I was quite surprised to find a pamphlet in my bag after opening it in my place. I had just landed back in DC after spending a week full of adventures and exploration in Phoenix, Arizona. It was lying right on top of my clothes and its title read as “Notice of Baggage Inspection”. Concerned and confused by this unexpected surprise, I lifted it and read through its contents. It was from airport security authority stating that my bag was among those bags selected for inspection for any prohibited items. It also mentioned that during the inspection, if the bag is locked, the officers are forced to break the locks and they are not responsible for any damage to the bag or its contents. It also mentioned searching all the contents and then returning back into it. That just made me question the reliability of multiple security barriers including scanning devices, sniffing dogs, walk through gates, metal detectors etc. If all these security checks are in place and working properly, why would it be required to forcefully open a locked bag and search all its contents given the fact it had successfully passed through all the security checkpoints? Moreover, claiming no responsibility for any damage to the bags and its contents after finding nothing out of it, didn’t make any sense to me. It proves that all the security measures in place fail to suffice and are fairly inadequate so that the security staff have to select and inspect luggage bags.
It also raises questions on the criteria to select bags for inspection, is it a random selection? If yes, how does randomness is ensured? Secondly, if the security officials are not responsible for the damage and/or loss of bag’s contents or locks, who else will be? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to inspect the bags in front of the owners, if it is that necessary and required in the first place? Isn’t the consent of the owner important before inspecting his/her belongings? I think the logic, common sense and ethical considerations make the answers to these questions pretty obvious.
The purpose of writing this blog is to make my friends and fellows aware of any such untoward incident they might experience as well. So my suggestion is that if you’re taking a domestic flight, try to pack sparingly and just bring a carry-on luggage bag that weighs around 7-8 kilograms and skip bringing a bag to be checked in, if at all possible. That way, you could avoid the chance of getting your bag inspected and any potential damage or loss to your belongings without your prior knowledge or consent.
Stay safe and happy traveling around the states!