I travelled (with a Baby) recently from Heathrow onto an EU country onto another EU county and back to the UK. Honestly I was treated like a criminal at best. At worst? Well I will let you be the judge of that.
It started off very normally. Now as far as I was aware, restrictions had been lifted to non US countries. Boy was I wrong. Before I go on, I need you to be aware that I had already been away from home for 3 days attending a conference. So, there I was armed with Baby food and drink and Baby in tow, beginning my travels.
I checked in and was directed to a channel for security. At this point, I thought how nice of them, they are helping me out because I am travelling with a baby. What a joke? I was queued behind some other people obviously. They were made to strip off their jackets, shoes and even belts. They had to walk through the detector barefooted on filthy floor (there even was chewing gum stuck to the floor!). I was surprised. Anyway, if was soon my turn. My jacket was in a plastic bag and I was not wearing a belt. Thankfully my baby was not wearing shoes or I would have flipped. But try taking off your shoes whilst holding a baby and dealing with security! They took my pushchair and tried to stuff it in the x-ray machine and could not manage. So they took it elsewhere, without even warning me they were removing it from my presence. It came back damaged, though I did not notice until later as things actually deteriorated further. My bag was split into smaller bags including a baby food bag, a baby change bag and a handbag. I also had a plastic bag with our jackets as it is too hot to wear the jackets inside the terminal. I also had a sealed 1L bottle of water and a nearly empty one, bearing in mind I had to travel to get to Heathrow. Anyway, they made me throw my bottles away, despite their objections only being with my not carrying water and NOT with carrying water bottles. They gave me grief because I asked to keep the bottles. Needless to say I was made to throw them and told that I can purchase more from inside the terminal. Anyway, apparently that was the least of my trouble, because they then found my baby’s bottles. My baby has always been breastfed Milk, so my baby is not used to normal baby bottles. However, my child can drink water out of sports bottles. I had found miniature sports water bottles and used those to give my baby water and had a couple of them with me. Now those caused some trouble. They gave me so much grief. I am positive despite sanctions people could still carry baby food and drink subject to the parent testing them at security. I was more than happy to do this, but as they were not standard baby bottles they would not allow them. No matter how I tried to justify that the water contained was low salt and baby friendly, I was not allowed to keep them under any circumstance. So I said I would throw the water but not the bottles. The security started getting angry at me because they did not want to just dispose water. But had they been baby bottles I would not have been given any of the grief. I was made to explain why I gave my child that water and not other water. I was told I could replace the water with tap water. I was shouted at and humiliated. Yet my ordeal was still not over. They found the baby food. It was a sealed unit as found in the shops. I did not think of carrying spare containers with me. I was made to test it. I said it is sealed and if I open it I cannot carry it. Could they offer me some way to reseal it. They could not. I was made to throw my child’s food away.
At some point they wanted to take my child off me. I flipped. Did they really think that after shouting and me and giving me grief, I was actually going to trust my child in their hands. I flipped. I said that my child would never leave my hands. I could not understand why I was being treated like a criminal. They said it was security. Honestly. If I wanted to cause trouble, I do not even need to pay for a flight and board one. If I just left a bomb in each terminal at peak time, I would kill far more people than if I were on a flight with a bomb! Yet perhaps they are too blind to see, and so I get treated like a criminal.
I had to shut up because I though that if I said anything else, I was going to be detained and arrested. I could not afford anything happening to my child so I just shut up. By then I was so stressed, that as soon as I was able to leave security, I just burst into tears. This happened a month ago, and I still get upset at the way I was treated. Just imagine how I felt then.
So what is the point of this? Well. I thought I lived in a free country. I thought I was innocent until proven guilty. I was wrong. Apparently you are treated like a criminal if you are not the minority. You are presumed guilty and treated as such. And all because of a small minority group with intent of destruction. For Freddy’s sake, give me back my FREEDOM and don’t let the guilty win!
[Oh! Needless to say I was not treated like this at any of the other EU airports!]