Security concerns have made travelling an invasive affair, but the security process is designed to protect passengers. It’s critical to the safety of all who fly, so hold luggage, hand luggage and a traveller’s physical person are all checked by scanners to ensure compliance with restrictions.
Dealing With Baggage Security Scanners
Airports use two different kinds of scanners. If you’re wondering, “how do airport baggage scanners work?” full-body scanners are known as millimetre wave scanners and create a moving image. Backscatter X-rays are designed to show hidden objects beneath clothing or luggage. They can detect both metallic and non-metallic objects, ranging from guns to foods and plastics. Some airports no longer use backscatter scanners because they’re considered a privacy invasion, but they remain in use at major US, UK, and European airports.
What Do Airport Baggage Scanners See?
Baggage Scanners are explicit enough to pick up detailed images of your luggage contents, which is why so many passengers wonder, “what do airport baggage scanners detect?” They can detect non-metallic and metallic objects, including most organic materials. That means you may not get away with smuggling banned foods in your suitcases. Baggage scanner machines rely on X-rays to see through the surface of your luggage to achieve detailed images of the items inside it. Security officers can calculate how dense each object is, which gives them the information they need to spot contraband. They might not be able to work out what every item in your luggage is, but if suspicious items are detected, you may be bag searched. It’s advisable to mind the rules about contraband items in carry-on and hold luggage.
Backscatter and millimetre wave scanners achieve a detailed view of the body beneath underwear, albeit not in great detail. They remove the need for pat-downs, so many tourists prefer them to the alternatives. In the United States, travellers are allowed to choose between scans and body searches, but the UK Department for Transport doesn’t allow passengers to fly without being scanned. Scanners can detect steel and non-metallic objects on the exterior of the body. They cannot see inside body cavities or diagnose disease, contrary to popular misconception. New ATI scanners have been designed to provide passengers with more privacy by showing only a generic outline, which cannot indicate gender or body type. Other forms of scanner are less forgiving and far more explicit. If you’re travelling through an AIT scanner, you can relax in the knowledge that the security process will be less invasive than it was in the past. Your security officer will see an image akin to a paper doll.
In airports still using explicit scanning, the officer viewing the image is kept in a separate room so that passenger and scanner don’t make direct contact.
What to Do if Your Luggage is Damaged
If you’re travelling with a low-cost airline and suffer losses as a result of negligence or poor luggage handling, EU regulations might entitle you to compensation. If your luggage is delayed, the EC Regulation 261/2004 will protect you. Every circumstance has its finer points, but in general, you’re entitled to claim up to 1, 131 SDR (special drawing rights). It’s important to report lost bags immediately and file a Property Irregularity Report. Once your luggage is found, you’re given three weeks to draw up a list of your losses and submit a claim.