Following the advice I got from the user Semaphore I would like to split my original airport security question into separate parts and go into a bit more detail in regards to what I would like to know about these pictures.

Here is a press article picture, that seems to have been taken at Zurich Kloten airport, with passengers seen queuing for some booths, where they will be "inquired on weapons". What does that mean? What is actually happening inside those things? Why is it separate for ladies and gentlemen? That just looks extremely weird...

Was there some kind of security procedure, exclusive to Swissair flights, or to the Swiss airports? The description mentions a heavy price for security on Swissair flights...

If such a thing existed, when did they drop that, in favor of the normal screening? I saw a picture of a Swiss airport checkpoint, dated 1982, and at the time it appeared normal, same as elsewhere. But why was it originally so different from other airports and what was the procedure like? What was the heavy price there?

It seems that Swiss airports started deploying police officers to meet passengers at the airstairs immediately prior to them boarding their flights, and look for the clues, such as suspicious behavior circa 1969. Then soon after the Dowson Field, where one of the planes was a Swissair flight, they went on to screen everyone. But I could not find any more information on what that screening would look like in practice.

If anyone knows what this thing is all about, and how it used to work back then, I would absolutely love to hear that. So any explanations strongly appreciated! Thank You!

  • As one thing that is expressly forbidden when going through security is the taking of photos / videos, then actual material may be sparse except for official press releases...
    – Solar Mike
    May 26, 2018 at 7:18
  • While I know nothing of the specific arrangements at Zurich Kloten, one might suspect the separation by gender implies some sort of body search.
    – Semaphore
    May 26, 2018 at 8:12
  • Quick search suggests that first metal detectors in airports appeared in 1972 in US. So before that one the only way to look for weapons would be manual body search.
    – OON
    May 26, 2018 at 15:18
  • @SolarMike Was it like that back then? Even today it is certainly not prohibited everywhere, even though it is in many places. But on the other hand, there is, indeed, a very small amount of information about this available out there, after all, that is why I am asking the question. :)
    – Kit Smith
    May 26, 2018 at 19:53
  • @Semaphore That does come to mind when looking at this picture, and it is precisely why this is strange. Flying was still strongly associated with luxury back then, so it is not like going into a jail, or something. Physically searching everyone, without at least flagging certain people as suspicious by some more "socially acceptable" means first, is like instantly jumping from zero security to the kind of embarrassment and inconvenience we have today. I wonder how any airline could get away with that, without loosing the majority of their customers, especially if others did not require it?
    – Kit Smith
    May 26, 2018 at 20:05


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