Man with arthritis quits flying over airport security 'embarrassment'

Man with arthritis quits flying over airport security 'embarrassment'


A man with five metal joint implants has decided to give up flying - because he can't bear the embarrassment of airport security alarms setting off every time he passes through them.

As well as the fact he gets "pulled to pieces" by airport security, Roger Hickford, 71, of Maldon, Essex, says the "painful" wait in queues means he can no longer face flying.

According to the report in the BBC, Mr Hickford, who has replacement joints in his hips, knees and shoulders, has now even cancelled a flight to Australia to see his son in Adelaide.

Mr Hickford and his wife, Rose, also love travelling to Turkey, but say the experience is worse at foreign airports, with the added frustration of the language barrier.

A spokesman for Stansted Airport told the BBC that people like Mr Hickford should carry a medical note about their metal implants if they think it's likely they will be stopped.

Mr Hickford's story echoes the recent experience of a businessman who had to drop his pants at Birmingham Airport to prove to security officers he'd had a hip replacement, describing the incident as "prehistoric".

Nigel Lloyd-Jones, 59, informed security officers at the airport that he'd undergone the surgery, and was likey to set off the metal detectors.

But, despite this, he was taken into a room with two officers, who asked him to lower his trousers to show them the surgery scar.

Mr Lloyd, an owner of an events company, was flying to visit a German client on 9 April when the incident occurred.

He had previously taken 64 European flights since his surgery following a motorbike accident in November 2011, most of which had been departing from Birmingham. But this was the first time he had been asked to show his scar.

Mr Lloyd-Jones spoke to the Birmingham Mail about his experience, saying: "The thought of my 86-year-old mother or my 76-year-old aunt to be put through such an indignity beggars belief. No-one seems to be able to tell me why this now has to be a requirement when we have bodyscanners and other state-of-the-art screening technology."

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Man with arthritis quits flying over airport security 'embarrassment'

Last March, a toddler in a wheelchair was subjected to an invasive body search and swabbed for explosives on his way to Disneyland. His father, who filmed the incident, which took place at Chicago O'Hare Airport, said: "He was trembling with fear... I was told I could not touch him or come near him during this process." 

A man who is believed to posess "the world's largest penis" sparked a security scare after airport staff at San Francisco International Airport thought he might have been concealing a weapon. Jonah Falcon (pictured) was subjected to a rigorous patdown and had powder sprinkled on his pants to check for explosives...

Last Christmas, an 85-year-old woman in a wheelchair claimed she was strip-searched at JFK Airport, New York. Leonore Zimmerman, who has a defibrillator for heart problems, was worried that the scanners would interfere with her life-saving device, so asked for a pat down. Instead, she says she was taken to a private room and told to remove her clothes in a humiliating search that also left injured. The process took so long that she also missed her flight. Howver, the TSA denied the incident had taken place.

In June, a passenger was left devastaed after a TSA official spilled the ashes of his grandfather over the terminal floor. John Gross was attempting to take the ashes home to Indianapolis when he was stopped at security. He claims she dipped her finger into the jar, spilling its contents onto the floor, despite TSA rules that state that a crematory container are to be opened in no circumstances.

This summer, a report revealed that a disproportionate amount of women were being singled out for strip searches at Gatwick Airport. The government's chief investigator of immigration John Vine, also revealed that Afro-Caribbean women in particular were being targeted. Reasons given for strip searches by Border Force staff at Gatwicks' North Terminal included only buying a ticket one day before travel, they were carrying £200 in cash, and because they were visiting the UK to look for hair and beauty products. New guidance on searches has since been rewritten.

One US passenger Mandi Hamlin hit the press a couple of years ago when she was stopped and wanded by a TSA employee and asked to remove her metal nipple rings. One came out with no problem, but the other got stuck - and eventually had to be removed using pliers. OUCH.

Last year, security officials at Gatwick Airport banned a passenger from carrying a toy soldier on a transatlantic flight. The three-inch plastic toy gun was branded a 'firearm'. Passenger Julie Lloyd, who had bought the figure as a present for her husband, told the Daily Mail:"It is only three inches long and there are no moving parts. There isn't even a trigger." She eventually posted it to herself instead.

When two children tried to take their Christmas gift of Play-Doh past the checkpoint at New Orleans airport, an overzealous agent confiscated it, despite the fact Play-Doh is not on the list of prohibited items. Apparently, aents can use "their own discretion". Never mind that millions have been invested on explosive detection equipment: it wasn't deemed necesary to use it. Running Play-Doh through the explosives detector would have taken under a minute...

In 2011, security officials at Florida airport patted down a 95-year-old cancer sufferer and made her remove her adult 'nappy' during the search. She was then forced to go through airport security without any underwear. CNN reported that Jena Weber was travelling with her mother, who was in the final stages of her battle with leukaemia, last June to see relatives. In response to the incident, the TSA said:"We have reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally and according to proper procedure."

... meanwhile, in August 2012, a boy of 11 managed to slip through security at Manchester Airport and fly to Rome without a passport or barding pass. Liam Corcoran evaded five security checks to join the Jet2.com flight unaccompanied.

2012 was the year of "naked" body scanner in the UK - and it caused massive controversy. Passengers refusing to pass through them have, in the past, been banned from flying. The scanners -0 which gave security officers an eyeful - have now been banned by the EU, (ironically on safety grounds) - but not before millions have been spent on installing them... plane madness? We think so!

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