Twelve days after the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, I boarded a Pan Am jet at Frankfurt airport. But two Middle Eastern men did not. They were very publicly taken off the flight to Berlin, apparently because of their appearance and ethnicity. But if someone on that flight were to be denied boarding, it should have been me.
I had bought the ticket very late. My passport was full of exotic stamps, many for short visits. And my backpack was short on socks but long on maps and notes.
Today at Britain’s airports about half-a-million innocent passengers will be presumed to be terrorists intent on mass murder until they submit to, and pass, a mechanical search for metal and liquids. This is a waste of resources. Far better to profile passengers based on their travel habits – with a large dose of unpredictability thrown in. Customs channels at some Latin American airports have a button for each traveller to press. A green light? Walk through. Red? We’re going through your case.