Video Of Veiled Muslim Women Not Being ID’d At Airport Is Missing Critical Info

A viral video has begun spreading that shows a Muslim woman in a veil not revealing her face as she passes an Air Canada gate agent while boarding a flight from Montreal (YUL) to London (LHR) … or so the person who shot the video says.

I have reviewed this video, entitled “A major Canadian airline risks your safety, pandering to Muslim sensibilities,” a few times and find there to be substantial information missing from this video. While the Canadian Federal Transport Minister John Baird is quoted at stating that the content of the video is “deeply disturbing” and that it “poses a serious threat to the security of the air-travelling public.” I’d counter his claim saying that crucial facts are missing from the YouTube video.

1) There is no footage that actually links the video to a July 11th flight from YUL to LHR. While the surroundings look like YUL, how do we know it’s an Air Canada flight to LHR? It could just as easily be an Air Canada flight to Paris (CDG), a Royal Air Maroc flight to Casablanca (CMN), A Royal Jordanian flight to Amman (AMM), or a SWISS flight to Zurich (ZRH).

2) The first woman does not appear to be traveling with the people she is linked to by the creator of the video. How do we know she was not with a family ahead of her or traveling on her own? Her attachment to the family traveling behind her is an assumption.

3) All passengers have had their identities verified by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority prior to passing from the landside of an airport to the airside of an airport.  Women with veils are generally verified by a female officer in a separate area for their privacy.

4) There are at times secondary passport verification procedures before passengers arrive at the gate, allowing them to not present identification to the gate agent during boarding

5) The video states that one man presents all the passports, but the video shows no passports being presented to the gate agent

6) The video is significantly edited and appears to have pieces edited out of the footage breaking up the continuity of the film

7) The video is missing significant information, such as what happened 30 seconds to 1 minute before he started filming; straight shots of what the videographer is claiming going on, making the commentary speculation; scene setting shots showing the complete surroundings of the situation that would allow for a better understanding of the process all passengers were undergoing.

8 ) The running commentary along with the chopping footage can indicate the videographer had an agenda in shooting this footage, as it specifically is leaving out details that could have been shot in order to portrait a particular personal belief or political leaning.

The fact of the matter is this … every day tens of thousands of Muslim woman fly all over the world wearing veils.  I have witnessed women passing through airport security in Hartford Connecticut and Manama Bahrain the process tends to be the same. The woman are removed from the security line with a female officer for identity verification.

The need to check passports at the boarding gate is to ensure passengers have not swapped boarding passes, however in general this is more for airline revenue control than security.  Should a passenger arrive in a foreign country without the proper visa due to a boarding pass swap in the ‘sterile area’ of an airport they’ll be detained or deported … because Immigrations, much like airport security, verifies the identity of travelers against their passport before letting them pass through to the other side.

…in fact last week flying from London’s Heathrow Airport while wearing my baseball hat I handed my passport to the gate agent, as I went to remove my hat the passport (never opened) and boarding pass were handed back to me and I was wished a good flight.

So…unlike the Canadian Federal Transport Minister, John Baird, I’ll wait to pass judgment or say anyone should be worried until more information is available. The information I am most interest is who the person who shot the video is and if they’ll make available the full raw video proving the flights information and showing that all passports and identities were checked for this flight.

A copy of the video in question is below … and remember … not everything is as it seems!

Happy Flying!

Comments

  1. Cranky – as a Canuck who is getting REALLY tired of the side agendas of some floks, MANY thanks for putting an unbiased and learned perspective to this so-called revelation. I am NOT a fan of our federal government, and Baird in particular, and this is yet another example of things getting blown WAY too fair out of proportion. Did anyone even ASK Air Canuck to floow-up on this?

  2. Mike,

    While Greg MacDougall of the CATSA states “guards are primarily looking for metal, weapons, or other banned material, not ensuring that veiled faces match passport photos” and “We don’t have concerns with that. We have concerns with the fact if the person has any metal under their clothing” … in fact they do check IDs.

    Oddly, I agree with with no check of photo identification on a certain level. If someone was seeking to do real damage to an airliner, chances are they’d find a way to fly under an assumed alias with legitimate papers. Time and time again those with resources have found ways to manufacturer documents that are legitimate, and changing the name on a boarding pass is not that difficult with Online Check-in (although some airports and security agencies are finally finding a way to combat this).

    The real key to security is checking body language and for weapons. The actual matching of a name to a boarding pass is in fact airline revenue management … and airport security should not be concerned with enforcing airline revenue management. There is a fine line between security and revenue management and it is something that is often significantly misunderstood.

    Airlines are responsible for ensuring passengers have a passport and the correct Visa (if one is needed), that is not he job of “exit immigrations” or airport security.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  3. Robert,

    It appears that Air Maple Leaf has threatened a law suit against Mick Flynn of Bradford, UK, the person who shot and posted the video.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  4. Nope. I am sitting the Maple Leaf Lounge in YVR right now. I presented my BP to CATSA, and no ID check.

    CATSA does not check IDs.

  5. Mike,

    Quick question here … if you posted your last comment from The Maple Leave Lounge at YVR at 8:01pm PST, can you tell me the method in which you were connected to the internet to make the post? I have a question concerning the validity of your comment, primarily that the IP Address you’re posting from says you’re in San Jose, California.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  6. “So…unlike the Canadian Federal Transport Minister, John Baird, I’ll wait to pass judgment or say anyone should be worried until more information is available. The information I am most interest is who the person who shot the video is and if they’ll make available the full raw video proving the flights information and showing that all passports and identities were checked for this flight.”

    You already passed judgement on me, and I could have been contacted quite easily via my channel page on youtube!

  7. Mick,

    Let me ask you this, since you’re commenting in this forum … since I did not pass judgment … where can we see the complete video? The video from check in, through the CATSA screening for weapons/explosives, up through entry into the gate area?

    Your video pans away from important sections of your commentary as well. These are important pieces of information.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  8. “The running commentary along with the chopping footage can indicate the videographer had an agenda in shooting this footage, as it specifically is leaving out details that could have been shot in order to portrait a particular personal belief or political leaning.”

    That is judgement.

    I started to video as soon as it seemed clear that the first woman was going to walk straight through, I was hardly going to hold the camera up to my face and have it confiscated, so it’s badly aimed.
    We expected the women to be taken to one side, so were shocked when they sailed right on down the corridor!
    I lowered the camera to look see if I had pressed record, I pressed the button off then on and raised it straight backup,missing about 1.5 of realtime.
    I was returning from a regular vacation, I have no political affiliations, I did not monetize the video, and I complained straight away (no point doing that if they HAD been ID’d).
    I was not ‘making’ a video, I grabbed an event.
    There are loads of videos on my youtube channel, not one of them is either about, or even mentions muslims!
    Motive?
    I was in NY 911, I am more aware of security.
    Bottom line?
    EVERYONE else presented their own passport and boarding card AS requested in the pre-boarding announcement.
    EXCEPT the MUSLIM family. They were a Muslim family, and they were all together in the lounge as a group, not separate.

    Two questions for you:

    WHY would make it up?

    Why would you try to discredit me, without even trying to leave a message on my youtube channel to check your information?

  9. Mick

    For starters, like you I was in New York City on 9/11/01 working as a photojournalist. Having been 1.5 blocks from a very tall building collapsing as I ran for dear life with my gear … followed by significantly documenting homeland security and in particular aviation security as a photojournalist both in the U.S. and overseas … I am very aware of security.

    In fact you are allowed to create video post-security in the airport, just not of direct security. I shoot in airports constantly.

    Let me ask you this … why did you assume the girl in front would not be verified? Do you know if Air Canada checks passports against boarding passes for security or for revenue management?

    Does the woman’s identity matter given that her name was not pulled for secondary or no fly list actions prior to arriving at the gate? Were you worried she was not properly checked for weapons or explosives?

    Having spent a considerable amount of time working with airlines, airports, aviation security as a journalist my goal is not to discredit but to point out vital information you may not be aware of is missing.

    Happy Flying!

  10. We were a little further away from Ground Zero than you (in Yonkers), but we should have been the South tower that morning, so we realise how fortunate we were.

    “why did you assume the girl in front would not be verified? ”

    I assumed they would be verified!

    The request on the tannoy was one we have heard many times before international flights, ie “have your passport open at the photo page”, and I have been informed that Air Canada is required to make a visual comparison with the government issued photo ID and the passengers face.

    “Does the woman’s identity matter given that her name was not pulled for secondary or no fly list actions prior to arriving at the gate?”

    After passing through the scanner there is a period of at least two hours where a person wearing a niquab could exchange clothes in the bathroom with someone else who was also in the departure lounge.
    That person could then board an aircraft they were not booked to fly on.

    “Were you worried she was not properly checked for weapons or explosives?”

    No, I was worried that the identity check was not done on the people,as it appeared to have been done on EVERYONE else.
    More a question of discriminatory treatment than a worry about explosives (assuming that everyone had been scanned for those items).
    There was no separate area for checking ID at the gate.
    Everyone stepped forward, presented their OWN photo ID and was looked at by the staff.

    As a photojournalist, what would you have made of the situation?

  11. “Should a passenger arrive in a foreign country without the proper visa due to a boarding pass swap in the ‘sterile area’ of an airport they’ll be detained or deported … because Immigrations, much like airport security, verifies the identity of travelers against their passport before letting them pass through to the other side.”

    In reply to the point you made above:

    Successful terrorists do not arrive at their destinations to be refused entry by immigration.

  12. People who say that CATSA doesn’t check ID will have to explain why they call me by my name after looking at my passport and scanning my boarding card?
    Because I’m pretty sure I did not know the agents who did so in Vancouver and Calgary last time I flew from those places and that’s exactly what they did prior to my “randomly” being selected for further searches.

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