Grand Cayman – favourite holiday spot for Al Queda?

Well of course not!

12-07-2013 06-14-24

However, this 22 miles long, 8 mile wide island in the Carribean has some of the most fierce security I have ever encountered. And I’ve been to Las Vegas!

The airport itself is painfully small, 6 Duty Free shops and a cafe with a seating area barely adequate for the passengers of the two 737’s leaving early morning. I arrived fairly close to departure time – 80 minutes to be exact.

This was barely enough!

American Airlines, whose morning flight to Miami I was destined to take, still operates the old SSSS security check system. Usually this didn’t get attached to Premium Passengers who were know by their Frequent Flyer numbers to the airline. So I was surprised when my pre-paid, Business Class ticket, purchased weeks in advance on a credit card at got me flagged for ‘enhanced security’, as the check-in agent called it.

Enhanced my a***. Slow for sure!

The process of being flagged SSSS means that you have to go to a special lane in Security – well it’s not really a special lane, it’s the same one everyone is using but they push you in at the front of the line. All your belonging are then put in special red boxes – when they can find enough to accommodate all the SSSS’ed passengers. Then you go through security – people try to take your boarding pass and passport and all the time I am trying to keep an eye on my stuff.

After 10 minutes the harassed agent finally gets to me – takes everything apart, all the clothes out, all the pockets checked – swabs everything, including my hands and then declares me Ok to travel – 30 minutes that little fiasco took. 5 minutes to re-pack, as they certainly don’ care about that little problem. All the time other people were queuing to get their stuff – one elderly woman in tears as she expected to miss her flight. As the lane is not ‘enhanced security’ only, other non-SSSS passengers were coming through mixing everything up totally.

As I got through the (thankfully) short Immigration queue they were calling my flight.

No jet bridges here so you walk to the plane – unless you are selected for a further ‘random’ security search. The whole thing is done again, including looking for shoe bombs! All within 20 yards of where the fiasco had already been undertaken. 10 more minutes wasted!

This is a link to the Cayman Islands Airport Authority description of their screening service.

So, where will I NOT be going ever again – Grand Cayman, can you say it – holiday spot for terrorists …. or is it jobs for the boys?


  1. Thanks for the insight. We were thinking about a visit there but will cross it off the list for sure now! Security theater does not lend to unwinding and chillin’ out.

  2. Sorry to hear about your plight. Although I agree that security is slow and the waiting area is hopelessly cramped, we went through as normal – though i did have to go and confirm bag for a secondary check before flying. Those who travel to GCM know that you need 120 mins for sure especially when several flights leave in the afternoon. They really need a precheck.

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