U.S. airline irks India by frisking ex-president

Former president APJ Abdul Kalam was exempt from body checks, officials said.
Indian authorities Tuesday filed a police complaint against Continental Airlines for frisking a former president of the country as he was to travel to New York in April.

Civil aviation officials in New Delhi accused Continental of gross violation of Indian security rules that prohibit pre-embarkation body checks on certain dignitaries like a former president. The police complaint followed a probe that had established that APJ Abdul Kalam was subject to frisking before he boarded a flight from New Delhi to New York on April 21, the Indian civil aviation ministry said in a statement. The ministry also alleged the airline did not respond to its show-cause notice in connection with Kalam’s body checks. In its police complaint, Indian civil aviation authorities accused the airline staff of “willful violation” of their directions on exemptions from pre-embarkation frisking. Continental, however, insisted it followed standard American air-safety procedures. “TSA (Transportation Security Administration) requirements impose a final security check in the aerobridge just before boarding the aircraft. “This procedure is followed by all carriers flying to the U.S. from most of the countries in the world and there is no exemption to this rule,” it said in a statement.