Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mooning Airport Security

I wrote last week about absurd, inhuman, and pointless airport security procedures. This United Airlines pilot has expressed my feelings exactly.

If the Brazilian authorities fine him, we ought to start a collection to help him pay it. Every now and then someone steps forward and speaks (or moons) for all of us.

According to CBS3:

U.S. Pilot Held for Dropping His Pants in Brazil

United Airlines Pilot Allegedly Snubs Airport Security Officials

A United Airlines pilot was briefly detained at the international airport in Rio de Janeiro after lowering his pants during a security screening, police said Saturday.

Pilot Michael D. Slynn, 49, was asked to remove his belt and shoes as part of a routine security screening Friday afternoon. In response, Slynn laughed at security guards and lowered his pants to his ankles, said a police spokesman who was prohibited by departmental rules from giving his name.

Slynn was detained but released shortly afterward and allowed to fly back to Washington, D.C., after signing a document promising to appear before a judge the next time he is in Brazil, the spokesman said.
- - - - - - - - -
Calls to United Airlines in Brazil were not immediately returned. When asked for comment, Sarah Massier, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based company, wrote in an e-mail, “We are investigating the matter.”

Two telephone numbers listed for a Michael Slynn, in California and Florida, respectively, were disconnected or could not take messages Saturday.

Federal Police Chief Rafael Andreatta was quoted by the Internet site of the Brazilian newspaper O Globo as saying the pilot “did not respect security rules and made fun of officers.”

It was not the first time an American pilot has gotten into trouble for allegedly responding inappropriately to Brazil’s airport security measures.

In 2004, American Airlines pilot Dale Robin Hersh was fined $13,000 for allegedly giving the finger as he was being photographed at Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport. The photograph was among entry requirements for U.S. citizens implemented by Brazil at the time in response to similar rules in the United States.

Police accused Hersh of showing contempt for authorities and took him to a federal courthouse. Hersh agreed to a prosecutor’s offer to pay a fine in exchange for no charges being filed against him.

Hat tip: heroyalwhyness.


Anonymous said...

American citizens should be careful not to confirm prejudices about them when travelling abroad. (Prejudices are often based on reality.)

In most Third World (or intermediary) countries, it's a bad idea to make fun of officials, or act in an arrogant manner towards them, if you come from a richer country. Those officials will be very quick to remind you who's boss.

This is basic sensitivity, standard civility and plain common sense.

In the present incident, the pilot was asked to remove his belt and shoes. This might be absurd, but it's standard procedure in most airports of the world nowadays, and, especially, in America.

Maybe the pilot was incensed because he thought he should be immune from the procedure -- after all, you'd think that a pilot would not blow up his own plane (then again, in an era of suicide bombers and homegrown terrorism, you cannot really tell.)

I don't know whether pilots are submitted to safety screenings in America or elsewhere. I think they should be, precisely for the reasons above.

In any case, as a professional traveller, he should have been aware that regulations and practices vary wildly across the world ; as a pilot, he should have been grateful that the local authorities were doing their best to protect his passengers, and he should have been willing to submit himself to controls in order to set the example.

As an American (presumably), he should have taken care not to give the impression that he's above the locals and entitled to special privileges because, you know, I'm an American citizen and I can crap on everybody.

Anonymous said...

Besides, try to drop your pants in front of an American policeman or a TSA officer, and see what happens.

I'm not sure their sense of humour will shine in such a situation.

Anonymous said...

An anecdotal confirmation of Robert's point is a friend's experience in Mexico some years ago when they arrived for a vactaion from Canada, although not Canadian themselves, without visas. She and her husband were ushered into a waiting room for the border officials to scold them and then process. In the room were a US couple kicking up a fuss about being treated in an appalling manner and how dare they do this etc etc. Meanwhile my friend and her husband simply said the travel agent hadn't told then about needing a visa and then meekly offered apologies etc etc. They had their visas and were on their way while the US husband was still huffing and puffing. Coming from oligarchies officials in those countries have little except the respect due their office and it is important to allow them that.

Zenster said...

Robert Marchenoir: … after all, you'd think that a pilot would not blow up his own plane …

As always, Islam has an answer to that. In this case the answer is Gamil Al-Batouti

Anonymous said...

The best test would be to hand a Quran to travelers and make them tear it up and spit on it. If they do it, then they'd most likely not blow themselves up. If they don't want to do it, subject them to all these stupid tests. Heck, give them a colonoscopy too if you're at it. :P

Jedilson Bonfim said...

The best test would be to hand a Quran to travelers and make them tear it up and spit on it.

That's one way to save money on airport security screening, while making air-travel 100% safe from mahoundian terrorism. Placing a copy of Mein Qurampf on the ground at every passenger-control lane and requiring that everyone stomp on it before being allowed to board a plane would work too.

Proud Infidel said...

This pilot, like the American Airlines pilot from 2004, is a bloody idiot. I travel extensively throughout Latin America and know better than to antagonize the authorities in contries I visit or give them a hassle. It's the proverbial no-win situation. It's better to just do what you have to do and be on your way.

Besides, I have to take off my shoes and belt everytime I try to fly in out of a US airport so I don't see why this United pilot feels the need to act like an idiot in Brazil. Hope he has to pay a hefty fine.

Dymphna said...

Proud Infidel and others--

Agreed, this fellow is an oaf. An insurance agent told me once that the insurance premiums were the highest for two types of men: those who were commercial pilots and those who were physicians. The former think they're above any avaiation rules, and the latter are so used to having their underlings scurry around that they think weather systems will obey them also.

BTW, this insurance premium hike didn't apply to women. Make of that what you will...

Rebellious Vanilla --

Sheesh. When they finally do come to theri senses and crown you Dictatress for Life, I'll bet the planes will fly on time.

Just sayin'...


BTW, the Baron forgot about the new rules (new back then) about needing his passport to get across the border. He got into Canada without a problem, but the Americans didn't want to let him back in. He had to call me to get his passport info for the officious poobahs who so diligently guard our safety. Obviously, the Canadians decided he looked safe so they let him slide...