The hidden costs for our safety and security

As a frequent traveller you will hear “safety is our main concern”, quite often mainly when travelling by plane. I personally doubt this slogan, as safety can never be the main concern of an airline. A company’s main concern in the transportation sector must be to make a profit out of the transportation of their passengers from point A to point B. That safety plays a major part is in my opinion a nice slogan to make us feel safe.

Travelling by plane is actually a great example on the impact of security regulations on the business sector:
For the sake of security we accept quite a lot of inconveniences and time investment: we arrive at the airport at the minimum 1 hour (but mostly 3 hours) in advance. We respond to very intimate questions to corporate employees (ground staff of a US Airline is asking how long do you know your contact in the US, how much do you have on your bank account, etc. – questions that you would not even allow your best friends to ask you) to receive the first security clearance. Even before starting our trip some countries demand to fill out electronic visa applications and charge you up to 15 Euros for that. The filling out of the form will take a traveller as well 1 – 2 hours as the information requested is sometimes not handy (birthplace of mother, relatives, etc.).

At the official security check we take off our belts, wallets, cell phones, shoes, bracelets, etc. and let ourselves be even scanned naked. We pack our creams and cosmetics etc. in ridicules 100 ml plastic tubes and put them all together into small plastic bags and we allow completely strangers look into our personal belongings and handbags.We accept to wait in a line for at least 20 minutes and we accept to get stressed if the metal detector peeps and we have to go through the scanner again.

Once the plane we listen again to the same safety announcement and when we have to go at our destination through an immigration process probably we will have to respond to very intimate questions again.

All in all one will spend at least 1-2 hours per trip on mandatory security procedures. If you are travelling 1 time per year to your holiday resort these procedures can even be funny as they are extraordinary and you will feel maybe even valuable. If you are – like many high level professionals – travelling once per week – travelling time is mostly working time and missing 1 hour of working time is precious.

The time spent on security procedures is lost – or to say it in the words of the security world invested in security. Nevertheless one have to calculate 1 hour of professional time has a price – and that makes a trip more expensive. Consequently that augments the ticket price for a minimum of a couple of hundreds of Euros.

In other words even if the costs are hidden, we all accept to spend/pay money for security. But we all except it because we feel safe and secure.

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