It would be the first country I’d ever visit that was more difficult to get out of than into. All of my friends that have visited this country told me to arrive at the airport at least three hours before my flight. Once I did arrive at the airport I saw the reason why, it was the longest line I’d ever seen just to get through security. At that moment I swore I’d never complain about security lines in the US ever again.
It was so long I actually considered staying another day. In all my years of travel around this world from customs to security I was speechless but if I wanted to leave I had no choice. And each one was as long at the other. We moved at a snails pace, the line took an hour to move, everyone as miserable as I was. I could’ve taken a nap and have moved only two feet when I awoke. It was the security line from hell, it was the security line at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel.
It is a multitude of straight lines and you move along until it is your turn to face security and that is when the real fun begins. When I arrived I was asked two questions and my passport was stamped, leaving would be more than I ever expected. I handed her my passport and she glanced at it and just rattling off question after question, to the point I had barely anytime to answer.
’Where are you from?’ ‘Why were you in Israel, how long did you stay, who do you know here, and just about anything else could come up with to the point where I wanted to shoot myself. She didn’t flinch and barely blinked her eyes during our staring contest and she couldn’t have been older than 25.
I would go on to learn is that they are trained professionals and they observe a person’s body language and the way they respond while being questioned. Do you pause, stutter, sweat but the one thing you should never do is to look away and when you answer a question always make it one word, or as few as possible and never add anything additional unless you are asked. The man next to me was from Canada, in his twenties and he was a mess, I actually felt bad for him. He barely looked at the officer and every question he stuttered and before long security removed him from the line for more questioning.
Once my cross examination was over she placed a bar code on my passport that I took to the next stop, the x-ray machine and to know surprise it was another line, not as bad as the first line, but still a line. They only put one piece threw at a time not what we are used too. Each piece of luggage is checked individually and if your bag is inspected they do everything short of dismantling it.
They do such a thorough search to the point they find compartments you didn’t know existed. Every single item is removed and this is not done behind closed doors it is done on a table and it is a multitude of security guards checking luggage doing every test until it is deemed safe. And it does not matter who you are or what country you are from if they feel the need to inspect your luggage they will.
The bar code placed on your passport will also determine if your luggage is searched or you face more question. The first number is the one you must pay attention too – it will be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 the more interrogation you will face even if it means missing your flight.
I was given a 3 and once my luggage cleared I finally free to get in the line for Air France and finally get my boarding pass. Oh did I forget to mention that? It is only after you have cleared security you are issued a boarding pass.
And then you go through security once more – yes once more – this time it’s shoes, belts and computers, the usual. And once you are through go to your gate and and pray your flight didn’t leave without.
Please feel free to share some of the nightmares you’ve faced when trying to leave a country.
Thanks for reading.