I just was in England last week and had the supreme pleasure of going through airport security multiple times, and here's my take on U.S. v U.K. airline security U.S. uses body scanners and makes you take shoes off U.K. uses regular metal detectors and does not make you take shoes off Neither security were particularly rude, but the UK people are exceedingly polite. They also seem to recognize that pregnant women (my wife in this case) should get some extra help in terms of skipping ahead in line, while the U.S. security doesn't seem to give a damn. The UK security always say 'please and thank you" while in the U.S. they just tell you what to do. UK security seems to be more interested in getting in your head if you're a bad guy. There were a couple of security stops that weren't expected. For instance, when they took our tickets at the gate going into the plane, they stop you and politely ask you a question - but its a different question for each person. They asked me if anyone had given me anything to carry onto the plane - they asked my wife a different quesiton - so you don't know what to expect. After that there's a final security guard who at random will direct people to another shake down. On balance the UK are more polite and less physically intrusive but seems they rely more on psycology - if there's a security check you didn't expect and you're a good guy, its no big deal because they are so danm polite about it - but if you're a bad guy it would rattle your nerves and you might start acting funny. I would also say that UK airport security is actually more "Southern" than U.S. security in the South in the way they treat women and the elderly.