Protesters disrupt service at Stansted Airport

50 protesters from the environmentalist group Plane Stupid forced England’s Stansted Airport to close this morning after they cut their way through security fences and chained themselves to railings and fences near the runway. The airport is heavily used by budget carrier Ryanair, which had to cancel more than 50 flights as a result of the demonstration. The protest began at three in the morning and it was not until 8:30 a.m. that flights resumed.

Ryanair complained about the slow response from security officials:

“It is unacceptable that the travel plans of thousands of passengers have been disrupted because BAA Stansted security have failed to remove a number of protesters.”

Plane Stupid‘s protest was in response to the government’s decision to add another runway to the airport. They have spoken out against the airline industry’s handling of carbon emissions and pollution. I’m no PR expert, but chaining yourself near an airport runway is probably not the best way to get your point across. In fact, I’d way it was plain stupid.

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London Airports Still Slow

Beware that London airport security is still very tight.

I was flying back from a weekend trip in London today and waited in line–or should I say “queue”–for almost 2 hours. (In a situation like this, one really appreciates the ability of the British to form lines and wait patiently). Flying into London was fine, but any flights from London are closely monitored.

In terms of the current security measures in the UK, people are now allowed to bring on one carry-on, but a very small one (e.g. one woman’s purse, computer bag or small backpack), definitely not the typical wheeled carry-on suitcase. I learned the hard way – they sent me back from security back to check-in, which meant…another line.

I saw a women cry because she really wanted to bring all her cosmetics on board, but the security personnel were less than understanding. They confiscated her perfume, her lipstick, her lip gloss and her hair gel. Which made me realize that this regulation could mean a lot more uglier, smellier, bad-hairdo women roaming around airports.

Thank goodness for those Duty Free shops! Now that travelers can’t really bring on board anything they buy there, at least they can use their make up samples for free. Too bad they don’t do the same with liquor.