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sep 27 2011

How do other countries stack up to the U.S. in airport security?

A friendly TSA agent? They do exist! (Courtesy MobileEdgeLaptopCases/flickr)

As you may have heard, last week the U.S. Transportation Security Administration fired 28 of its agents—and suspended 15 others—for failing to properly screen bags being put onto planes at Honolulu International Airport. According to an article by CNN Travel, "The firing is believed to be one of, if not the biggest, such action in the agency's history, with officials previously stating that it underscores they will not tolerate employees who compromise security."

This got me thinking: The United States is known for having such strict policies when it comes to airport screenings (well, besides this obvious exception mentioned above), but what about other countries? Is everyone being as careful as we are?

One of our editors recently spent the weekend in Mexico City. She just happened to be flying back into the United States, incidentally on the tenth anniversary of September 11th, and was surprised to find that no one at the Mexican airport even asked her to remove her shoes during a routine screening. What gives?

On the other hand, Israel has airport security methods that are more aggressive than ours. Not only do they practice intense psychological video surveillance—the idea being to identify the behavior associated with a potential threat before it has a chance to be carried out—but they employ technology that allows them to better screen passengers without having to use the full body scanners we love to hate. You can even keep your shoes on thanks to a device called Magshoe that screens for explosives in a few seconds.

Clearly, security procedures vary depending on where in the world you are. What's the most surprising method of security you've encountered in your travels? Tell us below.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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