28-yr old on 2-yr overseas posting. And you also have access to Diplomatic Bag where you can put in all kinds of nonsense which would be banned if brought in normally.

Anonymous said...

I felt angry too when I was subjected to excessive airport security check. But when I sat at the quiet corner of the airport and looked at the stream of passengers who consist of all kind of people and nationalities, I wonder how the hell the aiport going to sniff out trouble makers? Maybe the check make sense.

Terrorist is the biggest concern. Natioanal Geogrphic high lited many cases on how terrorists managed to bypass security check and bring explosive onboard. Airport security try to prevent that by looking at the people and luggages going into the aircraft.

Anyway, with this heighten security, airport still managed to lost my luggage and they were unable to locate it!! That make me wonder whether the airport security is effective.

The upgraded x-ray software is so smart now and it gives a lot of trouble to nonchalent passengers who bring in swiss knife, nail cutter etc in their hand luggages.

Anonymous said...

The unnecessary security measures are part of the symptoms of a lack of leadership and vision in Singapore. Not being able to tell the difference between ACTIVITY and ACTION.

Straits Times, 28 October, Friday, page A36, "A Chance to Move Up in Life". Reference the last 7 paragraphs.

Some PAP MPs say Singaporeans have to "moderate their expectations".

I wonder if that is also the title of Gerard Ee's review of politicians' pay: "Moderating their Expectations"?

The Early Years of PAP:
"From 3rd World to 1st World"

Present Day PAP:
"From 1st World to Managing Singaporeans' Expectations"

So sad to see the formation of a new party in Singapore;
People's Activity Party.

Anonymous said...

The problem could be due to the nature of Singaporeans themselves. When something went wrong, a lot of noise was created to find out who to blame. Thus only perhaps Singapore's MRT has to have platform doors on above ground stations. In some countries, even underground stations do not have doors. The warning yellow line should be enough, but here, the authorities must protect us from our own carelessness, and lack of self responsibility.

There are people who wanted all junction pedestrian crossings to have signs telling cyclists to dismount. All drains which could be flooded during a heavy downpour now will have barriers to protect impatient pedestrians who could not even wait for the water to subside.

So there you are.........multiple security checks, and definitely more to be added.

financialray said...

I think tight security check is important, after all, majority of us do not go to the air port every day.

Human beings are not perfect, sometimes we overlook, so to check through 2-3 times, as long as the inconvenience is not too much, we Singaporeans willing to give and take.

Better to have good security than to wait for some incident then complain why our security system at airport so lax. Singaporeans have a high standard hor.

Anonymous said...

how about getting free wifi access in our airport? you must go all the way to the information counter to get the password so that the police can track its usage.

Tan Kin Lian said...

There are some people who will blindly support all types of measures "in the name of security".

I suggest that security should be measured, and only those that are cost effective (including cost and inconvenience to passengers) to be implemented. Not all types of impractical measures just for the sake of security or "looking good".

There will always be some risks that are uncontrollable. The worst is to impose measures that add to the burden of innocent passengers and still not prevent the terrorist from doing their work.

We have to accept a certain amount or risk in living our lives, otherwise we better not step out of the door. And be careful, the home can be risky as well.

I know that some, perhaps most, Singaporeans are so risk adverse that they will pay any price to avoid risk. And they will be bankrupt in the end for paying the unnecessary cost.

A Singaporean said...

Security at US airports are a lot worse, which makes security at Changi airport feels comparatively mild. Actually, US do insist on extra security for other airports with US-bound flights. In any case, the security arena is overdone all over the world.

Snowy Beagle said...

Mr Tan,

From the time you arrive at the airport to the time you actually board the plane, you'd go through many areas populated by people who are not actually supposed to board the plane.

These include staff in F&B and other shops, transit passengers and others.

Hence, identity checks are carried out at each point to ensure only those with legitimate reasons can pass through the checkpoints, including the "final" stage just before boarding the plane.

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