A bright late-afternoon sun heats the Monrovia airport tarmac, yet the 20 Liberians crowded into the back room of the Wings restaurant next door sit in complete darkness. They are studying other people’s passports. A worldly selection of travel documents – Belgian, Nigerian, Singaporean, Iraqi – is strewn across tables, but the Liberians train the blue glow of ultraviolet lamps on those from the US. They raise the passports to their eyes as an expert guides them page by page through the security features built into the passport and the best known…
01Kenya Airways plane
02A passenger is screened
03Baggage handlers at Roberts airport
04Peg Halloran, a TSA official, talks with local journalists at the airport
05Transport minister Alphonso Gaye
06Staff learn to spot fake passports
07The X-ray machine
08Using TSA methods to check passports
09US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Our airport security fixes
From immigration to customs, airports intimidate and annoy. It’s time to rethink the screening process and focus efforts on people who fit the profile and not grannies from Devon.
Polite officials who smile and act as ambassadors are in short supply.
Whatever happened to first impressions? Some countries suggest they’re only fit for cattle.
In London iris-scanners let users avoid immigration queues. But airports have been slow to adopt passenger-friendly technology.
How can drones find insurgents from 20km away but a scanner can only detect explosives in loafers from 20cm?
Surely the100ml rule has run its course.
Are they for security, data collection or just to be annoying?