Indian Airport Security Told Not to Smile as Much

Security staff in India are being told to smile less.

Airport police in India are being instructed to smile less. This is over concerns cheerfulness could lead to a perception of lax security and a threat of terror attacks.

The country’s Central Industrial Security Force, which is in charge of aviation safety, wants its staff to be “more vigilant than friendly”. They will move from a “broad smile system” to a “sufficient smile system”, the Indian Express says.


Boarding in Chennai

They’re worried about the perception of lax security, in other words security theater, although the agency’s director seems to believe that good security treats passengers poorly. He blames 9/11 on “passenger-friendly” security.

I think this approach has things backwards. You want to put most passengers at ease. Here in the U.S. there are (admittedly poorly-trained, and with no science behind it) staff trying to discern behavioral clues to whether someone is a terrorist. It’s easier to do when non-terrorists are at ease, otherwise we’ll all show the tell tale signs of nefarious behavior making it harder to pick out bad actors.

Then again this TSA powerpoint (incorrectly) says all terrorists are Muslims so here in the States that’s all they’re really looking for anyway.

India, of course, is given to tremendous security theater — metal detectors everywhere that only people who aren’t dangerous walk through for instance, and lots of stamping of things going on. Security staff are being told they need to look and act the part.

(HT: Marginal Revolution)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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