Life at MAN – Charlotte Hudson (Security Team Manager)
Charlotte Hudson, a Security Team Manager at Manchester Airport, talks us through the roles and responsibilities of the airport's security team, and shares a few tips on how you can get through the process quickly and smoothly…
How long have you been at the airport now and what took you down the path of becoming an Security Team Manager?
I became a Security Team Manager (STM) last year and prior to that I was an Aviation Security Officer (ASO). I started at Manchester Airport in 2017 as a Security Ambassador and have worked my way up to this point.
What does the role of an STM involve? How is it different to the ASO role you did previously?
It’s a little different! The Aviation Security Officer role is very hands on – you are x-raying bags, searching bags, searching the passengers, and your job is to make sure that everything that goes from ‘landside’, as we call it, to ‘airside’ and the aircraft is safe.
The Security Team Manager is responsible for making sure that everything that the Aviation Security Officer is doing is compliant with the rules set out for us, and we're also responsible for equipment checks, making sure that everything's working properly, and making sure that if any problems arise, we are there to help sort them out.
What skills does an STM need to do the job well?
You definitely have to be patient! A lot of people need you all at once for a lot of different things, so you've got to be able to juggle all these different tasks. And obviously with it being quite a stressful environment sometimes, for a passenger, you've got to be the face of calm and ensure that you’re proactive, foreseeing things happening before they do.
What is your favourite part of the role?
I love Compliance - I try and make it fun, we’ve got a bit of banter going on within the team. So, for example, we do testing and I love putting on my best acting skills as I walk through the metal detector and ask whether I set it off at random!
Of course, Compliance is a very important part of the job because the rules are set out for us to follow and we have to abide by those rules to operate legally and safely. It is essential that we get everything spot-on, to make sure that passengers and staff are safe.
Any new funny anecdotes of unusual things / interesting things you’ve seen or done in your time at the airport?
I think the one that stands out to me was when I was a Security Officer, helping passengers put their items in trays to go through the x-ray, and I was asking passengers to take their large electrical items out of their bags. I listed things off – fridge freezers, microwaves, TVs – as a laugh, and then a passenger said, ‘oh, hang on a second,’ and pulled a TV out of their bag. I was actually lost for words!
What’s the most common mistake people make when going through airport security?
The key thing I'd probably suggest is to make sure that anything that is spreadable, spreadable, or pourable is in your plastic bag, and make sure you've only got one per person. That includes make up, insulin, EpiPens, asthma inhalers – basically anything that you can spray, spread, or pour at room temperature. Make sure you've got no frozen liquids as well.
What is the one piece of advice you would give people when travelling through the airport to have the most enjoyable experience?
Come in with a smile because we will always smile back. Just come prepared. Make sure you know what you are doing prior to arriving, and make sure that if you have any questions, that you ask a member of staff when you get to the airport.