I have just returned from a very cold New York City! It was so cold i had to rush out and buy a pair of Uggs, snugly warm sheepskin boots that were originally designed in Australia. The pound is so strong against the dollar at the moment that mine cost half the price of buying them in the UK, not only are they very fashionable, they are also practical and comfortable, not sure though I would be able to do a drop kick in a pair of them.
Talking of the USA I have to go back to airport security, a friend of mine who is a Brit, but works in New York, has a work visa in her passport: on arriving at JFK on the first day of the new security system she lined up for three hours to have her fingerprints and photo taken. I arrived the next day at JFK, I got my visa waiver form on the aeroplane, I went to immigration and queued for five minutes, this used to be the best part of two hours, but with the new system and now different queues for work visas and tourist visas mine was very short, no finger prints or photos for me. After a quick chat of how long are you staying and have a nice day I was through immigration and into the customs hall, then out to my waiting limousine.
The question I have to ask is, how many terrorists would risk going to an American embassy and getting a visa stamped into their passports, surely they would just use the tourist visa scheme, I again think that maybe the homeland security department has got this back to front.
Having arrived in New York and settled into the Waldorf Astoria Towers (my favourite hotel in the world) I settled down to filming for Celebrity Justice an American TV show, this went well and even had brunch with the presenter Carolinawho was a great person. We went to Soho house again (maybe I should move in there) as they have a smoking room and now the anti smoking nazi's are in full force in New York I will give my patronage to any one that lets me smoke.
But back to airport security: on Christmas eve my friend in America was trying to get on her flight for England, after three hours of delays and lots of searches both before and at the gate the passengers were allowed to board their flight, then they sat on the tarmac for another hour, were made to get off again, then another hour wait, and finally they got on board buckled their seat belts ready for take off when the doors opened and three police officers in riot gear carrying sub machine guns got on the plane and dragged off a male passenger. My friend said she was now very concerned about safety, why after all the on off on off did they allow this male person to board only to then drag him off, surely he could have been stopped at the gate so as not to scare the passengers. Personally I can imagine it had taken this long for what ever security checks they had done on the passengers to come back to the airport police. But the passengers on that plane do not know that.
One week later and a man on a flight from New york to Washington tells a flight attendant their is a bomb on a plane and then two days after that a male is stopped and searched at London's heathrow airport after stepping off a flight from the USA only to discover he is carrying five rounds of ammunition.
In my opinion the threat does not come so much from the passenger side but from the air side of the airport, baggage handlers caterers cleaners all have access to the plane and much more chance of putting something on a plane. I still believe we are relatively safe and will continue to fly as much as ever, for if we stop then Bin Laden and his terrorist cronies have won. For we will have been terrorised.
Until next month stay safe