It is probably easier to get into Langley than it is to go through airport security in India. The process is something that is totally frustrating, inefficient and completely hysterical. The hysterical part is only after it’s all said and done.
It all begins as soon as you enter the parking lot of the airport where an armed guard quickly glances into the car windows to see who is inside and then waves you through. Then, in order to physically enter the airport building there is another guard who checks your passport and flight itinerary that must be printed out. Directly inside the door there is an Xray machine that you put your bags in while you get a pat down by a guard of your same sex. When the bags go through the machine the combination locks are wrapped in tape (which makes for some fun nights when you arrive late to your hotel and you can’t get to your lock because it’s so tightly wrapped in sticky tape). Once this all takes place, you are finally ready to go to the check-in counter.
While at the check-in counter it’s imperative to get luggage tags and attach them to each and every bag that you are hand carrying, this includes plastic bags with water and snacks.
After your boarding pass is acquired the real process begins!
Next step is lining up at the “mother” security checkpoint and showing a guard your ticket and ID. From their the line is broken down to men and women lines. Once your items are on the belt they shuffle you to a private room (where you can no longer see your bags) and you go through another pat down. From there you go back to the security table and wait for your bag to pass through the x-ray machine. Once it has gone through, each luggage tag gets individually stamped. Amy learned this the hard way when she got held up in security once for 30 minutes as they shuffled through her bags. After running to make our flight and board she was stopped because the bag that caused all the raucous in security never got stamped. They had to call a security officer to come over and re-check her entire bag again.
Upon approaching the boarding gate there are 2 more people that check both your ID and boarding pass and if you are lucky, your bag contents…..AGAIN. And because this is India, there is never EVER a plane parked at the gate. One must always get on a shuttle to get to the aircraft. From there………..your bag is re-checked for the 4th time is it now? ID’s and boarding passes are checked by 2 more people, standing shoulder to shoulder and most times there is one final pat down after further being separated into men and women’s lines. For domestic flights it takes a good 2 hours to get through as you can imagine since boarding passes and ID alone are checked 6-7 times. What’s most ironic about this entire process is that bottle watered and soda is allowed, as big as you want (but all other liquids need to be in clear bags), go figure!
We have been through this tiring process 7 times in 30 days…..it’s enough to make you go mad! We have one more flight tomorrow as we leave India for good and this I can tell you is one thing I won’t miss!