Smoke them out: CISF chases fliers sneaking in lighters in watch, biscuit, bottle
Carrying lighters on flights is prohibited in India. CISF is planning to set up counters at arrival halls where passengers can pick up a lighter if they gave their up during departuredelhi Updated: Sep 21, 2017 14:52 IST
An off-duty airline staffer tried to carry a lighter on board a flight by hiding it in his underwear earlier this week. A few days ago, a passenger made a similar attempt – hiding a lighter under his wrist watch. And a week ago, a passenger managed to light up a cigarette on a Ranchi-Delhi flight.
Flyers appear to be going to great lengths to smuggle lighters on board flights, officials in the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which maintains the security in airports across the country, said.
“On Wednesday, the frisking staff managed to detect a lighter in the undergarment of a passenger. The passenger was travelling to Mumbai and was let off after he wrote an apology. The staff has been asked to carefully screen bags as passengers are obsessed with carrying matchsticks or lighters,” said a CISF official, insisting he not be identified since he was not authorised to speak to media on this.
Carrying lighters on flights is prohibited in India, but the rule may itself be outdated since nations in the west usually have no such restriction.
In India, people have tried to hide matchsticks or lighters in places like the CD drive of their laptops or bought ones that resemble everyday items such as a cream biscuit, perfume bottle, belt buckle, shoe ring and a wine bottle.
According to airlines, some passengers’ urge to smoke is the biggest security threat and there have been many cases when passengers were found lighting up in the toilet during flight.
CISF has hence prepared a list of items that can be a replica for lighters. This list has been circulated to airports.
Since passengers hesitate in depositing lighters, the CISF also plans to have counters at arrival halls where passengers can pick up a lighter if they gave their up during departure.
Though passengers will not get the same lighter back, they can choose from the ones other people leave behind at the airport.
“It is natural to get irritated if you have to deposit lighter or any other item at the security check. But considering the security structure, we cannot allow a passenger to carry it on the plane. At the end of every day, we have so many lighters that we deposit at the airport. We are thinking of giving it back to the passengers,” the official added.