Of all places, CNET had a story yesterday about a passenger in Sydney who was so distracted by staring down at his iPad he exited the security check point, only later realizing he forgot something. When he tried to go back through (the wrong way) he set off an alarm that forced an evacuation of the terminal, ultimately delaying flights by about an hour. See the original story in the Sydney Morning Herald.
There are a lot of missing facts in both accounts. Was the man detained, or did he just get his missing item and walk out again? How did the airport manage to limit delays to an hour if it had to empty the terminal and then re-screen passengers? And why wasn’t there someone at the security exit to stop the man from going the wrong way?
This last point is most important. From what I can tell, the airport authorities never identified or detained this man. It seems to have all been caught on CCTV. If you tried something similar in the U.S., ever security exit is staffed by a TSA employee — along with a bunch of blaring sirens and flashing lights — to make sure you don’t go the wrong way. The iPad is almost irrelevant to the story. He could have been staring off at a sign.
No one is asking who was guarding the exit. Does anyone think that maybe, just maybe, there was someone else responsible for this security failure? Or should we start debating whether he was playing Angry Birds, and perhaps this video game is to blame for others’ delayed flights.
I love the caption CNET used in one of its pictures: “This is the chaos…after a man with an iPad wandered past security.”
We never do learn what he left behind. If only he’d had that item, and been running back to get his missing iPad, we might have been treated to an entirely different story, the one where a man with an apple forced an airport to evacuate.