Joe Hendren

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Unusual hand luggage

What is the oddest thing you have taken onto a plane as hand luggage? Was your luggage inspected as a result?

Passing through airport security on my way home late on Tuesday night the man operating the x-ray machine suddenly looked very puzzled. He put my black laptop bag through the x-ray machine once again, and once again looked puzzled. I was puzzled too, as my laptop bag had virtually nothing in it apart from a book and a few printed pieces of A4 paper. He took me aside and we opened my bag, only to small stapler. I had forgotten all about it.

I had been preparing for a job interview the night before, and had printed out around 20 pages of preparation to take with me to re-read on the plane. At the last minute I grabbed my stapler and put it in my bag, as I thought it might be a useful way of putting these bits of paper in to some resemblance of order. As I only traveled up to Auckland for the day, I did not have any check in baggage.

Apparently my stapler, made of partly translucent plastic and metal looked very strange on the airport scanner.

I wondered what it looked like so I stuck the stapler on the scanner when I got home. It seems rather appropriate that my stapler is called a "Rapid X-Ray"!

The only other time my carry on baggage was inspected in any way was leaving Seoul airport on my way home to Christchurch. The Korean airport security took a very close look at the small alarm clock I had in my pocket, taking the battery out and shaking it to see if there was anything inside. I admit I was a little amused by this - I guess my little alarm clock was a timing device - by only for me, not a bomb. Like the stapler situation I felt I had a good reason for taking something a little bit odd on as hand luggage. I had just handed in my UK cellphone, and not owning a watch at that point, my little alarm clock was my only means of telling the time.

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