Airport security isn’t the greatest time of your life. You stand in line behind a family with a triple-stroller, take out all your metallic objects, place everything on the belt, have it not fit through the conveyor, get snapped at by the security, step through the metal detector, beep, step through again, and then you get a pat down. Nothing gets the adrenaline running quite like knowing your flight is boarding and your ill-advised single earring is causing you to enter and re-enter screening.
Let’s say the guard reminds you to remove your belt and shoes. A normal human faces a decision:
a) Remove your belt and shoes, and step through again
49 year-old United Airlines pilot Michael D. Slynn chose the latter this past week as he attempted to pass through a routine security screening at the Rio de Janeiro Airport. He was temporarily detained, but eventually able to fly back to Washington D.C. Next time he’s in Brazil, he has to appear before a judge.
This is somewhat similar to the incident back in 2004 where pilot Dale Hersh, while being photographed passing through Sao Paulo Guaruhulos International Airport security (routine at the time), gave the finger to the camera. A spiteful gesture in the face of over-enthusiastic and under-amused security.
However, this is even more similar to the incident in 2009 at London City Airport, where a pilot was passing through security was asked to remove his belt and shoes. Like Slynn, he lost his temper, dropped his pants and drawers, and exclaimed, “Do you want to search this?”
Ultimately, no moral wrong was committed. Just an inconvenient (and understandable) wrong. Remove your belt and shoes, but keep your pants on.