Travelers departing from Palma airport will have to pass through the security check point on floor 4 of the main terminal building. What can passengers expect at Palma Airport security screening?
In virtually all cases travelers will have to queue for the security checks. A security official will check their boarding pass and scan it electronically. This official will then direct them as to where to pass through the security control.
Here passengers will place all hand luggage on the convey to pass through the x-ray machine. Also all loose and metal objects such as jackets, watches, electronic devices etc., must be placed in the trays provided to pass through the x-ray machine.
Flyers are then obligated to walk through the metal detector, an archway that looks much like a door frame. If the detector alarms go off when passing through passengers will be questioned.
They will be asked to remove any metal that caused the alarms to go off and walk through a second time. If the detector alarms go off again, passengers may then also be scanned with a hand held metal detector or body searched.
Virtually all metal detectors used at airports are a type of pulse induction system. These pulse about 100 times per second and create a momentary magnetic field.
When a metal body enters the metal detector this causes an opposite magnetic field. It works in a way similar to hearing echoes and the detector picks up these magnetic type echoes and the alarms go off.
Many people mistakenly think that when they pass though the metal detector they are passing through an x-ray machine. This is not the case as it is only a metal detector.
There are walk through x-ray machines at some airports, see below, but not at Palma airport. On the other hand hold and cabin luggage does pass through the x-ray scanning machines.
As passengers walk through the metal detector their hand luggage will pass through the x-ray machine. The x-rays penetrate nearly all objects.
The computer reads the x-ray signals and represents these on monitors as images in different colors depending on whether they are organic, inorganic or metal.
Airport security officers are trained to search for anything suspicious in the images. Organic material is always displayed in orange on computer screens to make it easy to see. Most improvised explosives are made out of organic material.
Many photographers worry that the hand luggage x-ray machines will damage their film. The hand luggage x-ray machines are lower in radiation and are not powerful enough to damage photographic film. However hold luggage has to pass through much stronger x-ray machines which can damage film. So it is always best to carry photographic film with you on a flight.
Full body scanners which are being used in a lot if international airports in Europe and especially in the US have not made their way to Palma airport yet.
The types of body scanners used in the UK do not create a high resolution image of the body like the scanners used in the USA. However they do use x-rays but at a very low power, although experts say is harmless. X-rays used medically use much higher radiation to penetrate soft tissues.