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Airport codeword aims to stop X-ray machines blowing marriage proposals

X-ray machines and other security procedures at airports are a necessary nuisance for passengers who have to simply accept it as part of the modern-day travel experience.

But with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, airport security can present a whole new challenge for loved-up folks intending to pop the question when they reach their vacation spot, as a routine bag search could result in an awkward moment as the ring box is pulled out for all to see.

Every year, the machines and their operators blow the cover of at least a few of these people, culminating in a somewhat underwhelming marriage proposal (though definitely memorable!), with the couple surrounded by flustered passengers putting their belts back on instead of the planned idyllic setting of sun, sea, and sand.

In a bid to help keep the secret safe of anyone planning to propose to their partner, an airport in the U.K. has come up with an ingenious solution.

Here’s what you have to do

Officials at East Midlands Airport, about 100 miles north of London, are telling any would-be proposers to email them ahead of their arrival to let them know they’ll have a ring with them in their carry-on baggage. The airport will then send them a code-phrase that they’ll need to say to security personnel in case they’re singled out for a bag check. Once they hear it, security will take the passenger to a different lane to their partner so they won’t see the ring if it’s pulled out of the bag.

Matthew Quinney, East Midlands Airport’s head of security, said it would be “a big damper on someone’s meticulously planned romantic trip if their big surprise was revealed even before they’ve boarded the plane.” And so, with an uptick in proposals expected ahead of February 14, they decided to implement a system to prevent any awkward situations for occurring.

It’s certainly very thoughtful of the airport to consider such matters, and could save some red faces by the X-ray machine.

“With Valentine’s Day coming up, we wanted to reduce the chances of the marriage proposal being ruined at the airport because, frankly, as much as we like the airport, we don’t think it’s the most romantic place to get engaged,” Ioan Reed-Aspley, a spokesman for East Midlands Airport, told BBC Radio.

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