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Heathrow Airport
Security check caused me to lose my flight

This is a complained I have just sent to Heathrow, and since I still have an hour of sitting around missing work waiting for the next available flight, I thought the least I could do was tell others what to expect in Heathrow airport.

Today I missed my flight to Glasgow and was late for work, due to the airport security, who not only conducted unnecessary search of me and inappropriate search of my luggage but also had no regard to my constant reminders that my flight will be boarding soon.

Once the scanner beeped and the female officer searched me, she decided I was wearing a corset and had to be put through a personal search.. I said I wasn't wearing a corset (I didn't know such things exist anymore!) and was told I have to go through a personal search. NOT the full body scan, no, only a PERSONAL search would determine the truth of the matter.

I was then taken to a room with two female officers, WITHOUT ANY OF MY BELONGINGS. I was told to leave my handbag with my passport and boarding pass behind, while it was still going though the security scanner. So I was taken away from any form of identification I own and walked into a room leaving it all behind, which left me without a passport or phone inside an airport and my bags unattended and out of my reach.

Inside the room she discovered at last that I wasn't wearing a corset. What she had mistaken for it was a simple wired bra. Instead of giving me the papers I needed to sign, she then decided to LECTURE ME ON WHAT TO WEAR FOR FLYING. When I said that I need to sign and leave because my flight was about to start boarding in a few minutes, she became irate and lost all semblance of professionalism, raised her voice and begun repeating herself in accounting a long list of appropriate and not appropriate airport wear. Many precious minutes later I continued to ask for the paper I was supposed to sign while, the lecture was being repeated in even higher volumes, with the added pleasantness of 'you are making yourself late for your flight if you are not listening to me' and 'you are very rude, you probably don't have many friends do you? ' Apparently reminding an airport employee that my flight is probably already boarding is ground for a criticism of my social life?

The other officer at this point, probably realizing I was being held in the room much longer than required, since the 'search' (AKA the lifting up of my dress to show that I was not wearing a corset, that's all that happened search -wise) had finished a good ten minutes ago, finally begun handing me the papers where my signature (and other irrelevant infromation like my ethnic origin and skin colour) were needed.

I had to read the papers to the best of my ability WHILE SHE WAS STILL SHOUTING OVER MY HEAD about not wearing wired bras if I don't want to be late for my flight, which meant I have no idea what I was signing on that paper. I haven't yet learned to read official documents under duress but maybe that's a new skill I need to acquire to fly from Heathrow form now on. Because she never gave me time to read and sign, she just kept repeating the lecture a tenth time round for good measure.

With the papers signed she could no longer keep me in the room so she had to stop shouting and let the other officer take me out. Please note that the 'search' part of this procedure took 5 seconds (lift up dress, 'Oh look, no corset! ' and pull down dress) while the aggravating shouting/ signature delaying part took more than 15 minutes. Because by the time I was out, my flight was not already boarding, it was on final call.

And of course I could not go to the flight, BECAUSE MY UNATTENDED HANDBAG WAS NOT THERE. I was left without a passport or phone or money or any kind of id in the middle of the airport, looking for my partner who I was hoping had picked up my bag for me.

When I eventually found him, (after we had both missed our flight which closed in the next 15 minutes, because he was looking for me at the full body scanner assuming that's where I had been taken, without imagining I had been whisked off to some top secret corset apprehending security room) I learned that MY BAG HAD ALSO BEEN SEARCHED WITHOUT ME PRESENT.

Specifically, after I had been taken away, while my handbag was still being scanned, he had been asked if this is his bag. He said no, it's my partner's. Then he was asked if it has anything sharp in it. He said I do not know, it's not my bag, should you be asking me this? Then the bag was opened, and searched, to discover the sharp item was my pump heals- AND HANDED TO HIM. Obviously the security officer decided that a man lingering around a woman's handbag means he can take it, just by saying he is dating the girl it belongs to. EVEN THOUGH THE ACTUAL OWNER IS NO WHERE TO BE SEEN.

I am logging this complaint because I have not only been late in the office this morning, but my partner had to cancel 3 hours worth of meetings as well, which were actually the reason we were flying to Glasgow.

I want to know exactly what will happen to ensure these two airport employees will never again cause someone else to miss their flight. I also want to know what my compensation will be for this ordeal. Therefore, I very much DO require a response, thank you.

Anna Politi

Company: Heathrow Airport

Country: United Kingdom   Region: United Kingdom

Category: Cars & Transport


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