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!