The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Carry-on Carry On

by Melissa Bell

Hi everyone. Posting a little late again today – I’ve been doing a bit of online research this morning for a trip I’m planning for the end of May. Specifically just trying to find out what I can and cannot take onboard with me when I fly. I haven’t been on a plane since the liquid explosive incident in the U.K. last fall, and so I’m unfamiliar with the “new rules”.

It’s going to be a challenge paring down my usual cache of grooming products, which have always pushed the limits of allowable carry-on items. The list of what I have always considered necessary to have with me at all times is an extensive one, my friends, and I won’t bore you with it here. You’d think that years of backpacking in our BCW (Beloved Canadian Wilderness) while carrying a canoe on my head would teach me to travel light. Not so. It just makes me love all my toiletries and make-up and heated hair appliances all the more. Just the oral hygiene items alone must weigh about five pounds (pre-brush whitening Listerine, my Sonicare toothbrush, a proxy brush, dental floss, and a bottle of regular minty Listerine for a final rinse – ALL must be used at least once a day, or I’m an anxious mess; and yes, I do have “issues”).

What I was most curious about, however, since what is permitted onboard has changed significantly since 9/11, was could I take my knitting needles onto the plane with me. My friends had told me “No way!” Well, those friends are wrong. indicates that knitting needles and crochet hooks are permitted. Which is a relief. And yet, also a bit of shock. Not that one reads very often about flight crews being overpowered by knitting-needle-wielding terrorists, but if the Rules say I can’t take my digital meat thermometer in my carry-on luggage, then I figured my No. 7 metal needles would be a big no-no as well.

The list of items permitted and not-permitted is an extensive one. And not without its absurdities. I can take a corkscrew onboard with me (a surprise after having seen how effective it can be used to impair people like James Gandolfini in “True Romance”), and my whip is a-okay as well (in case I might need to take down a hijacker Indiana Jones-style); but my gun-shaped belt buckle and my bowling ball must be checked.

I once took a tour of Canada’s Penitentiary Museum in Kingston, and let me tell you, extended periods of time in a confined space can unleash MacGyver-esque tendencies that enable folk to make a weapon out of pretty much anything that’s handy. Of course it’s obvious why a lot of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Non-Permitted Items are on the list (no catapults, no blowguns), but items such as a fountain pen seem to be fine.

And you’d always thought the pen is mightier than the sword? Not according to the airlines. That shiny new Wilkinson your kids bought you for Christmas is going to have to go in cargo.


Blogger Tricia Dower said...

A fun read. And, yeah, air travel is a challenge. On my November trip to the States I was able to take make-up in a carry-on as long as it was in a plastic see-through bag. There are size limitations for liquids, however, so one needs to do one's research. Makes going by car appealing again.

Fri Jan 19, 01:42:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Anne C. said...

I'm going to have to ask you to pull this post and submit it to your local paper. No blog for you.

Fri Jan 19, 03:35:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Patricia said...

hey you!!! tell me about it!! you even have to take off your shoes, which I think has been happening for a while now. We are on the passport track, having to rush to get them. When I was in the states in the fall, I followed all the procedures as to what to bring in my carry on etc. however, every time I went through the scanner, I beeped, every time, like, well, four times, after removing jewelery, my belt etc. again. Turned out it was a small bell in the pocket of my jeans, that luckily, I discovered before the cavity search, oh, and lighters, I had, count em, 6 or 7 lighters!!! which did cause a bit of an advise to you, don't travel avec moi!

have a great trip!! watch out for the straightening iron!

Fri Jan 19, 06:26:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger tamara said...

Oh, yes, amen. And you know, I am not sure this is true, it may be an urban myth, but I think the 'no lighter' ban was lifted after lighter companies got all hot under the collar. No, seriously. I heard this...

Sat Jan 20, 01:37:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

It's a crazy world we live in. They'll be hand-cuffing us to our seats soon.

Sat Jan 20, 03:25:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Serenity Now! said...

I've been on 12 flights in the past 5 months. The only thing I've had confiscated was my Mac lipstick. Damn expensive boo-boo that one.

Sat Jan 20, 10:52:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

So fun to read this Mel, thanks for the travel update, my last flight to the US was pre-liquid restrictions.

Wed Jan 24, 10:53:00 am GMT-5  

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