Thursday, October 28, 2010

One thing I noticed...

...about flying is that I can never be a professional traveler.

In these days when checking luggage costs money and the process for getting on the plane is something between an Estonian Square Dance and the delousing procedure at a Nazi summer camp, your pro travelers seem to fly light. Maybe a quarter of the passengers on my flight actually checked any luggage at all.

However, nearly everything I carry with me as a matter of course, from multitools to pocket knives to pistols, is verboten in today's unfriendly skies, so I am doomed to be in the minority that still stands at the baggage carousel playing luggage roulette, and hoping that their suitcase didn't wind up in Kamchatka by way of Cleveland.

25 comments:

Jon said...

I felt the same way when I went to Europe this fall. One of my first purchases, as soon as I found a hardware store, was a cheap pocket knife to carry.
I've often thought that there might be a market for something like a knife exchange club, operating out of major airports, where you could drop off your knife on the way in, getting a "coat check" ticket, and picking up a loaner knife at your destination, of a similar model. A person getting this club started could probably stock up all the kinds of knives required by attending a surplus/confiscated property auction of the TSA.

Rick C said...

There's always general aviation.

WV: subve, short for subversive.

John Stephens said...

How about something like UPS, only specializing in baggage? No passengers, so no security BS. And you could ship it ahead of time, so it's be waiting for you when you got there.

Fred said...

I will never forget getting on the chartered flight to go to Afghanistan. We all had to make sure any and all knives were in out duffel bags and stored in the belly of the plane, but since our rifles were sensative items, we had to keep them on our persons.

So I had to check my pointy things, but I have to keep this machine gun with me in the passenger compartment...?

tickmeister said...

I used to fly a fair amount, but no more. I will drive or stay home rather than submit to the airport crap. If anybody wants to see me (few do), they can come to my place.

Crotalus said...

Fred, your situation reminds me of the lunatic reasoning plane fuelers had to deal with recently. TSA made them take their 5 gallon water jugs out of their trucks. It can be hot on those tarmacs, and they need to keep hydrated, but they had to drive to the terminal to get a drink, which really cut int their time. TSA did not see it as foolishness, until one actually had to explain that they already drove 8,000 gallon bombs in the form of their fuel trucks, so why would they need to smuggle explosives in their coolers? TSA finally showed some sense, and gave them their cooer back.

Anonymous said...

tickmeister:

+1. If it's too far to drive, it's too far to go.

Let the airlines go broke. Then TSA can try to find work for their people who can't be trained to say "would you like to super size your order?"

cap'n chumbucket

Boat Guy said...

Fred's tale reminds me of the times that my M16 was put through the scanner at the airport in Pristina. At my "WTF?" look the guy running the screening said "We are making this like a real airport" If only...
Walking through a scanner with a holstered pistol only added to the surreal experience.
After I drove a significant distance for work a colleague remarked "We figured you drove so you could take your guns." I replied; "Got news for you, I take them when I fly too."
See you at the baggage carousel Tam.

Just P said...

John, they already have that service, it actually is UPS. Not a bad way go, you can track your package to make sure it arrives before you leave. Not sure how the cost matches up if you include your heater, I believe firearms must be shipped next day.

Steve Skubinna said...

I hate flying, hate the abusive crap we have to take from the airlines and the TSA, but in my job I have to do it. About twice a year, and since I'm going for four to six months I can't just take a carry on bag.

Once I retire, that's it. No more flying. They've done everything they can to take any enjoyment out of the process. At least Amtrak is abandoning their "no guns" policy this December, so if I really need to go farther than I feel like driving I can check firearms and take the train.

Anonymous said...

Pain aside, when flying, Euclid see forever.

Joe in PNG said...

Sadly, driving from here to the USA is right out. And even flying home/ here involves about 24 hours of flight time (plus another 18 or more hours stuck in various airports).
One of these years I'll have to look into taking a cruise ship. It's a longer trip, but the food is better.

Ruth said...

last time I flew I wore my Jim Butcher sweatshirt. At one point it said "Bookstore Commando" accross the front, but its been worn and washed so much (which makes it very comfy to fly in) that you can barely make out the word "commando" and nothing else. Hadn't thought twice about it, after all it was my comfy sweatshirt.....till the security screener had a minor freak out over it. Thankfully the back was still readable so they were willing to take my word for what it originially said!

I hate flying, I'm not claustrophobic, but something about being crammed in a tin can with a 100 strangers gets to me...never mind the whole process to get ON the plane!

treefroggy said...

"and hoping that their suitcase didn't wind up in Kamchatka by way of Cleveland. "

Or worse; New Jersey, where simply attempting to claim you baggage with the firearm in it is a Class C felony unless you have a NJ license.

Kristopher said...

Shipping guns ahead ( via a parcel carrier ) post restante is an old re-enactor standby.

You can track your package and tell when it is there waiting for you.

Crustyrusty said...

Last time I flew was on the .gov dime coming back from Hot 'n' Dusty in 2002.

Never again.

Laughingdog said...

Flying is miserable enough that I stick to going by car or motorcycle unless it's more than 1000 miles away. Even then, I still take the motorcycle if the trip is long enough to justify it.

Cybrludite said...

Due to a delay leaving here on a trip to Madison, WI, my friend's gate checked power-chair didn't make the connecting flight in Detroit. Cue major freak-out on her part. Luckily, they were able to get it on the next available flight, and it arrived only slightly dinged later that evening. The last time we went up that way (2001), the orangutans in baggage handling managed to physically squash her wheelchair.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Those would be a couple of very excited Russian baggage inspectors, you know. At least until everything was sorted out.

"Comrade, I've never seen such a nice weapon before!"
"Yes Dmitri, I know... but we must send it back, we don't want to be on the wrong end of whomever owns such a weapon"

Comrade Misfit said...

Airline flying has gone from being moderately enjoyable to something to be endured on the level of root canals and colonoscopies.

I have two brothers on the wrong coast from me. They asked me once when I was going to come out to see them. I told them to install Skype.

David said...

I used to travel a lot for work.

I rode American Airline flight 11 from Boston to LA so often that two of the more regular gate attendants greeted me on a first name basis when I checked in. (I was at home on 911 with my family, but was booked on that flight for a trip home the next week.)

Flying was just part of the job. I would sleep on the planes.

The last time I flew was the weekend of the shoe bomber fiasco. That was the weekend that I decided that we really don't have airport security in this country - we have an elaborate system of annoying paying customers.

Until the TSA and the airlines start taking air travel security seriously and stop focusing on weapons and start focusing on screening for terrorists me and mine will drive, walk or simply not travel.

I have changed jobs, and we plan our family trips so that everything can be done by car.

The airlines can go broke or go to hell I really don't care they have lost me as a customer.

Zendo Deb said...

It's my theory that they should charge for carry-on luggage, not checked bags, because the carry-on stuff is what clogs the security checkpoints.

But yeah, it is insane.

And since everywhere I go I need to rent a car anyway, unless I am going for just a weekend, why fly? (Being retired at a much younger age than the government thinks I should be able to retire) means I have the time to slow down. I even bought camping gear, and have been known to stay an extra day if the weather and the campsite (usually state park or similar) is nice. What's the rush?

Of course you folks who think the government should be able to tell you when you are allowed to retire, might have a different set of criteria.

Still, participating in security theater isn't something I care to do.

Justthisguy said...

So, Tam, how did they deal with your own metal parts, you cyborg, you?

roland said...

I always check a bag...but when I fly, it's the Alaska run, so there's a 3" 629 and a couple of knives in the mix. If I can drive it in a day or so, flip flying, thanks. I'm in San Antonio today for my little brother's graduation from AIT (soldier medic)and i made the solo drive from the fla in 16 hours. I'd much prefer to drive anymore. Between the friggin tsa proctological exam, the two hour wait time to board, the hour at luggage claim, and the tiny ass seats you have to deal with when flying commercial, i'm just better off driving.

Tam said...

"So, Tam, how did they deal with your own metal parts, you cyborg, you?"

Apparently, you can smuggle a foot-long steel bar and a handful of screws onto a plane if you put enough bone and meat around them.