Losing my lock
I have bad luck at Naples airport. When I came back from filming the Pompeii show, I had the wonderful mozzarella that I had been given confiscated at security. Fair enough, actually. There was certainly more than the allowed quantity of liquid surrounding the wonderful cheese...though whether "the mozzarella bomber" was a likely scenario, I am not so sure. Better safe than sorry, though, you might say.
Anyway this time, coming back from the cruise, I had my Kensington computer lock confiscated from my hand luggage (a device which, at £35.83, is the Rolls Royce of the computer lock world). Now this lock has been through many airport security screenings, without any trouble. But the young lady at Naples (very politely, I must allow) hauled it out of my bag, showed it to her supervisor -- who pointed out that it could be used as a weapon to strangle someone. If I wanted to keep it I should go back to security and put it in the hold. That would have meant buying a box to put it in, renegotiating a vast queue at the BA desk (British Airways you need more staff at Naples and they need to come on more than 2 hours in advance of the flight), then renegotiating a vast queue at the security gates (and besides the last time I took that option in Mexico, with an ornament with suspiciously sharp edges, the damn thing got lost en-route and might as well not have bothered).
I started to observe that the vast array of power cables I had with my computer could also be used for strangulation purposes (and probably rather more easily that the carbon steel of the Kensington lock). But I soon thought it wise to shut up, else they would have confiscated all my cables too, and that would have been even more inconvenient.
But two thoughts struck me. First, the mad illogicality of these security restrictions. If your definition of what should not be taken on board as hand luggage is anything that can be used as a weapon, then almost everything surely counts. As my travelling companion (and allotment lover) pointed out, my computer could have been easily used to knock someone out, his belt could have been tightened around someone's neck -- and, honestly, if you wanted to strangle someone then hands were the best weapon of all. Unless we are going to send people into planes wearing tracksuits and handcuffed, most of these restrictions are window dressing (not all, I think we would all rather people didn't get on board with a loaded revolver).
Second, what does happen to the stuff they take.
Now my computer lock was useless without the key (which I suppose I would have given them if I had been feeling nice), but do we imagine that mozzarella went to waste. Given that it was being confiscated because it was suspected of containing explosive, then logically it should have been destroyed in a controlled environment. My suspicion, of course, is that it was eaten -- showing in the process that the whole confiscation business was just for display. In fact, my travelling companion, who had once had a duty free bottle of champagne confiscated when he tried to board a connecting flight, said that he had gone back and poured the booze away... rather than just hand it over as a freebie.
So what's the answer. Of course I want planes to be safe, but this cannot possibly be the way of ensuring that. In fact the irritation caused may gradually have the reverse effect. The husband's idea, when I phoned him to moan at my loss, was that a good airline would station baggage collectors at the security point -- so that offending objects such as my cable could just be taken directly to the hold, like 'gate checking' in the US. Come on BA... how about it?