I've just returned from spending two days in London to do work for the Dutch-Flemish Society of Investigative Journalism. Yesterday night, I took a flight from Heathrow to Amsterdam. To say that the security measures took a long time, would be an understatement. I dropped an apple which grew into a tree before I was halfway through. Understandably (I think) I even volunteered to be x-rayed by some new body scanner device (turns out I wasn't carrying any expolosives) so I could save 15 minutes by being moved to the head of the queue to have my luggage irradiated as well.
Of course, the alarm went off.
The (very friendly, so there's no need to invoke Godwin's Law) security officer searched my entire bagage. It was interesting to see what he paid attention to. On his initial run he made careful studie of my disposable contacts. He also flipped through two books. Apparently, terrorists have now become so sophisticated they can make paperthin IED's, as well as explosive saline solutions.
He didn't find anything. So my luggage was screened again, this time item by item.
The red light went off on my first aid kit.
I am quite distrustful of the medical profession in general, and foreign doctors in particular. Hence, I carry an extensive supply of drugs, bandages and a plethora of other stuff, even if I travel abroad only for one or two days. There are many items in my first aid kit you won't find in any ordinary consumer version. This also means there are quite a few things that may look dangerous on a scanner, but aren't.
For example, there's a pair of plastic clamps that you would use in child delivery (I like to be prepared). You couldn't possibly do any harm with them (well, I suppose you could clamp it on an IV of a hospital patient, but those are far and few between on an airliner). It took me only a few seconds to convince the security officer I should be allowed to keep them. He let me.
The security officer then focused on some pinchers, as well as a small foldable pair of scissors, used to cut bandages. Both of them were confiscated. I could understand the scissors part (it was my own fault in being honest enough to bring them up), although how some blunt pinchers constitute a threat I still can't fathom.
This however, was not the most bizarre or worrying part of the story.
The security officer never even looked at the two stitching kits I carry, which were in plain sight during the search.
As I later realized, both of them contain extremely sharp surgical blades as well as rather large needles, and I boarded the flight without any problems.