I went to Tenerife and an airport check took me by surprise

The Tenerife Sur airport
-Credit: (Image: BirminghamLive)


A Tenerife holidaymaker said an extra security step once she landed came as a surprise.

Emily Chaplin visited the Canary Island looking forward to some sun and sangria but before she could hit the beach she had to get through the airport. Emily, reporting for Birmingham Live, said she had not expected an extra step she encountered as she made her way through Tenerife Sur passport control.

She said: "As we neared the front of the queue, I realised that another checkpoint stood between us and the stern-faced uniformed officer stamping passports from behind a desk. Another airport employee was calling passengers forwards to one of four self-service kiosks and was repeating the same instructions over and over - place your passports into the designated port, look into the camera and place a finger on the fingerprint scanner."

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Emily added: "Fingerprints? I knew the EU's new Entry/Exit System would soon introduce biometric scans for people flying to countries in the Schengen Area like Spain and Greece, but that isn't scheduled to launch until the autumn. Then I spotted the logo printed on the side of each kiosk - policia. They were police scanners, presumably checking passengers' details against Spain's criminal databases.

"It wasn't an issue, of course - we were tourists on a girls' holiday, not fugitives on the run - but it was unexpected. I wasn't sure why exactly, but it felt weird knowing my fingerprints would be kept on a system somewhere and I wondered how and where my data would be used.

"According to one recent study by the Co-op, one in five UK adults quizzed admitted they would be 'put off' travelling to Europe under the new Entry/Exit System, while just under half of those said they didn't like the idea of their fingerprints and facial scan being captured. It certainly isn't enough to put me off going on holiday, but I could see why people found the idea uncomfortable.

"The scan took a few seconds and then we breezed through passport control with little more than an 'hola' - no mention of return tickets, insurance, booking confirmations or spending money. We were in our hotel, munching on paella and sipping fruity wine within the hour."

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