Wing and a prayer— Monrovia


If your airport fails to meet US standards, then don’t expect flight connections to JFK or LAX. That’s what left Liberia facing isolation. The solution? Get the Americans in to train your staff and run your airport. We see the global airport fixers at work.

airport security, airports

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…

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.


Passport control

Polite officials who smile and act as ambassadors are in short supply.


Arrivals halls

Whatever happened to first impressions? Some countries suggest they’re only fit for cattle.


Better tech

In London iris-scanners let users avoid immigration queues. But airports have been slow to adopt passenger-friendly technology.


Security checks

How can drones find insurgents from 20km away but a scanner can only detect explosives in loafers from 20cm?


Liquid rule

Surely the100ml rule has run its course.



Are they for security, data collection or just to be annoying?


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