On a daily basis people get labeled receiving not only their names but also series of numbers. We receive a number when going to a doctor, while standing in the post office queue or we are assigned a seat on a plane with a specific number. If one travels from a certain country in the Middle East*, receives also another kind of number. Mine was no. 5.
Security measures taken at the major airport in this country are known to many. Not only those that happen to be in this country. Its severeness is talked about in guide books, internet and in personal contacts. When arriving to the airport the first thing you encounter is a security check of all your belongings. It is then, during the first contact with the airport personnel that you’re assigned a number. A description of a number 5 is the following. You’re qualified for a check up of your all luggage, especially the main one, and it is done at the special counter in the departure hall. Security goes around the clothes, electronics, cosmetics and everything else with a special tool. They obviously search for unwanted and dangerous items. What kind of dangerous items one may have? For example I bought a box of mud from the Dead Sea that was originally packed by the company. This was qualified as a suspicious item. It was not however thrown away but placed in a separate box provided by the security and later checked in as my second luggage. Its way to the aircraft is also different from other “traditional” luggage. I was told to take it to a special elevator where all suspicious items go. I did not know where it was so I had a pleasure to be escorted by the security. Nice. 😉
Number 5 gives also another treatment. It is a choice of a hand luggage security. There both a passport and a ticket are confiscated for the time of the check up (it happened to me for the first time), then all electronics including mobile phones, ipods and laptops have to be removed from a bag. Staff additionally uses the same tools detecting dangerous items as before. This time they check additionally shoes and passports.
All in all my passport was checked six times. But I need to add that the airport/security staff was very polite all the time.
* Originally I wanted to write where I was but I would like to go back there some time again and I’m afraid this post would make it more difficult. Although on the other hand I don’t think anyone really reads this blog.