Security Check Stories
Every security control at airports is another story for me.
Fiumicino, Rome- Sabiha Gökçen, İstanbul
I went through the checks at Fiumicino. I beeped. The woman told me to wait for someone to come and wand me. But everybody beeped. There was another passenger before me and after me, waiting to be wanded. The security officer who came checked both of them, then walked away. As I was still standing there after five minutes and nobody seemed to show any interest in me, I just got my stuff and I walked away too. I was thinking somebody might be coming after us, but nobody did.
Only after we sat down at the benches in front of our gate did I realize that I had also passed a 1 liter milk bottle. Almost completely full! I had planned to drink it before we passed through the control, but then had completely forgotten about it.
On the way back, at Sabiha Gökçen, I again passed with water in my bottles. I had two 500 ml plastic bottles, both almost full. The situation being this, I was curious. They had not said a word in Italy, they had not said a word in Turkey. Had the water ban been removed? Had they removed it after finally realizing the unnecessariness of it and not made it public not to lose face after imposing it for so many years?
As we had time, I decided to go to the control area to ask a security officer. While I was approaching, I realized they were confiscating a bottle from a woman. It looked like an energy drink. I still went up to the security guy and asked “Has the liquid ban been lifted?”
“No,” he said. “They will take it away from you.”
Of course I didn't tell him I had full water bottles with me. I just returned to my seat and enjoyed my prizes, a total liter of water, that had passed through security unnoticed one more time.
Ciampino, Rome-Henri Coandă, Bucharest
This time, I had two small bottles in my bag. Small but still a bit above the limit. 125 ml. One a glass water bottle, the other a plastic fruit juice bottle. The glass water bottle did not have any labels on it, I knew. I had taken it off :) So I could argue it was a 100 ml if they said anything. However, the plastic juice bottle had a label on it. I had forgotten to remove it while putting in my bag. I was in the waiting line when I remembered it, so I delved into my bag and rummaged through it frantically to find and remove the label before getting to the checkpoint. I finally found the bottle and looked for the volume label on the bottle. It didn't write anything. So it was fine. I decided to leave it as it is.
So here I come, I'm next in line. The woman asked “You have any liquids? Take them out of the bag.” I left the fruit juice bottle in the bag. I could always say “Oh, I had forgotten about that,” if they discovered it. I just got the transparent water bottle out. She said “But this is big.”
I said “It's a 100 ml.” Who died from lying? Is that called lying? I don't think so. Anyway... The woman, not content with my word, raised the bottle and tried to read something at the bottom. She said “This is 129 ml, you can't take it.”
I didn't protest. I just got it from her hand and gulped down the water. I said “Can I get it now?” Sure, she let me.
What about the fruit juice bottle that I left in the bag? I don't know if it was for that bottle, they passed my bag through the x-ray one more time. But they didn't say anything. So I happily walked away.
What about return at Romania Airport? While in line, the woman behind me said something in Romanian. I guess it was something like “This line is shorter” or so. Anyway... She was a friendly lady. She asked where I was from. I said “Turkey” even though now I hesitate before answering that question. I sometimes say “Turkey and Italy.” Anyway, this time I decided Turkey was enough, no need to get things too complicated. The lady asked if I spoke French. I had to say no.
As we moved forward, the TV screen above the belt showed all the prohibited items and gave directions that all liquids be placed in transparent plastic bags. The security officer was repeating the instruction. She asked me if I had liquids in my bag. She said this in Romanian, but I understood what she said perfectly well. I just pretended not to understand. The lady behind me, now knowing me, as we had sort of become friends, explained the security that I was Turkish and didn't speak Romanian. Or French for that matter. The security didn't try to address me in English, instead she shrugged and decided they'd catch me on the x-ray anyway. Sure enough, I was caught. The x-ray man delved into my bag and discovered the same glass bottle that they had prohibited me at Ciampino. He too looked at the bottom of the bottle and tried to read it. But he couldn't make out anything and just let it go. Just as I was relieved, he delved back into my bag. There was a 500 ml plastic bottle with a finger of water in it. He gave me a dirty look and shook his head. But he didn't say anything. I mean, I know, that's his job, I know those are the rules, but I guess he knew it too... That it would have been ridiculous if he confiscated that bottle. Ah... As for the fruit juice... Just like the security at Ciampino, he didn't notice it either. I enjoyed my juice on the plane back home. My 125 ml prize!
Oh, all the things we are made to spend our lives with!