Outrage At London Heathrow: Security Staff Wear Pro-Palestine Badges Screening El Al Flight

Security staff at London Heathrow terminal 4’s fast track lane were all reportedly wearing Pro-Palestine badges while screening passengers before an El Al flight to Tel Aviv on Sunday. This violates their uniform rules.

Staff were wearing badges with the Palestinian flag and two were also wearing watermelon badges, which are viewed as symbols of solidarity with Palestine.

The security guards were reportedly replaced and had their badges confiscated following passenger complaints.

London Heathrow Security

Everyone on board an arriving El Al flight was ordered to go through extra customs checks on Monday, June 10th around 10:30 p.m. Every passenger going through the lane for ‘nothing to declare’ were taken to rooms and bags scanned.

We were walking through the exit when a customs official appeared and asked a man in front of me what he had on his suitcase. The man replied, an Israeli flag. Immediately, the customs official started shouting, ‘Everyone on the Israeli flight, go to the room on the left.’ One traveller said, “Why us? We are walking through with passengers coming off a flight from Doha.

According to the passenger, and official responded “I am a customs officer and I can do whatever I want.” The U.K. government says it’s because it was a night flight not because it was an inbound flight from Israel (carrying Jews).

Meanwhile in March, two Israeli survivors of the Nova Music Festival on October 7th were detained on arrival at Manchester airport in the U.K., being told officers “had to make sure that you are not going to do what you are doing in Gaza over there.”

JetBlue called the cops on a passenger who spoke up about a flight attendant who wore a Palestine flag pin on her uniform, and made sure it was visible even while wearing an apron during service and even while her Black Lives Matter pin was covered.

The ten-year elite passenger’s return trip was also cancelled after the crew reported that he made threatening comments, a notion that was disputed by several other passengers on the aircraft. JetBlue ultimately tightened its uniform policy. Delta, on the other hand, has been silent as far as I can tell on its employees wearing Palestine flag pins.

This isn’t an issue of free speech, and even necessarily corporate image. On a plane cabin crew exercises authority over passengers. They’re engaged in asymmetric speech – they are expressing themselves, while any counter-speech can be punished. It’s obviously far more serious of an issue with on-duty law enforcement.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It’s so funny when literally everyone on this board can own you with impunity GU. Without even trying.

    Maybe you should ask Mom if you can come up for dinner.

  2. @GUWonder Ireland, Spain, Norway and Slovenia are the four European countries this year which are said to have gotten on board in 2024 with officially recognizing Palestinian statehood.

    Yes, that all checks out. Norway, a Nazi state that invented Hitler’s racial theories but was never de-Nazified, Spain which was the original antisemitic genocidal state since 1492, and Ireland which taught every student in the country until the present generation that Jews have inherited guilt for the death of Jesus.

  3. Norway a Nazi state that was never denatizified?

    Mak had a whacked out sense of history and messed up his geography.

    Norway was invaded and occupied by the Nazis, and the Norwegian royal family forced to flee the Nazis. Once the Nazis were defeated, the Nazi’s local collaborator Quisling was not only ousted, he was executed by a Norwegian firing squad. And Norway was not the inventor of Hitler’s racist theories. Norway was still a relative backwater during the 1800s and even during the entirety of the first half of the 1900s. The Nazis weren’t looking to Norway as a leader in the racist eugenics nonsense of the time.

  4. The original antisemitic countries in Europe are actually those from well before 1492 — and those countries happen to now be the ones with the largest Jewish populations in Europe: France, the UK, Russia and Germany.

  5. “The original antisemitic countries in Europe are actually those from well before 1492 — and those countries happen to now be the ones with the largest Jewish populations in Europe: France, the UK, Russia and Germany.”

    Picking specific countries to make a straw man argument while leaving out Poland, Romania and Hungary, all of which had larger Jewish populations in 1942, with the exception of Russia. Looking up [Historical Jewish population] in Wikipedia will give the references to published material containing this information.

  6. Get with the game, jns — you’ve lost the plot.

    I was taking issue with Mak’s ludicrous idea of Spain being the “original antisemitic genocidal state” in Europe. It wasn’t. The English, French, Germans and Russians got on board barbaric ethnic cleansing of Jews much earlier than when the Christian Spanish nobles got on board their Islamophobic and antisemitic purges on the Iberian peninsula “since 1492” (per Mak on that “since 1492” language).

  7. @GUWonder, my dyslexia got the better of me. I read 1492 as 1942 many times. However, including people from countries that didn’t exist in 1492 was not helpful. The Franks were a Germanic tribe but they are not called Germans (instead Français). The Germanic states that made up the Holy Roman Empire were not Germany and the people were most likely not called Germans (or more correctly Deutsch) but rather a name designating which group or tribe or place they were from (such as the Hessian soldiers fighting in the Revolutionary War). The same goes for people from Kievan Rus’ (a later created name) and Moscovia. As for genocide, many places in Europe and beyond became highly antisemitic at times and some even expelled all of their Jewish residents. Spain during the Spanish Inquisition allowed some to stay as long as they converted (conversos). None of the genocides were at the level of Germany including it’s allied and occupied lands attached to it during World War II.

  8. The people of the HRE — which was not really holy, not really Roman and not really an empire — were more broadly called Franks. As far east as SE Asia, as far south as at least Madagscar, and as far west as at least Dakar, they were perceived as and called Franks or a version of Franks. But that was often a reference for Europeans — particularly the Europeans in favor of the European crusades against Muslims and Jews —- but even otherwise regardless of being of the Germanic Frank tribes or not.

    About the Spanish Inquisition, it was also about purging the Jewish and Muslim “converts” under Catholic dominions.

    Persecution and barbarity toward oppressed peoples in the age of airplanes is industrialized and on a scale and in a scope that was previously unprecedented in human history. And many see a version of that in the current century with the right-wing Israel regime’s actions toward the dehumanized “other” who are subject to an Israeli government misbehaving with impunity. That the Palestinians are also subject to Hamas is like salt on the wounds — but it wasn’t too long ago that Netanyahu was literally a material supporter of Hamas.

  9. Flew out of LHR terminal 3 on June 12. Woman checking boarding passes in the fast track lane had a big Gaza flag wristband visible. It was disturbing but I did not know who to say anything to

  10. Hmmmmmmm, you want to complain? Well, here it goes:


    Don’t you find it disturbing that people are disturbed by those who are expressing concern about the c. 1 million children in Gaza who are being subject to a barbaric siege by the rogue Netanyahu regime? Have some humanity by standing up for all of humanity — and that includes the children of Gaza under siege and the October 7th hostages whose lives are on the edge as a result of Netanyahu’s continuing self-serving opposition to a deal to a permanent end the siege on Gaza that would be married with the release of all remaining living hostages from October 7th. That rogue Netanyahu really wants to remain in office to avoid Israeli prosecution, and he prefers to see a “Greater Israel” with far fewer Palestinians than there currently are.

  11. What’s more disturbing: a pin, or torture & an actual genocide of a people occurring before our eyes?

  12. After many years of doing a very large number of long-haul flights arriving into LHR during the daytime hours, about 10-18 years ago I added enough nighttime long-haul arrivals into LHR to notice a difference with regard to customs checks. The difference was that when I flew in during the 9pm-midnight hours, customs at LHR sometimes used to go extra heavy on bag checks for arriving passengers flying in from beyond Europe and the odds of getting bags sent for a scan or manual search by customs at LHR was much higher than it was for my other flights. That was a function of passenger volumes and routes but also of how the British government would staff and place staff for customs checks. And it wasn’t just the El Al flight hit by such searches in the evening.

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