Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Carrying On About Carry-Ons

~ Eight years after the events of September 11, 2001 and the attendant security measures that have been established around the world to guard against possible terrorist attacks (especially those attempting to use airliners), you might think that air travellers in particular would be more careful about the items they pack into their carry-on luggage.

But no, Stephanie Chen, a writer for CNN reported recently (From carry-on to eBay: The journey of airport security booty) that air travellers continue packing a vast array of prohibited goods that defy belief. Items ranging from a 20-inch machete and a set of kitchen knives to electric saws, baseball bats and two gallons of gasoline. One passenger even had a kitchen sink stowed in his carry-on bag!

At the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport - the busiest airport in the world – they collect around 1,000 pounds of items from passengers each month!

Everything from knives, corkscrews, meat cleavers, wrenches and shampoo are among common items surrendered by travellers. Then there was that kitchen sink, machetes and chain saws, brass knuckles and nunchuks; baseball bats, golf clubs, a samurai sword, and a set of 10-pound exercise weights. Seriously!

Between 2005 and 2006, the Transport Security Administration (TSA) confiscated 13 million prohibited items, which shouldn’t be surprising given that more than 2 million passengers are screened by TSA on any given day.

Needless to say, children’s toys are just as likely to end up in the rubbish bins if parents are not careful about what their kids are planning to pack for the flight from, for example, Disneyland. Fake pirate swords, and replica guns or other plastic toys that look like weapons are confiscated before flights, so parents should ensure that these are placed in luggage that is destined for the cargo hold – and not placed in carry-on bags – to avoid having to deal with upset children on the long flight home.

Transport Security Administration

Since we are talking about security, why not pay a visit to the Transport Security Administration website. Yes, I know it is US-centric, but America has some of the toughest laws governing what can and can't pass through customs, so it is a good place to start your research about this topic. Of course, you should also find out what your own national government's regulations are in relation to airport and border security.

Thanks to Rick Seaney for the heads-up on this story

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