Friday Chronicle #21: an unexpected strip-tease at the airport

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Every year, 1 billion people try a little strip-tease in front of the security check in airports all over the world. Like it or not, it is for the safety of everyone. Traveling is so easy nowadays but getting to a plane is complicate.

Alone at the airport, it is your destiny

So when you travel, you better have time and a good mood. When you take an early flight in which the take-off is planned for 07:35 am, this normally means you woke up around 04:15. Hopefully you have all prepared in the evening before. So when you get to the airport, you realize that the checkin is completely full automated. Where is the nice Lady with the nice hair and red lipstick? Gone.
checkin airport
After you have registered your seat and luggage in the first check-in machine, you get to the luggage automated drop area. There you expect to see someone and actually you get a perfect a monolog with the laser scanner. So you checkin yourself your own luggage. No big deal if you have only one and one direct flight. Problem starts when you have a complex flight and loads of luggage. You get the feeling of going to a battle and a street-fight to get your way to the plane. I will skip the part you still need to find a room in the roof-storage for your handbag.

Welcome to the take-out-your-clothe-now parade

Sometimes you travel for business, alone or in a group and sometimes you travel for personal holidays. And every-time it is the same show. You need to strip-tease in front of the security officer and also the other people. You usually take out your:

  • Coat
  • Blazer
  • Belt
  • Shoes
  • Scarf
  • Hat
  • Watch
  • Any visible metallic jewelry
  • Cufflinks

check in at airport
During this glamorous moment, I always realize that several people are not really comfortable. If you have a problem with the way your body looks, and that you have worked very carefully to find the right trousers, skirt and suit that would make you look thinner and smart, the magic is gone during security check. So you see people trying to find strategies to hide, especially if they completely forgot that the long coat or the pullover hiding your bottom part is now in a plastic bucket in front of them. Unfortunately for these people, there is nothing to do. But the ones I like the most are the very classy business men that once they pass the security check do not feel as comfortable as before. In deed remember that old sock with the hole on it? Now everybody can see it. Or you think nobody would notice the old belt falling into pieces? Too late.
Airport security travel
And if you wonder if you should have wear socks before getting to that taxi towards the airport, well, now you know what it feels to show your horrible feet (according to your own opinion of course) to everyone.
The security check is the moment of truth! It is the moment we are finally just humans after all.

Please, do not forget
to show me your purse madam!

After placing the last piece of possible clothe on the plastic bucket, you think that that’s it. Well, you forgot to open your bag. You need to show your electronic devices, let’s keep it simple, your laptop, smartphone and tablet. Remember that awful cream you used last month (pick up any embarrassing purpose) and that now everybody can see it in the hands of the airport officer? Well if you did not know where it was, now you do.
Ok, let be serious for one second. All these are necessary as security need to be maintained. Probably if you do not understand all of these is because :
– you are not a terrorist
– you do not carry guns, explosives or any illegal material like drugs, human organs or exotic poisonous plant species.
You can still do the fast-pass but your shoes and clothe will still be on that damned plastic bucket somehow.

Almost there. Wait! What is that bip bip bip?

After all your efforts, you think you deserve the ultimate prize, getting to the other side. Well you just forgot the security gate scanner. When you finally feel ready to experience the uniqueness of getting through security you forgot the naughty nasty security gate that will scan your forgotten coin, your teeth orthodental frame, your hips prothesis or simply nothing as anyway there will be nice officer waiting for you to proceed to the body check.
Airport manual scanner

Body x-ray scanner airport

Body scanner full
If usually you hate to be touched by people (you do not know), here it will be your therapy. You might even like it after a while. The body check becomes more and more complicate as some countries, religions or any other reason might be against it, especially with no reason. So technology comes to the rescue thanks to ultra-modern body scanner. If I was exaggerating on the “strip tease”, with the sophistication of these new machines, you better be ready for the full-monty! Images are amazingly precise, so in case of real danger, the bad guy will not get through.

And suddenly, Nirvana… Well, almost!

To make a long story short, you finally get to the other side. Hurray! You almost feel different. You almost feel like purified, like if someone with a higher purpose (the security
Officer) tells you that you are a good person after all. That you deserve to go through the gates
of heaven, that you are good enough to get to the other side. Man, it feels good isn’t it? Actually no. Because now you need to find a safe place to gather all your things and put them back at their place. So when you have 2 chairs and just half of a counter, you better go fast. You take all your things and try to place them somewhere and it is never the right place. So your nice fresh ironed shirt is gone, you place your belt in the wrong way and realize how difficult is to close the belt with the “wrong” hand. Your watch is on your wrist but you did not have the time to close the buckle and you are missing a cufflink. Your socks are covered with airport dust. Should you clean them with your hand or put your shoes anyway? Yummy! After walking like a Donald duck you then realize that you need to stop somewhere to get the control on the logistics! Not because you wish to have everything at its place. Not because you want to put your shirt back in your trousers. Not at all. It is just because you cannot find your passport and flying ticket any more. Last time you remember it it was on that plastic tray that you are desperately trying to forget. What a thrill! If you were wondering why people take the train more and more in Europe… Now you know.

So, in conclusion you have 3 possibilities. You can of course stop taking the plane. Good luck to get from New York to Moscow or to Paris. You can also travel in t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops and no hand luggage. In this case you might end up at the customs because you look weird. Wake up it is winter!
Security airport strip tease
Or you can organize yourself as best you can and keep smiling. Travel is always a chance to enrich your spirit. And it worthies a little strip-tease once in a while.

Info sourced at the airport experience with staff. Images sources are here, here, here, here and here. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.

José Amorim

José Amorim has been working in the luxury industry for more than 15 years. In the past 8 years, he joined his personal passion for digital culture and his luxury background to develop digital strategies for premium brands. He is the founder of and is happy to share his passion here.