Saturday, December 17, 2011

Airport Security in Nepal

We took a plane from Kathmandu, Nepal to New Delhi, India on December 11th, 2011.

Once you enter the actual body of the airport, you put your bags onto a conveyor belt close to the floor, and pass through either the ladies' line or the gentlemen's line. This is reminescent of metro security— each security checker person has one of those hand-held metal detectors, and he or she will run the device over you, check every one of your suspiciously lumpy pockets, and then let you pass.

I passed through with handcream. In America they'd look at me sideways and kind of shake their heads, then ask me to take it out and throw it away. But I passed through with handcream.
Once you retrieve your bag from security, you have to go check your bags (if any). We skipped this and sat down instead. Once our plane was called, we stood up and were confronted with another security check. We had to stand in line behind a woman who yelled at us if we passed her. About four meters in front of her was the security gate, where we passed through unhindered once our bags and coats and shoes had gone through the security check.

Right before getting on the plane, there was another security check. We were kind of surprised, but held our arms out as the security guard ran her hands up and down our arms and felt around our pockets. We also had to open up the camera bag once or twice, to double check that nothing harmful was in there.

All of the examinations are manual. The metal-detector gates seem to be there just as a sign of where to go, because they don't seem to beep at all, except perhaps as a notification that someone's passed through the gate. Even if we're not used to it, the whole thing is a very non-invasive procedure, and is a lot less awkward than passing through the security gate in America and then realized you stepped forward too soon and having to go back, or not stepping forward fast enough and now you've inconvenienced these people… and on and on and on.

Though airport security is completely different on this end of the world, there are rules that persist. No water is allowed through the second security check. It's fine, though, through security check number one (I passed through while holding a water bottle. It wasn't empty.) and security check number three.

They don't allow sharp or flammable objects on the airplane (who would?), and the entire airport is non-smoking, with the exception of a certain room which is walled off with sanded glass and which says in bright red SMOKER'S ROOM. Then, in subscript, SMOKING IS DETRIMENTAL TO YOUR HEALTH.

All in all, I think I like Nepali airports more than I do American ones. They seem so paranoid with all their rules and regulations, compared to the Nepali, who don't care if you have hand cream or not.

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