Via The Daily Mail
Frustrated holidaymakers faced long delays at airports yesterday on the first full day of increased security checks.
Queues stretched outside the terminal doors at one airport because of the crackdown – brought in amid fears Al Qaeda has developed a ‘stealth bomb’ undetectable to scanners.
Air passengers around the country were subjected to ‘vigorous’ body searches, with their shoes removed and swabbed for traces of explosives.
They were also told to switch on their tablets, smartphones and laptops to prove they are not hiding something more sinister. Some customers said it took them 90 minutes just to get through security – and holidaymakers have now been warned to allow for least three hours before their flight time.
Angry travellers branded the delays an ‘absolute joke’ and ‘like wading through treacle’. Airline chiefs are braced for further problems as one of the busiest weekends of the summer gets underway.
The checks have been brought in due to fears that Al Qaeda’s top bomb-maker Ibrahim Al-Asiri has developed a non-metallic ‘stealth bomb’ that can be hidden inside human bodies or other devices.
The use of body scanners, swabs and patting down have all been increased at UK airports while some bags are being searched twice.
Passengers are removing shoes and belts as a matter of course, while those on US-bound flights are likely to face further screening and searches of bags at the boarding gates.
The alert has sparked fears of a summer of travel chaos with holidaymakers facing invasive personal checks and long delays.
Heathrow alone handles more than 190,000 passengers a day and across the country 24million people will fly abroad before September – 3million to the US.
A spokesman for travel industry body ABTA said: ‘The main thing is to make sure that airports have sufficient measures in place to ensure all the available security gates are open.’
At Manchester Airport, officials said problems were made worse by many travellers arriving earlier than normal because of the extra checks. Some complained they were left standing outside the terminal building before they could even check in.
Sam Lavelle posted pictures of fellow passengers queuing in the drop-off zone outside Terminal One, writing: ‘The queue is literally outside the door and onto the road.’ Elissa Corrigan described the wait as ‘soul destroying’.
And Ian Moreno-Melgar, who was heading to Belfast for a wedding, tweeted: ‘Queuing in the car park for security isn’t normal.’
But at Heathrow passengers appeared resigned to longer and more intrusive searches as they were subjected to what one termed ‘American-style security’.
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