An evidence-based approached to airport security

03 Jan 2010 | 306 words | airtravel beirut lebanon security

It seems that Beirut International Airport has a refreshingly evidence-based approach to flight security. When standing in line for the second security checkpoint (the one between the duty free area and the actual boarding gates) the security guards produced a half liter metal can from the backpack of the passenger two persons ahead in our line. When he failed to get the lid open with his hands, the teenager directly in front of us handed the security guard a pair of scissors, which he used to open the the can, which turned out to contain black powder (the owner stated that it was paint).

Next the security guard used the tip of the scissors to spoon a small amount of the back powder out of the can, produced a lighter and tried to set the small amount of black powder on fire, which did not result in anything and so the security guard pours a larger amount of the powder on an steel table and tries to light it again which still does not result in an explosion of any kind.

Subsequently, the text on the can is studied some more, the lid it put back on it and the can is returned to its owner (and the scissors to the teenager who had been impatiently waiting all along):

Turned out that the guy with the can of paint was actually traveling on our flight to istanbul and while i was sleeping for most of that flight i certainly did not notice any explosions there either.

[p.s: this is the same checkpoint where, back in 2006 instead of confiscating my beloved multitool they put it in a plastic bag, asked me to write my name and gave it back to me requesting to hand it over to the flight crew for the duration of the flight.]