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Trip Report Flying From Amsterdam - Intense Security & Long Waits

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Just boarded a Delta plane from Amsterdam to Detroit yesterday- one of the same flights that on Christmas Day the would-be suicide bomber tried to blow down the plane as it approached Detroit Metro Airport.

So i expected heightened and intense security but not to the extent that i found at the gate - in Amsterdam'sSchiphol Airport there is no central security screening like in American airports, or at least Detroit Metro, where everyone entering the departure zone has to pass security screening and then can procede leisurely to the gate and board the plane as usual. Metro Airport's security even included the new Full Body Scan that is now so much talked about.

This i had never seen or even heard of on Christmas Eve, the day before the Moslem fanatic tried to bring the Delta flight downat Metro. But an agent had many people in line, but not all, go into this curcular glass device andbe told how to put you arms out in a specific position and then the machine swirls around a few times bombarding you with some kind of super-duper rays that can see every part of your body and skin as if you were stark naked.

But in Schiphol Airport i just waltzed thru the Passport/Customs control, and headed to the gate-when i checked in i was told for my 14:10 flight to be SURE to be at the gate by 12:30- a long long time in advance of actual boarding i thought. But when i did show up at12:30 there was already at least 100 passengers in line and only the Business and Elite class passengers were allowed to enter and then undergo intense screening(the thought that first-class passengers would be entitled to go thru security before pean passengers did not see just to me - i can see Delta giving them boarding preference once the actual plane was ready for actual boarding -but to sidestep security screening done by Schiphol Airport's equivalent of our TSA thing)

But the steerage passengers had to wait until all the elites went thru and the waiting line - in the hall continued to grow (a full flight made it worse) - until at least 200 passengers were lined up, with only a wall to lean against. I felt sorry for the obviously physically challenged who had to stand for an hour or more just to get to entrance where Delta staff interrogated each passenger for several minutes -some a lot more than others.

Then after Delta clearance it was another half-hour or so wait in line to go thru the intense screening-of course shoes and belts off and everything thru the scanner machines then each and every carryon item manually searched - and thoroughly so.

Then i boarded the plane with at least another 100 passengers still lined up to get into the gate - we waited on board for well over an hour whilst all the rest went thru their screenings.

This made an average 8-hour flight into about a 9-hour flight onboard - but voila we landed early in Detroit -due to a favorable winds the pilot said.

Anywaybe prerpared for such procedures when boarding flights to or from Europe- leave plenty of time to get to the gate earlier than you think- and at check-in it was said it you were not at the gateat12:30 then you would risk not being allowed on the flight- i think this was hot air but who knows?

Delta could have made this a bit better -no Delta staffer came out and along the long line to make sure passengers were in the right line- and two folks who were going to Boston had waited a long time right behind me finally found out that they were in the wrong line!

And Schiphol Security was only using ones scanner device when there were two at the gate- now perhaps staff shortage due to the intense security all of a sudden enhanced but with two screening machines in operation the wait would have been much less.

And personally i think by doing such thorough security on many types that were obviously not terrorist threats- like me and many other average-looking Americans who are simply not threats just is a waste of resources that could have been used to say do a really thorough search on types like the Nigerian would be bomber. Not to say putting more resources into things like making the no-flight and suspect list more effective.

Anyway flying to me has always been a hassle and it will seem to be more of a hassle then ever.

PS - Anyone flown Trans-Atlantic since Christmas Day - what were you experiences?

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