Monday, September 25, 2006

More on Allowable Airline Carry-Ons

Update January 5 2010
See Air Canada re flying to USA

(See also post on this page).

On August 1, I wrote about how varied and inconsistent were the latest round of allowable airline carry-ons, and the whole situation is still just as 'fluid'. (See
Allowable Carry-ons)

In early September, my mom was flying within Canada (ie on a domestic flight), from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Mississauga,Ontario, a fairly short, direct, non-stop flight. She'd gone by road from Toronto to Winnipeg (a whole 'nother story!) and had planned to fly home. This flight would be her first encounter with the new stepped-up security regulations vis a vis carry-on liquids, gels, etc.

So there she is at the security check-in in Winnipeg, with her lunch packed (they don't feed you on internal flights -- you can buy stuff but it's costly and gross!) and ready to travel.

Mr. Security Guard makes her empty her small back pack. Uh Oh! That orange has to go -- it's just full of liquid, a no-no. And then there's the matter of her water bottle. Thrifty senior that she is, she fills her bottle the night before, pops it in the freezer, and the next day, it's frozen solid. The idea is, the melting ice makes for nice cold drinking water.

Nope, can't trust ice, says Security Guard. Since her water bottle has an indented middle making it easier to grasp, and since the contents are solid ice at this point, there's a bit of a dilemma. She's not about to throw out her perfectly good water bottle for anyone. Mr. Security Guard's Supervisor (MSGS) is called, and he saves the day: MSGS takes her ice water bottle into a nearby washroom (restroom, toilet), turns on the hot water tap and runs it into the bottle for some minutes. After some long minutes, all the ice is melted, and the bottle is as squeaky clean and empty as the day she bought it.

She also had in that same back pack a plastic baggie full of cucumber salad swimming in vinaigrette, much like a bag of pickles in juice, left over from from last night's dinner. She was not about leave perfectly good food at the hotel when she knew she would need lunch on the flight. But even though the cucumber salad had three times the liquid that the orange did, security didn't bat an eye and she carried it with her all the way home.

The moral of this story is A) There is no rhyme nor reason for security yays and nays, B) Airline security staff know you can make exploding oranges and ice but not exploding pickles, or C) if my mom WAS a terrorist, and so inclined, she could have blown up an Air Canada flight!

How safe in the air are we, really? How many flights have been brought down from shampoo, oranges and nail clippers? None? Wow, I guess all this stepped up security really pays off!!!

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