'But You're A Woman'
Margaret Jackson revealed at a Beijing Conference this week that
she was briefly suspected of being a terrorist by a TSA screener
during a visit last year to the United States.
That isn't all that unusual -- everyone from senators to four-year-old children have
come under the watchful eye of airport security -- but the reason
she was suspected is something different, and disturbing to anyone
who believes we've come a long way since the days of "Leave It To
See, Jackson is a woman -- which, according to the wunderkind
who screened her baggage and found detailed plans of new aircraft,
makes it hard to believe she is also chairman of a major
"The guy said 'Why have you got all of this?'," Jackson told the
conference, speaking of the screener's discovery of seating
diagrams in her baggage. "And I said, 'I'm the chairman of an
airline, I'm the chairman of Qantas'. "And this black guy, who was
like eight foot tall, said, 'but you're a woman.'"
Jackson finally proved her identity to the guard... in part, by
writing a note to him on her Qantas letterhead stating "Dear Bill,
this is from the chairman of Qantas, who is a woman."
The Qantas chairman related the tale after a Chinese
journalist complained that airport security at Australian
airports was the most difficult around... after the US.
Jackson was in Beijing to promote Qantas' resumed service to the
Chinese city, after pulling out of the market in the late 1990s due
to low demand. That is no longer an issue, as tourism and business
links should more than fill the seats on the airline's three
flights per week between Sydney and Beijing.