A weapon concealed in knee replacement?


Sir – I live in Alice Springs, and use the airport frequently, as do most long term residents.
Often it is seeing people off, or meeting friends, family or clients. Sometimes I am flying myself.
In November 2013 I had a total knee replacement, that is, I have a metal knee.
It sets off the scanner when I go through.
I immediately point to my knee and explain the prosthesis, and as I am usually wearing shorts, the scar is obvious.
A wave of the ‘wand’ over my knee would confirm the metal knee.
BUT NO. “Go back through sir.” “Go around the back sir.”
Then follows “hold out your arms sir”. Then the wand, and the the pat down.
“Turn around sir.” Then the wand and the pat down again.
“Please sit down sir and take your shoes off.”
“Can we put your shoes through the xray machine sir?”
This is the height of silliness.
My question is, what is the logic behind this annoying, intrusive, time wasting and discriminatory treatment?
Perhaps I had a painful and difficult surgical procedure in order to camouflage a weapon onto a plane?
I have gone through scanners in other places, and when I point to my knee, and mention the prosthesis, they wave the wand over my knee to confirm it. Then, usually, with a “you’ve done this before” they wave me through.
What do I need to do to stop this annoying, time consuming, and totally pointless nonsense?
Perhaps a certificate from my Orthopedic Surgeon? (I’m sure Dr Bandula would be happy to provide it.)
Or perhaps a character reference from the Mayor?Of course the staff are immovable on the issue. “It is the rules!”
My question is whose rules?
Is it the Airport Company?
Is it the Security company?
Is it the Federal government? I would like some answers.
However I suspect that whoever is responsible, The War on Terror will once again triumph over common sense.
Charlie Carter
Alice Springs


  1. In response to Charlie Carter’s complaint about the great job airport security do, I can only say – get used to it Charlie.
    I had a double knee replacement in 2008. I have traveled extensively nationally and internationally since then and always set off the security scanner.
    The Alice Springs airport security have always treated me with dignity and respect, with the opportunity to be “wanded” in privacy. I make sure I dress accordingly – slip on shoes, no bling on my clothes.
    Be thankful Charlie that you don’t wear a bra – security have to touch you wherever the scanner beeps. In my experience, international security staff are not so respectful – no opportunity for a female officer to pat me down or worse still – they ignore the scanner going off and you are left wondering if anyone carrying a weapon has managed to sneak through onto your flight!
    It’s unfortunate Charlie that we, and everyone else with a piece of metal in their body, have to go through this process, however, if it gives us the security that the chance of someone carrying a weapon onto a plane departing from Alice Springs is minimalised, I have no objections and plan my trip accordingly.

  2. Usually its the person dealing with you on the day at the security.
    If they do not listen to what you just mentioned about your knee, they follow procedures and make you frustrated and other passengers annoyed.
    Even just seeing someone at the airport is a joke.
    Commonsense is not common in this day and age.

  3. Cheer up Charlie. I’m sure the security staff had lessons from Monty Python.
    Recently I was picking up a friend who had just landed and after clearing the scanners was walking towards the lounge when I was aware of two security guards. They were watching me as I bought a paper at the shop counter. They said I had to undergo a “bomb” scan test.
    I went back to the section and had the wand test all over, but – wait for it including – the newspaper I had just bought while they were watching!

  4. Having bought into the War on Terror as manufactured and maintained by the Empire of Chaos, this is what we can expect, and expect to continue to live with – tossers with thin badges shepherding us through choke points.

  5. While I admired Julie Ross’s stoicism she has not answered my questions, and I am yet to be convinced that subjecting me (and her) to the silly and time consuming procedure contributes anything to aircraft security.
    “Getting used to” bureaucratic nonsense inspired by political opportunism is not good for a healthy democracy.

  6. What you need to do Charles is stop going to the airport.
    What makes you so special to bypass rules and regulations which are designed to keep staff and passengers safe on a plane? If you want answers perhaps try “Googling” it.

  7. Cheer up Charlie. I’m from England and had a bilateral TKR (twin total knee replacement) 15 years ago and have had to suffer the inconvenience and irritation for years now in many countries, yours included.
    My local airport, East Midlands, is probably one of the more depressing experiences.
    I try to accept it now for the best reasons but if I have a gripe it is with the attitude of security staff. Why are they so utterly bereft of any emotions or humour. The worst I ever had was at Perth. The job can’t be too difficult but I do wish they would all lighten up a little!


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