US screening steps 'excessive'

Officers give a demonstration of the first Advanced Imaging Technology unit at John F Kennedy International Airport’s passenger security checkpoint. The new backscatter X-ray full-body scanners can see through clothing and will screen passengers for metallic and non-metallic threats. AFP

“Such measures are completely redundant and should be scrapped,” Martin Broughton, chairman of the British Airways, complained and said that the UK should stop “kowtowing” to US demands for increased security.

The British Airways chief was specifically hard on making people to take off their shoes and said these were not required at least in internal US flights.

“Broughton’s comments by  reflect broader industry and passenger frustration over the steady accumulation of rules on everything from on-board liquids to hand baggage that have blossomed since the September 11 terrorist attacks”, Financial Times reported.

Declaring that hysteria plays into the hands of likes of Bin Laden, the British Airways chief said the practice of forcing people to take off their shoes and have their laptops checked separately in security lines should be ditched.

Visiting dignitaries, VVIPs and even Bollywood stars have not been spared by the tough security screening at the US airports.

Though tough US security checks have raised the ire of many countries, this is for the first time that top travel associated officials have sharply criticised parts of the screening methods. Broughton said there was no need to “kowtow to the Americans every time they wanted something done” to beef up security on US-bound flights, especially when this involved checks the US did not impose on its domestic routes.

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