A previous post I made reminded me of another incident that occurred at an airport. I have spent a considerable amount of time at them which is why I guess I have so many stories.
This time I was on my way back from Germany. I had arrived at Munich Airport and had the usual time to kill prior to embarking. I had done looking in all the shops, had something to eat and so made my way towards security ( for those that read my previous post it’s that wonderful check in place again that I love so much).
This time there was no officious security guard just simply a lady standing behind the conveyor belt reviewing articles that passed by the x-ray machine in front of her.
I took off my jacket, I took off my shoes, I took off my belt (don’t worry I wasn’t auditioning for a part in the Full Monty – this was just standard airport security measures) and placed them alongside my wallet and my keys and loose change in one of the grey plastic trays set there for that purpose. In another tray I placed my laptops (plural – see previous airport jobsworth post) and my mobile phone.
I walked through the magnetic security hoop and for once the lights remained green and it didn’t beep (just my luck that the only time there was a female there to do the frisking was one of the only times I didn’t set off the beep !).
I stood by the side of the conveyor as first my jacket, shoes etc came through. I was in the process of putting one of my shoes on, precariously balanced on one leg when all hell broke loose.
In a split second not only had a large red light started to flash on top of the x-ray machine but at the same time a very loud siren went off.
I stood (well wobbled) transfixed as I was suddenly surrounded by a group of armed to the teeth shock-troops resplendent in their kevlar armour brandishing Heckler & Koch machine pistols and screaming stuff at me in German. The reason I can tell you what they looked like and what they were holding was because time whilst literally not standing still appeared as if it were being played out in slow motion.
I can remember shouting “ich spreche kein Deutsch” (ironic that I was saying I don’t speak German in German but there you go) back at them as I didn’t understand their commands but this didn’t stop them pushing me up against the counter.
I had no idea where these guys had come from; either there were comedy trapdoors that shot them up through the floor or alternatively they must have been poised to abseil down from the ceiling, guns in hand, ready to dish out whatever violence was required at the time.
Funny thing was I wasn’t scared, just very dazed and confused as well as listing slightly as I still only had one shoe on.
It seemed to take ages but eventually things calmed down…apparently whilst travelling through the x-ray machine my mobile had gone off but instead of playing a ringtone it had started to vibrate (I’d been in an important meeting earlier and set it to vibrate mode and must have forgot to change it back). This vibration had quite obviously seriously alarmed the operator so can only guess she just pressed the “please come and shoot the person in front of me” button.
I spent the next ten minutes sheepishly having the symbol for ‘turn off your phone’ on the warning notice I had obliviously passed by pointed out to me.
They let me go with a warning – guess it was just good practice for the shock troops, although it wasn’t as if I put up much of a fight – I mean how could I, I was hindered by being one-shoed, with no belt keeping my trousers up and even my jacket whilst not quite stab proof was still lying in a plastic tray.
I’ve always switched my mobile off since – maybe next time they’d shoot first and ask questions later.