Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Airport inflexibility

I know that regulations in place are meant to enhance our safety, but some regulations are just so ridiculous I don't have much to say about them.

On my flight to Japan I had a plastic bag full of mince pies to bring over to Japan. I know you're only allowed one piece of hand-carry luggage when travelling from/to the UK, but I thought I'll just try my luck anyway (it was the Christmas season, after all). I almost had to leave it behind, but thankfully the security staff advised me of a workaround.

I don't know why they're so anal about the one piece of hand-carry luggage rule, since the volume/weight of stuff I had on me was definitely less than the maximum allowed, but since I got past in the end I decided to just forget about it.

On the journey back from Japan, I decided to put a tube of moisturiser in my hand-carry luggage since my skin was really drying up. Luckily, that tube was almost empty (I figured I'll risk it in case I unknowingly broke any rules, since I'd never brought liquids on board before and was unfamiliar with the regulations involved) so it wasn't that painful when I was asked to leave it behind. Apparently all liquids must be placed in a clear resealable bag. I knew that - I just didn't think it'll apply when I only had one item. Seriously, if there was an extra layer of plastic around that tube I could have brought it on board, but without that layer I couldn't? What sense is there in that? I would have tried arguing, but the security staff didn't seem to speak much English and I decided not to disrupt the Japanese social order over a near-empty tube of moisturiser.

I know it's my own fault for not properly following the regulations involved, but really - what's the point of all these regulations, and why enforce them when they make no difference in the end? Or am I simply missing the point, somewhere?

5 comments:

yellowlemonie said...

i never understood the 1 piece hand luggage regulation as well.. and it's only in the UK that I see it. Though I think if you just hang everything on your backpack (like with carabiners), it'll pass as one piece of handluggage.

They're apparently relaxing the rule in some airports now to allow for more pieces of hand luggage, though not all. It's quite stupid if you ask me.

Well, if you remember my post a long time back, I had to leave my liquid paper (LIQUID paper) behind in Bangkok when I was transiting to fly to london....

skye said...

the impression I got is that the only reason for the one-piece rule is to make things more efficient, which is why someone who brings more than 10kg but manages to fit all of them into bag can pass through the checks but not someone who brings a few small bags in... they probably thought that with everyone having to remove their coats and shoes and whatever on them, by limiting any extra hand-carry baggages to one would speed things up (though I suppose that's debatable)...

as for the liquids, I think you probably just got an inflexible (or highly paranoid) guy.... or maybe they are operating based on the assumption that all pple who do not declare their liquids are suspicious.. =P certainly easily for the security pple, but not for passengers.. =)

lost said...

i thought of efficiency for the one-luggage thing as well, but it seems to me that the limiting factor at the scanners really is the removal of coats/laptops/etc, having one or two bags for scanning doesn't seem to change the amount of time spent significantly.

and i'd (stupidly) handed the tube openly to the security personnel before being told i needed a plastic bag for it, so it wasn't a case of undeclared liquids... probably could have smuggled it past them in my jeans pocket actually. grr.

rok said...

The one luggage rule is being lifted recently following some 'hardware upgrade'... read from a chinese forum...

yellowlemonie said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7174527.stm

it's quite confusing if you ask me...