Airport Security: Once You Go Through, There’s No Turning Back

On Friday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that once a passenger places an item on the x-ray machine’s conveyor belt, or walks through a metal detector, they can not refuse further searching.

According to Christopher Elliot, “The decision involved a Hawaii airline passenger, Daniel Kuualoha Aukai, who was arrested for crystal methamphetamine possession before boarding a scheduled flight to Kona from Honolulu in 2003.”

Mr. Aukai was flagged for not having identification and pulled aside for subsequent searching. He then claimed he was late for his flight (which was true) and left the designated search area bound for the gate. He was stopped, and forced into a search which revealed drug paraphernalia.

In this situation, I think the court’s decision is correct. If you’ve been pulled aside for whatever reason, you can’t just get up and walk out. If you could, the search would be useless, as all those who did not have anything illegal on them would comply, while anyone carrying something illegal would simply walk away. This ruling needs to exist for the searches to do any good.