Lack of Security at Bristol Airport

Britain’s border security is sorely lacking and it has been suggested that the airport in the city of Bristol is wide open for illegal immigrants or terrorists. Businessman David Sturgess and his wife, a U.S. citizen, returned to Bristol from a short trip to Ireland and were rather surprised to be shown through an entry gate but without any passport checks. There were no customs officers in sight. How could that happen?

In Bristol International Airport, there is a gate for arrivals from the Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands. Sturgess also commented terrorists could easily fly to Ireland where security isn’t so tight and then hop on a connecting flight to Bristol. James Gore, an official at Bristol airport, insisted that Great Britain, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and the Republic of Ireland collectively form a common travel zone.

There are other reports of inconsistent airport security at Bristol. Adrian Levy was travelling to Barcelona, Spain, for a company trip. He didn’t realize there was a six-inch knife for opening boxes in his luggage. The stainless steel yachting knife had a serrated edge and a separate three-inch spike for loosening sailing knots. Baggage checkers didn’t see the knife, and Mr. Levy didn’t realize he was carrying a potentially dangerous weapon until after he cleared security. It was in the side pocket of his bag and was astonished they overlooked it. The knife was made of metal, so why didn’t the x-ray machine detect it? These days water bottles aren’t even allowed on board a commercial airliner.

Lax security isn’t the only issue putting Bristol International Airport in an unfavorable light. There is a new “silent airport” policy that was enacted a couple of years ago, and what that means is that fewer announcements are made over the PA system. Only mandatory security messages and final calls for boarding are announced in order to reduce noise – and stress – in the departure lounge.

It sounds reasonable and comforting, and instead of messages blaring from the overhead speakers there are departure screens situated throughout the airport so passengers know their gate numbers and departure times. Not all passengers are happy, though. Patrick Bury was stranded at Bristol Airport after he missed his Ryanair flight to Dublin, due to what he claimed was inconsistent boarding announcements. Apparently there was a priority boarding call, but no main or final calls.

Airport officials at Bristol International expressed sympathy to Mr. Bury, who ended up having to book a new flight. However, his claim of not being informed that boarding was taking place was dismissed.

Bristol airport stands in stark contrast to Gatwick airport, which now has full-body scanners. These devices were unthinkable in the years before 9/11. Manchester airport is far smaller than Gatwick and won awards for its efficiency. Body scanners have been operating there for a much longer time. Passengers want to feel safe, particularly in this age when the threat of terrorism can strike anytime – and anywhere. Straighten up and fly right, Bristol!

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