Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fun With Airport Security

I always have problems at the airport security checks. So this time I thought I’d be smart. No carrying stuff in my pockets. They always make you empty them out, which is a real pain for both me and the people waiting in line behind me. So I put all that pocket stuff in a belt pack that I could quickly take off, along with my hat, jacket, and belt, and put in a tray to pass through the security scanner while I walked through the metal detector, hopefully without setting it off.

But I didn’t quite succeed. First of all, when I changed pants to get on the plane, I just emptied all the stuff in my pockets into the belt pack without even thinking about what that stuff was. So when my belt pack went through the scanner, a security guy pulled it aside and asked me to take out the nail clippers I had in there. Opening the clippers, he found the nail file on it, declared it a dangerous weapon that could not be taken on the plane, and tossed it on a nearby pile of other contraband they’d already collected. I managed to get it back by snapping the nail file part off.

Good thing they didn’t spot the other dangerous weapon I’d brought along: a Leatherman pocket knife! I’d have lost that for sure! Thinking that I’d probably not be so lucky again in Paris, I took it out of the belt pack and stuffed it down in an inner pocket of my briefcase, along with some coins and my wristwatch. Believe it or not, I managed to get that knife through every security checkpoint throughout the entire trip to Canada and back!

When we were served meals on the plane, however, I had to laugh about all the fuss they made over my nail file. Have you seen the metal knives and forks they give you to eat with? Sure, they’re not the full-sized ones we use at home or in a restaurant, but compared to my nail file, they were serious hardware capable of doing some real damage in the right person’s hands!

And my other security check complication? My shoes. They have little metal eyelets where the laces run through, and these set off the metal detectors every single time. It got to the point where I figured that I might as well just take my shoes off just prior to the first checkpoint in Burkina, and walk around in my sock feet until I passed the last checkpoint in Canada. On the way back, I fixed that. I bought a pair of running shoes!

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