UKC

/ 'Protesting' Climbers en-route to Costa Blanca

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Pete - on 08 Mar 2018

I know there is another thread currently running on this topic, but I thought that I would separately share my funny or deplorable (depending on which way you look at it) experience last week on my way to The Costa Blanca.

I have been to the Costa four times in the last year and each time I have carried some items of climbing gear in my hand luggage without, it has to be said, any problems up till now.  The main reason is that too much single pitch sport climbing gives me brain death and I like to take a full trad rack and a pair of half ropes so that I can explore other options.  So why do I not get an extra hold bag I hear you ask?  Because I am too mean and don't see why the hell I should when the items in my hand luggage are harmless to man or beast.  Recently I have taken to putting the half ropes into my hand luggage seeing them as the most harmless bit of kit.  (That is if you are not a rule-bound non-logical thinker) 

So I duly turned up with ropes in luggage to Security and was pulled aside.  The conversation went something like this:  "What's this"?  "Looks like a rope to me".   "So what are you going to do with it?"  "It is to aid me in my upward progress on useless hunks of rock - what do you think I want to do with it?"  "Well you might be one of those protesters and want to tie yourself to the aeroplane".  At this point I erupted in peals of uncontrollable laughter.  "So to which part of said aircraft do you think I am going to tie myself after I have painstakingly uncoiled 60 metres of rope in full view of all the supervising staff shepherding us on to the plane?"  No answer, but the retort came: "Can you prove that you are a climber?"  After showing them loads of climbing pictures from my smart phone I was allowed to proceed in utter wonderment.

To my mind the idea of terrorism is not just to kill people.  It is to scare people, fuelled by the oxygen of publicity, so that the maximum inconvenience is caused to Western Society through all the extra procedures that we have to go through.  When we come up against Jobsworths such as those that I encountered I really think that the terrorist has achieved a resounding victory!

52
GridNorth - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete: A man of your experience, you surprise me Pete.  I'm always relating the tale, on UKC, of how I got my rope through security as hand baggage whilst my mate had his rope confiscated just a few yards away and at the same time.  I had it in my mind that it was you  In any case I'm paranoid about what I put in hand luggage and essentially that's just clothes these days.  

Al

 

1
Rigid Raider - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

The jobsworth as a species has multiplied in recent years because people cannot be trusted to exercise judgement. There have been spectacular failures of judgement, most notably amongst medical and social services staff, which have led to disaster so society is gradually removing any area where humans are able to make a decision and replacing it with rigid rules. This explains why, when my brother tried to fly with an almost empty, rolled-up 75ml tube of toothpaste, his luggage got bumped and searched. "But it's almost empty!" he protested. "Sir", replied the jobsworth, "It says 75ml on the tube. You can't carry it!" 

Yesterday on the other hand I had the pleasant experience of a brief interview at the US Embassy for a visa, required because I had ticked the box to show that I travel regularly to Sudan. The new embassy is superb, the queueing system excellent, the service fast and friendly. The American who interviewed me asked my reason for going there, heard my clear explanation, understood that I was telling the truth, replied: "Interesting - thanks for educating me; I'm issuing the visa now" and I was on my way, my faith in Human intelligence restored. 

16
Trangia on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

"jobsworths"? 

That's harsh. Most security staff I meet when I fly are polite and pleasant. They have to do a difficult job quickly and efficiently, balancing inconvenience to the passengers with their potential safety, and the last thing they need is some smug clever Dick giving them fatuous answers to perfectly reasonable questions. 

Ultimately their job is to protect passengers. I would much rather they erred on the safe side than allow someone intending to cause harm to get through. None of us is perfect and nor are they, but give them a break.

 

3
Connorh - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

 

You realize these guys are just doing their job?, they are simply following their employers instructions. You could have just answered their questions like an adult, instead you choose to respond like a moody teenager, you are the Jobsworth. 

"So that the maximum inconvenience is caused to Western Society through" - Aye mate, massive acts of terrorism and murder are committed partially because terrorists want to mildly inconvenience random members of the public for 5 minutes at a time. 

2
tcashmore - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

"It is to aid me in my upward progress on useless hunks of rock - what do you think I want to do with it?"

I suspect that the security guard was appalled that you were considering aid climbing in the costa blanca - no wonder he/she challenged you that you weren't a real climber as this isn't 'usual' Costa Blanca climbing - well spotted by him/her I say!

 

 

 

1
Simon Caldwell - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

> too much single pitch sport climbing gives me brain death and I like to take a full trad rack and a pair of half ropes so that I can explore other options.

Really? Between the two of us we manage a 70m sport rope, 50m doubles, trad rack, and camping kit, in one hold bag each. Clothes and books in the cabin bags.

capoap - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

I got pulled for having 10 quick draws in my cabin  bag!!!! It seems i could hold 1 end and use the other end as a weapon.  They had to go in the hold and that was that.  

4
Martin Bennett - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Trangia:

> "jobsworths"? 

> That's harsh. Most security staff I meet when I fly are polite and pleasant. They have to do a difficult job quickly and efficiently, balancing inconvenience to the passengers with their potential safety, and the last thing they need is some smug clever Dick giving them fatuous answers to perfectly reasonable questions. 

> Ultimately their job is to protect passengers. I would much rather they erred on the safe side than allow someone intending to cause harm to get through. None of us is perfect and nor are they, but give them a break.

Would that I could have liked this twice. Dead on and just beat me to it. The words of a Geordie friend come to mind (forgive me I can't do his accent either vocally or phonetically but hope you get his drift)  - "Neebdy likes a clever booga". 

cb294 - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Trangia:

No, jobsworths is correct. I would not mind security that works, I flew out of Heathrow the same day as the shoe bomber guy. Different flight, but nevertheless, I rather fly bomb free!

However, most of the procedures introduced since 9/11 at European and US airports are just simulating security, not providing any actual security. That the people responsible in general have no f*cking clue does not help. It almost feels like the only qualification is that you have to enjoy harassing others.

Outsourcing what is essentially a core role of the state (i.e. providing security) to cheapo private contractors certainly did not help. 

Compare that to the profiling and interviews when flying El Al, that is much better.

CB

21
Wanderlust - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to capoap:

> I got pulled for having 10 quick draws in my cabin  bag!!!! It seems i could hold 1 end and use the other end as a weapon.  They had to go in the hold and that was that.  


Same here. QDs are a no-no, it seems.

Guess you could strangle someone with a few clipped together, although I got a dig in the ribs from my travel companion for suggesting this at the airport!

1
GrahamD - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Rigid Raider:

> The jobsworth as a species has multiplied in recent years because people cannot be trusted to exercise judgement.

In this case they did apply judgement.  There is absolutely no need to have a rope in the aircraft cabin.

 

 

4
Ridge - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Connorh:

> "So that the maximum inconvenience is caused to Western Society through" - Aye mate, massive acts of terrorism and murder are committed partially because terrorists want to mildly inconvenience random members of the public for 5 minutes at a time. 

I suspect the large number of numpties arguing the toss why they can't take an 8 D-Cell maglite, 12" spanner, blunt/spiky lump of metal in the form of climbing equipment, ballpein hammer etc, etc in their hand luggage with the 'jobsworths' cause most of the disruption in queues at airports. 

Post edited at 19:51
TheGeneralist - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> There is absolutely no need to have a rope in the aircraft cabin.

What a ridiculously stupid thing to say.  There's just as much need as there is for the majority of the cabin baggage that people take on.

20
summo on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

I could understand them taking almost or near harmless items off people, if the shops and restaurants airside were not full of potential lethal weapons and flammable liquids. 

1
GrahamD - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to TheGeneralist:

> What a ridiculously stupid thing to say.  There's just as much need as there is for the majority of the cabin baggage that people take on.

No there really isn't

2
syv_k - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Wanderlust:

> Same here. QDs are a no-no, it seems. Guess you could strangle someone with a few clipped together

But rapides can be got through OK. A girly handbag can be blinged up with a chain of rapides as a carry strap or side ornament. I have done this. You just need one girly handbag owner per party.

It is security theatre; but most criminals are stupid so I suppose the rules might help a bit. And they have to make the rules consistent and easy to apply for relatively untrained staff, fast decisions and grumpy passengers.

 

3
GarethSL on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

> The conversation went something like this:  "What's this"?  "Looks like a rope to me".   "So what are you going to do with it?"  "It is to aid me in my upward progress on useless hunks of rock - what do you think I want to do with it?" 

I'm surprised they passed up on the chance for a cavity search after that attitude. Were you flying early in the morning? Had you not had your coffee? I'm just trying to fathom why you felt the need to be so condescending. Jobsworths or not, they are likely the first ones to be dropped chopped and dispersed should anything actually happen.

1
nikoid - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

Not sure why this subject is still generating so much debate. It should be obvious by now that if you want to avoid hassle at the airport then all climbing gear needs to go in the hold. Yes you can argue the toss when your hand luggage is searched, but personally I can do without the aggro.

 

Wanderlust - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to nikoid:

> Not sure why this subject is still generating so much debate. It should be obvious by now that if you want to avoid hassle at the airport then all climbing gear needs to go in the hold.

Having had trouble before, I have bought some extra hold weight for this year's trip. All gear will go in my hold without issue given the extra allowance, and the flight was ridiculously cheap to start with so don't mind paying a bit extra.

 

silhouette - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

>"when the items in my hand luggage are harmless to man or beast". 

Gelignite and carving knives are also harmless to man or beast depending on what they're used for. 

Jon Greengrass on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

Sorry to hear about your experience. The only winners are the airport shopping lounges making millions because we aren't allowed to take food and water with us anymore. A real terrorist could buy all the equipment needed to hijack an aircraft in the departure lounge e.g.  a sharp pencil or a smashed bottle for the threat of violence and an extension lead from the tech shop to tie someone up.

Simon Caldwell - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to cb294:

> No, jobsworths is correct. I would not mind security that works, ... However, most of the procedures introduced since 9/11 at European and US airports are just simulating security

So they're not "jobsworths", they are just correctly implementing a flawed system.

teh_mark on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

I long ago accepted that the entire process is stupid and resigned myself to checking any climbing gear into the hold. The upshot is that often, once you add hold baggage to your cheap flight, it's just as cheap to fly with a better airline.

As an aside, what on Earth were you taking with you? I've managed to fly to Chamonix (well Geneva) with a 60m rope, alpine kit, a full trad rack and all of my camping gear, and not trouble the 20kg limit. And that was before I bought a lightweight tent!

cb294 - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

Then they must share the blame, as they are part of the problem. 

CB

Sir Chasm - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to cb294:

> Then they must share the blame, as they are part of the problem. 

> CB

As are you if you comply with the security procedures.

cb294 - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Sir Chasm:

I am forced to, they volunteer. 


CB

1
Sir Chasm - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to cb294:

> I am forced to, they volunteer. 

> CB

You're forced to fly?! Poor you.

99ster - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

Ever heard the phrase 'First World Problems'?

1
bedspring on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> No there really isn't


Yes there is because you can go on sports trip sans hold luggage and it can save 80 - 100 pounds. DMM even make a ruksack for this express pupose https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/news/rucksacks/dmm_flight-6175

Big Lee - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

'Jobsworth' hardly seems the correct word for what you describe. It doesn't sound like you've been the victim of somebody enforcing rules against all common sense. Climbing gear is notorious for being a grey area without any clear rules as to what is allowed through security and what isn't, so you roll the dice. I think that you are using the word out of a lack respect for the job airport security have to do - largely due to somebody having disagreed with your viewpoint. I'd say the lack of reason and common sense actually lies with you for expecting to get a rack and ropes onto the plane. I reckon you had maybe a 20% chance of that working out. UK airports are renowned for tough security checks. I imagine America is even tougher. 

Jim 1003 - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

Tosser

6
Sir Chasm - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to bedspring:

> Yes there is because you can go on sports trip sans hold luggage and it can save 80 - 100 pounds. DMM even make a ruksack for this express pupose https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/news/rucksacks/dmm_flight-6175

That's great if dmm have got agreement from security. Otherwise it's an expensive way of not taking your climbing gear on holiday.

bedspring on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Sir Chasm:

I have been lobbying the BMC to see if they can resolve this. See your next summit.
I was chatting with people in the security office at Mnachester airport a couple of months ago and asked about ropes and climbing stuff, they said no problemo excpet for ice axes.
I find Heathrow and Manchester highly professional and have no problems. Liverpool however I suspect they are less well trained, so if they do not know, the easy answer is no, and they are so busy that they have no time for debate.
Securities job is to enable us to fly safely and not let the terrorist scum impact us too much. Taking ropes off you when you can take a bottle of gin with which you could set the cabin on fire then slit a couple of throats with the broken bottle, is plain daft.

Double Knee Bar - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to bedspring:

I think you're missing the point of the DMM flight there, yes it's perfectly sized for carry-on luggage, but it's not designed so you can fly sans hold luggage. you just use it as your carry on  bag for the flight with clothes, then use it as your climbing rucksack on arrival. It's a great bag.

That's what I do anyway. wouldn't want to risk going on a climbing hol and getting my kit confiscated.

Post edited at 15:09
Sir Chasm - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to bedspring:

Then do let me know when you've sorted it out. Just because dmm make a flight bag doesn't mean you can take whatever you want on. "No problemo except for ice axes"? Warthogs, ice scews, crampons, pegs, hammers, they're fine are they?

bedspring on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Double Knee Bar:

You miss my point. Obviously anything hazardous should be in the hold. However a rope and krabs are not. The issue is some security are poorly trained, so their defualt is to tale stuff off you. There should be no risk of confiscation. Its like saying I will not take a scarf as security may take it off me because I could strangle someone or tie people up with it. Anyroads I have done what I can.

2
nniff - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

It's not difficult. Play nicely or go and sit in the corner.  How hard can that be?  Talk to them, ask about the rules each time you go through.  If in difficulty, ask very nicely if the matter could be referred to a supervisor and talk nicely to them too.

Next time, gues how many thousands of people go through the security comb every hour.  Perhaps the person before you had terminal dog's breath and stank and had a bag full of damp, sweaty clothes and a vibrator.  That wouldn't tee the screener up well for some stroppy git who can't give a civil answer to a legitimate question, and besides which he'd probably be happier trying to spot dangerous items seen from an unusual angle on a screen, but the rules say he's got to change over and do bag searches, then pat down before he can get back to the nice screens that don't answer back.  

GrahamD - on 10 Mar 2018
In reply to bedspring:

> Yes there is because you can go on sports trip sans hold luggage and it can save 80

So what ? That is nothing to do with security.  Their job isn't to save you money it's to stop anything that hasn't any legitimate reason to be in the cabin from being in the cabin.

On the other hand I'm impressed if you can get rope and everything else under the cabin weight limit. I don't remember one bag between two ever costing that much though .

 

tistimetogo on 10 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

You need to get better at packing.

The girlfriend and I went for a week in Costa Blanca not so long ago. We managed with only one hold bag between us and we had a tent, two half ropes, sport gear and a decent trad rack.

It's tight but doable.

Howard J - on 10 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

Last time I flew I took a 70m rope, a dozen quickdraws, harness, helmet, rock shoes and a few bits of trad kit, plus a pair of walking poles, and I was still underweight. I've flown to the Alps with all the kit including axes, crampons etc.  I take only a few clothes, wear as many as possible on the flight rather than pack them, and then wash them while I'm there.

We all know that the security rules are a bit OTT and are not always logical, but they have to find a compromise between stopping serious threats and banning everything which might conceivably be used as a weapon.  That means letting through some everyday things (you can kill someone with a pencil) and banning some others even though they are unlikely to be used as weapons. Yes the rules are annoying, but you'll find it a lot easier to go along with them instead of thinking they shouldn't apply to you.

Hand luggage is meant to be only for stuff you will require on the flight itself, even if in practice airport security usually turns a blind eye to this.  Clearly climbing gear doesn't fall into this category, and they could make you put it in the hold regardless of whether or not it could present a threat.

You were very lucky that the person you are dealing with used their judgement and let you through.  They could very easily have made things very difficult for you, especially if took a dislike to your attitude.

Next time, pack better and don't be an arse.  You'll get through security with a lot less hassle, and without irritating the security staff who are just doing their jobs, and annoying everyone in the queue behind you who are held up while you argue the toss.  And you won't have to complain about it on UKC when you get back.

cb294 - on 10 Mar 2018
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Keep defending the idiots. I pity you.

 

CB

3
Pete - on 12 Mar 2018
In reply to Jim 1003:

> Tosser

What a superb use of the English language.  Obviously a man of a few pointless words.  Get yourself a thesaurus moron.  Stroppy, brainless idiots like you are the main reason that I rarely post on here.  This was meant to be a light-hearted, tongue in cheek dig at a bit of bureaucracy, but you and a few others are far to thick to perceive it.  The clue was in the phrase: "the conversation went something like this"

 

 

 

8
HfH on 12 Mar 2018

If anyone here has talked to a pilot they will know the vast majority of security passengers go through (not other aspects of security) is for show. 

 

I agree the OP did themselves no favours by being rude. 

But if I can fit a rope easily in my hand luggage allowance why is that any different to someone who wants to fill theirs with clothes etc 

GrahamD - on 12 Mar 2018
In reply to HfH:

> But if I can fit a rope easily in my hand luggage allowance why is that any different to someone who wants to fill theirs with clothes etc 

Because, from the perspective of a member of security, there is an obvious reason why someone is carrying clothes with them.

Jim 1003 - on 12 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

 

> What a superb use of the English language.  Obviously a man of a few pointless words.  Get yourself a thesaurus moron.  Stroppy, brainless idiots like you are the main reason that I rarely post on here.  This was meant to be a light-hearted, tongue in cheek dig at a bit of bureaucracy, but you and a few others are far to thick to perceive it.  The clue was in the phrase: "the conversation went something like this"

 

Anybody who takes a rope in their hand luggage, and then argues with security, is a tosser, your post afterwards has proved it to the world. Stop digging mate...

Also, can I point there are two O's in too, as in far to thick above.... Is it ironic that you have highlighted my use of language?

Post edited at 19:59
1
tcashmore - on 12 Mar 2018
In reply to Jim 1003:

> Also, can I point there are two O's in too, as in far to thick above.... Is it ironic that you have highlighted my use of language?

It's always dangerous to point "out" other people's mistakes, it can prove to be ironic as highlighted!

Martin Bennett - on 12 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

> What a superb use of the English language.  Obviously a man of a few pointless words.  Get yourself a thesaurus moron.  Stroppy, brainless idiots like you are the main reason that I rarely post on here.  This was meant to be a light-hearted, tongue in cheek dig at a bit of bureaucracy, but you and a few others are far to thick to perceive it.  The clue was in the phrase: "the conversation went something like this"

What a shame you didn't take your "rarely post on here" philosophy to its logical conclusion in not posting at all. This latest abusive, retaliatory outburst is clearly a result of realising that your glib post, which you clearly thought people would find hilarious and laud you for your comedic brilliance, had backfired and you'd come across as - yes - a tosser. 

1
elliot.baker - on 12 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

In a similar vein to this - something funny happened at my work today (NHS hospital offices), a colleague moved desks, found the light too bright there. She'd had estates (Serco) remove the light bulb by her old desk, so emailed them to have them do the same with the bulb above her new desk.

Shortly thereafter a Serco guy comes in, "aah, no" he says, when told what the job is, "if you want any light bulbs taking out you have to email the Head of health and safety, who will then email my boss [at Serco], who will then send someone to come with a lux meter to ensure that the regulated amount of light will remain with the bulb removed - because if it's too dark and someone trips over they could sue us. Once that's all happened and been signed off, I can come back and pop the bulb out for you."

I asked if he was telling a "How many XXXX does it take to remove a light bulb" joke, but unfortunately he wasn't.

blurty - on 14 Mar 2018
In reply to Pete:

If you really did behave like such a knob, as you describe, I'm amazed they let you take it on at all.


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