An Australian journalist is denouncing security screening at Sydney Airport, saying being forced to remove her business jacket left her feeling “humiliated” at the gate.
Louise Milligan, an Australian Broadcasting Corporation investigative reporter, took aim at the airport’s new “full-body” security screening measures on social media Thursday, claiming she was told to take off her jacket despite having only a “little camisole” beneath it.
“Have never had this happen anywhere,” Milligan tweeted to her 129,000-plus followers. “Man in front, in big bulky jumper, not made to change. It was embarrassing, uncomfortable, creepy.”
Milligan said she alerted “incensed” Qantas Airways staffers who told her they had received multiple complaints of similar “security heavy-handedness” earlier in the week.
“They said a woman was crying after being forced to remove her T-shirt,” Milligan tweeted. “They’ve complained to airport managers.”
Other fliers said they’ve encountered similar situations, including a woman who claimed she was ordered to remove a pocketless cotton shirt while wearing only a camisole and bra.
Milligan said she was asked to remove her business jacket since the “new full-body scanner” was unable to screen her properly.
“But it could scan the old guy in the bulky, loose jumper in front of me?” she tweeted. “Complete nonsense. I said that and they just ignored me. It was gross.”
The “private” security staff was all male, Milligan said, adding that even asked when the man in front of her wasn’t ordered to remove his oversized coat.
“I did and they stared ahead like drones,” she tweeted. “Apparently it’s only fitted blazers over small camisoles that make the machines go crazy.”
Sydney Airport officials, meanwhile, later apologized to Milligan while saying they would investigate her claims.
“Louis, we are really sorry this happened and are urgently following it up with our security contractor,” airport officials tweeted Thursday. “Thank you for bringing it to our attention.”
Milligan thanked the airport for replying while saying she planned to follow-up on the incident.
“They were rude and, frankly, sexist,” she tweeted. “I felt humiliated.”
Some on Twitter accused Milligan of “grandstanding” and that she could’ve requested a private screening area, while others cited the airport’s passenger screening protocols that requires fliers to remove “bulky” coats and clothing.
“Security [seems] to be giving a pass to men with bulky jackets, yet a fitted jacket for women an issue,” one reply read.
Milligan, meanwhile, shot back that she asked to remove her business jacket because it was “too loose” – further complicating matters.
“It’s not loose,” she tweeted. “It’s fitted. I pointed out the loose, bulky jumper and they had nothing.”
Others claimed outsourced security staffers at airports were to blame.
“You forego in-house control of higher standards,” one critic noted. “This is a violation of aviation security standards. Next time I fly I’m going to wear an adult diaper with a furry tail and a steel bra.”