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This is a question Airport Stories

Back when I was a moody teenager I took a cheap flight that involved changing planes and having to go through security again. My bags were pre-checked so, when I set off the metal detector, I honestly said to the security guy that I had no idea what had set it off.

Until, that is, he searched me and found the metal knife and fork stamped "KLM" I'd nicked off the previous flight.

Tell us your best airport stories.

(, Fri 3 Mar 2006, 10:09)
Pages: Latest, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, ... 1

This question is now closed.

Coldplay
So last year i finished my job as a shop monkey in a semi well known nationwide music store. In the store we had access to contacts from all the major music suppliers. On the off chance i tried & suceeded to get a pair of tickets to Coldplay in Toronto (i was off to visit my mate with my missus shortly after leaving the company). I was well chuffed cos the tickets sold out ages ago and were going for well over $500 a piece on eBay.

Everything was set for a top start to my holiday. However just as we arrived into Canadian airspace the captain made an announcement 'ladies & gentlemen we are sorry to announce we are being diverted to Montreal'. Needless to say I was rather narked off at this, but figured we could still make it assuming we only spent about 30mins on the ground. 2 hours (with the air con broken in the plane) later i knew i wasnt going to see Coldplay.

What could be taking so long i wondered to myself? I bet some bastard has crashed at Toronto, hope they all perished. Five minutes later the captain announced that an Air France plane had crashed in Toronto, i immediately felt guilty about my previous harsh thoughts, and to make it worse a bloke sitting next to me an the missus had his fiance flying into Toronto on that day by Air France (she was ok by the way).

As punishment for my evil thoughts our plane was finally diverted to an airport 2 hours outside of Toronto, where after a two hour wait going through customs, and a 2 hours journey to Toronto, we finally got to Toronto airport just after midnight. Fucking french pilots with their lack of flying skillz :-(

Sorry if this post was a tad long.
(, Tue 7 Mar 2006, 10:37, Reply)
edinbourough airport
my first flight ever was a internal uk flight, london gatwick to edinbourough. Since this was post 9-11 each airport had a perspex drop box were WMD's like nail clippers and razorbldes could be deposited.

At the london end the box was full of mundane items like swiss army knifes and gilette razors. At edinbourough the drop box was full of lock knives, snaley kinves etc and aslo contained an ice pick an hatchet a presumably replica luger and stuffed in so it was just poking out a fucking LONGBOW.

Whoever tried to take a longbow through handlugage at edinborough international airport i want to hear your story.
(, Tue 7 Mar 2006, 9:55, Reply)
FAO Harmless kitty
They won't stamp your passport within the EU if you are from another EU country.

However, if you specifically request a stamp, they are obliged to stamp it. So if you want a full passport, with a pretty collection of stamps, just ask :)
(, Tue 7 Mar 2006, 9:48, Reply)
Fun at the Airport
Years ago I was on a TWA flight from LA to JFK. I was on business, travelling first class, having a whale of a time. We came into the TWA building at JFK, an amazing piece of modernism that you'll have seen if you watched Catch Me if You Can. It was a relic of a more civilized era of flying, but by modern standards it was far too small to cope with the number of passengers. To create space, they'd banned luggage trolleys.

Anyway, I swaggered out of the Fast Track to collect my luggage. The first few cases popped out, followed by a pair of underpants. "Ha!" I thought. "Someone's bag's burst. Here come some socks, and a shirt and... hey, I've got some trousers like that. God, that loser has the same kecks as me. And the same shirt.... Ahhhhh, fuck." And sure enough, with an audience of about 250 people, the contents of my bag appeared on the carousel, eventually to be joined by the shredded remains of my fancy suit bag which looked like it had been through a combine harvester.

Earlier, you may have been wondering why I went into so much detail about the trolleys. This is why. I had nowhere to load my stuff, I didn't want to leave it going around the conveyor belt while I went for help (in case it got blown up in a controlled explosion - that happened to a friend of mine. Well, his bag anyway). And suddenly all the TWA staff seemed to be doing an impersonation of their boss by disappearing mysteriously.

So I ended up piling everything up as best I could in my arms (this was a 6 week trip) and staggering through customs, through the airport, standing in the taxi queue with people running up to me going "You've dropped a sock."

I was staying at the Royalton in New York, a hotel (in the mid 90s anyway) where the staff are cooler than the guests. So I stagger out of the taxi, and this male model type comes up an says 'Do you have any bags?'. I say, "Hold out your arms." and load him up with my skiddy grundies.

God, I had to tip him big. The next day I went out and bought the kind of luggage they usually only use to move spent Uranium fuel rods in. And now I always launder before I get on the plane.
(, Tue 7 Mar 2006, 9:29, Reply)
hope you'll excuse the comparitive tameness of this one, but
i've only taken two flights in my life - to france, and back from there. the passport man on the way back could not have been less interested in the validity of my passport; he gave it a cursory glance and tossed it back on the counter for me to pick up. and didn't stamp it. didn't smegging stamp it! the only potential proof in my sad little passport that i was ever anywhere else, denied. bah. what a complete bastard.
(, Tue 7 Mar 2006, 9:20, Reply)
Bluejacking
I was in Brussels at some crap meeting, and got back to the airport with several hours to kill. So I went upstairs to the food court and had a bite to eat. Still with quite a while left before my flight, I wandered along to the bar area where I could sit and watch the planes. I soon turned to Bluejacking......

Well, it so happens that one of the contacts picked up on my phone was a laptop computer named "Simon Barnes". I looked around and sure enough, several rows away was a balding gentleman tapping away on his laptop. So I typed in the message "Hey Simon, ya baldy git!" or something similar, and pressed send. Job done.

About a year later I was reading a copy of the Times, and opened the sports pages to find the face of none other than Simon Barnes staring out at me - turns out he's a well known Times columnist!

I wish I'd known at the time then I could have Bluejacked him with something more relevant. But he is a bit bald.
(, Tue 7 Mar 2006, 9:06, Reply)
airport /stories
So- In a mad rush to get to the Denver airport, absolutely frantic to catch a flight...I am in the line to have carry ons go through the scanner. Two others were with me going on the same flight. As they go through the scan right in front of me, I place my bag on the x-ray conveyor and take my shoes off to go through the metal detector, I suddenly remember an herb pipe in my bag! as it is passing through half way I grab the bag. Tell the checker I forgot something, look at my friends and say " I will meet you at the terminal". They are wondering what in the world is wrong, the entire group of people behind me in line wonder what is wrong. I turn around and leave immediately. Fortunately my lover who was watching from the glass levels above saw the whole crazy scene came running down to my level, I slip him the pipe, get back in line, catch the next train to the terminal and make it just as the flight is ready to leave! oh my gosh= I was reaching my hand into the x-ray machine to grab my bag as it was going through. yikes!
(, Tue 7 Mar 2006, 6:19, Reply)
I love airports, me!
I am terrified of flying, but before I fly I always get there either 2 hours or 4 hours (depending on if it's domestic or international) before I have to board. This way I can sit in the bar, have some drinks and calm down before I get on the plane.

Best experience ever was coming home from the UK. I got the train from Brighton to Gatwick, with a massive fuck off hangover (thanks 100% Kitten, Static Girl, Teaseress and Vulga!) and when I got off the train, a nice young airport official clocked my luggage and my walking cane and asked if I wanted assistance. Hell yeah! When we eventually got into the airport, the line at check-in was huge, so nice chap tells me to stay put and a minute later he comes back with a wheelchair. Straight through check-in and straight through security.
By this point, it's 09.30am and my plane leaves at 12:00pm. I have a little buzzer thing round my neck, so that when it buzzes I can go to the nearest desk and they put me on one of those carts to go down to the airplane.

Meanwhile, I'm getting drunk in the bar at Gatwick, and smoking like buggery as I have a 9 hour transatlantic flight to Atlanta ahead of me.

Flight was smooooooth, and we land in Atlanta. I'm met off the plane with an official airport chap with a wheelchair - "oooh, thinks I, cool!" He gets my luggage and takes me through immigration and customs. Then we go through security.....I keep beeping, so they literally carry me out of the wheelchair (despite my protests that I'm not that crippled and can hobble through). Turns out I have 4 lighters in my bag, and 2 in my pocket so they confiscated them all.

4 hours later, I'm finally on a plane to California to be re-united with my wonderful husband whom I hadn't seen for two months :)
(, Tue 7 Mar 2006, 5:19, Reply)
I don't have many
I'm still able to take my pen nibs onboard the plane. They're sharp fuckers too, and they'l definitely do more damage than a knitting needle.

I don't think I'd mind the Homeland Security Nazis if they weren't Incompetent Homeland Security Nazis. *le sigh* The cast of 'Police Academy' is in charge of airport security. God help my star spangled arse.

At least I can use my pen nibs to save the day! If someone tries to take the plane in the name of Allah, Jesus, or Jodie Foster, my crow quills will come to the rescue! Or that three inch knife that came free with my bag. I'm sure that's made it onboard by accident. (I keep forgetting it's there until I lose a pencil and my hand smacks into its tin. I swear, one day I'm going to be on an airplane and mid-flight, I'll realise the knife is still there. Jeezy Creezy. -.-)

*heccoough*NSAblowsmonkeys*coughcough*
(, Tue 7 Mar 2006, 3:05, Reply)
Not so much "airport" as "aeroplane"
So when I was about 11 or 12, my dad was on business in Denmark. This involved him getting a flight out every week, then coming home for the weekend, which was all paid for by his company. The great bit is, he got to keep the air miles, so he sent me and my brother out for a weekend. Since he was in Denmark already, we had to fly alone, so my mum took us to the airport, and a stewardess took us through the airport and put us on the plane. On our own. In business class. Business class is supposed to be for businesstypes who want to enjoy a quiet smooth flight. HA! Being the fine upstanding childs we were, we weren't about to let that happen! No! We had to be as loud as we could, to represent all childs across the land, and not let our fellow younglings' reputation be tarnished by being "good". The pinnacle of our excitement was probably about 10 minutes before we landed: I asked for a can of coke (which, even though it was tiny, was free, because that's what happens in business class, and I was like 11 and wouldn't have had money for it anyway). I proceeded to pull the ring pull, which inexplicably fell off. As I looked at the can, wondering exactly how I was to get into it, my brother grabbed it off of me and stabbed it with his fork. Try this at home and see what happens. Landing time was spent with both of us laughing our arses off, while I was trying to drink very fast coke through four small holes.
(, Tue 7 Mar 2006, 2:36, Reply)
Don't laugh, whatever you do.
In my travels, I have found it best to smile at customs officers. They have a bit of a crap job, dealing with people who are usually grumpy after spending 20 hours inside a cramped, noisy tin. (I live in Australia, so it almost always takes 20 hours in a tin to get anywhere)

Arriving home at Sydney from the US, I hand my passport to the customs officer.

"What's this?" he says.

This rings alarm bells - what have I just handed over? I look again - yep, my passport..

"My passport" I answer, smiling politely.

"Doesn't look like it" says officer. At this point he hasn't even opened it.

I should point out here that while at the Oshkosh airshow in Wisconsin, I happened to get caught in the middle of a large field in a thunderstorm - I got absolutely soaked to the skin, and my backpack leaked. Everything got wet, including my passport. It got carefully dried out under the hand-dryers of the youth hostel, and was none the worse for wear, though the cover and a few of the pages were a bit crinkly. It had obviously had a soaking, but amazingly no stamps were smudged or damaged. It had been through customs in USA, UK, France, Italy, Singapore, China, Japan and Thailand since then without a single comment. This officer, though, was special.

"What happened to it?" says officer, now looking surly.

"It got wet, in a rainstorm." I replied.

"How?" asked Officer Very Annoyed.

By this time I thought it must be a joke, this guy couldn't be serious.

"Well, I got wet, it got wet" I reply, smirking now.

"This is an important document! It's your duty to take care of it!" he blusters, waving my passport in the air.

At this point I lost my composure and started laughing - this guy is acting like the nasty inspector from 'On the Busses'

"This isn't funny!" he snaps back "This is Australian government property! It is an offence to wilfully damage a passport!"

At the word 'offence' two Federal cops appear from nowhere and begin taking an interest in this little drama.

"It is my duty to inform you that you can be charged under section blah blah blah blah..." his voice kept getting louder, by now people were moving well away from me, and I was starting to feel very nervous indeed.

The two cops now move to flank me, and the crowd moves even further away.

"If you'll come with us, sir." one of the cops says - when cops call you 'sir' you know you're in trouble...

I get led away through the crowd to a room where I fear I am to receive the dreaded cavity search.

As soon as we are inside though the cops both break into smiles

"Sorry" says one of them "I think he was just having a bad day." referring to the customs officer.

They go on to explain that they will have to search me, though, as the customs guy has reported me as 'suspicious'. They search my carry-on luggage, and breifly discuss whether they should confiscate the 2kg of French chocolate I happened to be carrying, but eventually let me go.

The lesson for today: Don't laugh in the presence of customs officials.
(, Tue 7 Mar 2006, 1:04, Reply)
Almost a Lost Boy...
I was four and my family and I were waiting to fly off to Portugal from Gatwick or somesuch. I went exploring in the departure lounge, as kids are wont to do. I was only a few feet tall, and apparently (my memory's a little hazy here) I wandered unnoticed past a check-in desk, what with my small height shielding me from the gaze of the nice lady behind it. The gangway led me onto a 747 bound for Miami, and the 'plane had taxied all the way to the foot of the runway before a stewardess asked the lady I happened to be obliviously sat next to sucking my thumb "Could you strap your son in, please?"

Gah! The game was up! I was reunited with my family and we even managed to catch our flght to fucking Portugal. What still amazes me to this day is that it took the actions of a bright stewardess rather than my (I would hope) loving family to raise the alarm. Fuckers.
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 23:48, Reply)
I took a sword and (unwittingly) a small amount of opium on a plane in my hand luggage once...
It was obviously in the days before security became what it is now - 1998 and I was on my way home from a holiday in China with a friend. We'd bought a strange drink called "Jim's No.1 Special" from a strange man in the Yunnan province (Dali to be precises). This drink was spectacular - one shot and you wouldn't be able to shut up for the rest of the night. We decided to bring a bottle home with us.

Deciding to just declare anything dodgy we had, I brought the bottle in on my hand luggage (as well as a sharp steel sword). Nothing was said until I reached customs back in Aus, where I pulled out the sword for them to look at.

The inspector pulled it out of it's sheath, cut his finger, then gave it back to me. They then opened the bottle, had a sniff and raised an eyebrow at me. I told them it was a herbal medicine. They gave it back, wished me good luck and sent me on my way.

It was only when I was sharing it with some of my friends that one of them pointed out that there was so much opium in there that you could taste it more than the alcohol.

Sorry there wasn't a funnier ending, but I took a fucking SWORD on a plane.
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 23:42, Reply)
Ecuador
Coming from a nice, moderately wealthy, middle class family, I've done my fair bit of travelling. The most memorable airport story is from when we went to Ecuador.

We spent something like five days in the Galapagos Islands, which are incredible. I have the CUTEST pictures of baby sea lions ever... and my camera at the time didn't have a zoom, so it was a question of sticking the thing in its face and praying its mummy or daddy wouldn't be pissed off.

The last night on the boat I felt that I had a bit of an upset tummy, so I retired early.

That night, I spent the whole night either on the toilet, or in front of it. I was straining and retching, but nothing was coming out either way. I was also incredibly hot - to the point that I'd stripped to my underwear, and covered myself in cold water, and was still boiling. I ended up waking up the ship's doctor at 2am, in incredible pain - she basically told me to fuck off and take painkillers, not realising that I had.... gastroenteritis!

Anyone who's had this will know it is incredibly painful, and the most comfortable position is curled up in the foetal position. The foetal position is not one that allows you to readily move about - for example, it doesn't let you get onto a dinghy to get to shore.

Somehow I got to shore, and curled up on the dock while we waited for a bus. I've tripped out on rather too many hallucinogenic mushrooms before, and that wasn't anything like as bad as the delirium I was in from the pain. I don't remember how we got to the airport... there may have been a taxi involved.

So, we're at the airport, and I'm lying on the floor, my head resting on my mum's handbag while she goes to get some water for me. I'm all alone, just lying there, painfully fucked, and not feeling very happy. And then... *a feeling*.

I started to throw up. Horrible, painful bursts of vomit landing all over the nice, clean airport floor. Galpagos officials are incredibly concerned about contamination and introduction of new species - one can imagine they won't be too happy about vomit.

I'm lying there, throwing up, curled up, in pain, not really understanding what's going on, completely alone. I don't mind admitting that I really wanted my mum at that point.

Before she showed up, the airport police/guards/army did. They had guns, they were big and burly, and they were definitely NOT what I needed at that point. My mum came back (yay!) as did our guide (yay!) who started to talk to the soldiers/police/guards. Fuck knows what they said.

The next thing I knew, I was being hoisted up off the floor and marched off to a small building at the back of the airport. I say marched - really I was carried. I had one man on either side of me, gripping my arms, and my feet did not touch the floor for the three minutes or so that it took to transfer me.

Once in this little building, which turned out to be the infirmary, things got even more interesting. I was laid down on a stretcher while the guide went to a pharmacy to buy a drip, some painkillers, some anti-nausea medication, and some saline solution. You can do that in pharmacies in Ecuador, apparantly. I managed to do a shit... the foulest smelling shit EVER, very liquid, requiring a lot of toilet paper.

After an eternity, the guide came back with a drip etc. I'm quite pale naturally, and was green by this time, so it took an age to find my vein and stick the drip in, leaving me looking like a pincushion. My veins were so small, in fact, that they couldn't get the anti-nausea medication in me through the veins in my arms... so, you guessed it, I was flipped over and had a needle rammed in my bumcheek. Lovely.

The story still hasn't ended. I was wheelchaired out to the plane where I managed a few minutes sleep as we flew to the mainland, and we spent the night in the capital of Ecuador, Quito. I was still in pain, I couldn't eat, and I was generally not in a good way... but by the morning, I was better.

At the airport, I couldn't stand the thought of flying back home - I just didn't think I'd be able to cope. But our guide, the legend, managed to convince the airline to give me a business class seat. Not just me, in fact, but me, my mum, my dad and my brother. This meant kicking some unlucky souls out of business class to accomodate us. By the time we were on the plane and being offered champagne, I felt pretty good, and a little guilty... but I didn't let that stop me enjoying the flight home.

So even though I was in horrible pain, throwing up, doing foul shits, completely delirious and generally fucked... I did get a very nice flight on the way back. Every cloud has a silver lining, I suppose.

Traditional Apologies.
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 23:42, Reply)
I'm going down...in a blaze of glory...
In March 2002 just before my 25th birthday I was passing through Ecuador on my way to the Galapagos Islands. It was soon after 9/11 and every airport in the world seemed to be on security overdrive and Quito airport was no exception, lots of Ecuadorian soldiers and many, many security stops.

As I got to the front of yet another queue to show my passport AGAIN, the security guard stood up, took out his handgun, removed the magazine, put them both down on the counter in front of me and walked off.

I stood there staring at the gun amazed. Being British I had/have never used a gun or even seen one up close, but I HAVE seen a lot of movies. The urge to pick it up was huge, you know...slap in the clip, pull the top back, just like in the films. The feeling was akin to being on a cliff edge and getting the urge to jump, or being in a public library and desperately wanting to shout "cunt!". Fuck me I wanted to grab that gun.

Obviously I didn’t. I didn’t want to be shot or spend the rest of my life being rammed in the wrong-un in a South American jail. Eventually another security guard turned up & re-holstered the gun and I went on my merry way.

To this day I wonder if it was a test, anyone who picks up the gun is a terrorist sort of thing. I still have slow motion fantasies about running towards the soldiers shouting “Noooooooooo”…. bangbangbang...ratatatatatata....”whyyyyyyyyyy….”

Incidentally, I just phoned my brother to ask his opinion as to whether I should post this chapter of my life. He thinks I should have picked up the gun & run after the guard shouting, "Mister, mister, you forgot your gun..."

I’ll do that next time Chris.
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 22:32, Reply)
Razor's story...
...reminds me of a recent morning at Gatwick.
I have to travel via Gatwick most times when I'm working early turn, so often bump into the local chav community coming from the overnight trains.

Three chavs come out of station, shouting and swearing, when one calls to the world "We're going to McDonalds!"

Comedy timing: three armed police appeared round the corner...

*pop*
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 20:33, Reply)
hehe....oops
Quite boring really.....

Going to Edinburgh via plane, and wandered leisurly (as you do) through the metal detector setting it off. Immediatly I knew what had set it off. The 9" swiss army knife in my jeans pocket. Ooops.
"You've lost that now mate" says the burly security guy. Cock, he could have at least mailed it back to my house :(
Still, bloody lucky to not be arrested, let alone let on the flight!


Hear that? Thats the sound of a B3ta cherry popping......
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 20:26, Reply)
I was a kid...
...back on the way home from a holiday in the States.
Seriously confused and jet lagged, the whole family were stuck in Heathrow waiting for a connecting flight.
Despite my best efforts, my bowels refused to accept the new time zone, and I trotted off to the loo.
Every single cubicle in the long line was occupied, so I waited my turn.
On finally entering a vacant stall, I decided that it would be a good idea to wipe the seat with a wad of bogroll.

Imagine my surprise as the seat detached neatly from the toilet and shot under the cubicle wall. There was an ensuing cry of pain and alarm from the next toilet...
I did my business and loitered as long as I could to make sure my injured neighbour had departed. Unfortunately we both walked out of our cubicles at the same time.

As luck would have it, I was wearing jeans and a big fuck-off cowboy belt (yes, and a hat - I was a kid!) so I looked back, put on my best American accent and exclaimed 'Goddam thang has an ejectur seat!'

My victim must have been british because he smiled politely and limped off.
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 19:30, Reply)
Security for proles
Security for proles
Back when I was working as a temp for airport security post 9-11 Gatwick airport was the most tedious place in the world to be at 4 in the morning.
However, you met some interesting people and I got to spend a bit of time with the rifle bearing lads of various police divisions.
Now airport duty is dull, dull, dull. So when something exciting happens everyone tends to be 'on form and up for it.'
Que me, politely asking people to check their bags for knives, scissors, various naughty objects that are now verboten in hand luggage.
I was checking the prole-express to some piss hole in spain - lots of ruddy checked wideboys already goggling the equally vile women in the queue.
"Allright lads - nothing that shouldn't be in your hand luggage then?" *I actually show them diagrams, just to get across the point*

"Yeah - my mate 'ere has got an uzi and I'm carrying a grenade - what can you about it?"

This particular brand of gorilla actually attempted to intimidate me. Now for those who don't know every inch of Gatwick is monitored - the only blindspots are the khazi cubicles.

I tell him to back down - even as I'm doing so I can see two black clad and armoured blokes moving to covering positions on the balcony - they're wielding the the semi-auto version for the MP5 for the gun connoisseurs amongst you.

I can smell stale booze on the gorilla who is mere inches away from me and glaring at me.

"I'll ask you again - you don't have anything on this list in your baggage?"

"I fucking told you already - uzi and grenades."

His mates have stopped laughing as two more armed men circle out behind him and signal for me to move away.

I break into a smile and give them the space to 'politely ask him to lie down, not move an place hands out flat'.

I think he may have actually shit himself.
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 17:39, Reply)
Lion Collar
Some years back, a group of us went out to Turkey in the summer holidays for usual fortnight of drinking and debauchery. Whilst trawling round the markets in Bodrum, amongt all of the stalls selling fake designer gear, piss in a bottle marketed as aftershave, and 'sex tea', were some ragged looking fellers selling farming implements. We quickly homed in on the wickedly sharp, rusty hooked machetes that seem to fulfill some function in chopping the shit out of whatever they grow in Turkey, when I cam across a star find, a massive thick steel collar, with huge spikes sticking out of it. Apparantly, they put these on their big f*ckoff mountain dogs, to gaurd flocks of sheep from lions and wolves and the like up in the hills. This thing was built to be effective, rather than pretty, it would have had any self respecting bondage and pain freak drooling with delight.
Fast forward to the airport on the way home, apparantly they have some problems with people running into Turkish airports and setting off bombs, or machine gunning travellers, so you have to get all of your luggage x-rayed on the way into the terminal. When its my turn, the guy takes one look at his screen, and demands I open my bag, there, on top of all of my clothes is a large package, wrapped in plastic carrir bags. Security goon shoves his hand into the mess of bags, and quickly pulls it out, covered in cuts (I hope his tetanus was up to date). Cue me, unwrapping this collar, putting it round my own neck, and crawling round the floor on all fours in front of a rather bemused long queue of fellow travellers. Security man looks puzzled, then realisation dawns, and he says 'ah, for dog, yes!' and waves me on through. Best bit, is he completely missed the huge hooked machete I also had in my suitcase, as well as several thousand B&H.

Great holiday, the next time I went to Turkey, I lost the end of my finger in a foam party, so I guess the country had its revenge on me!
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 17:39, Reply)
TV
I was on holiday in France with my girlfriend and she got a call from the American Embassy in London to let her know that her interview for a green card was that thursday (they'd told her that she'd get 2 weeks notice at least but actually she only got 2 days). So anyway, she had to book a new flight and as I was going straight home on the monday, I took the big bag with most of our stuff and she just took a small rucksack with a few essentials. When I got to the (shite budget Irish airline company who will remain nameless but which rhymes with Brianair) check in desk at Beauvais, I explained that my girlfriend couldn't make it so there was only one person checking in and not two. They weighed my bag and told me it was too heavy. I was confused because it had been fine on the way to France. The check in girl told me that as there was only one person now instead of two, I only had half the luggage allowance I'd had before. I'd have to leave some stuff behind or pay a charge. I got pretty angry and pointed out that I had two tickets which were both paid for and so I should get two people's luggage allowance. She wouldn't budge - it quickly degraded into a slanging match, me shouting "two tickets" and her snapping in a scornfull french accent "one person". I insisted on getting the manager and he was ruder and had less English than her. He told me they couldn't let me use the second ticket as they were going to re-sell it! There was no persuading them.
My carry on luggage was well under the allowance though and I realised that my total luggage (carry on plus main bag) was under the total weight allowance. If I could transfer enough stuff out of my main bag and into my carry on bag I'd be ok (ridiculous I know but there was no other option). I'd been holding up the queue for ages by this point, so I went off to the side and started trying to shift my stuff around. About half way through this operation I looked around and saw that a pair of my girlfriend's red knickers had fallen out of the bag and had been lying on the floor next to me for the last 5 minutes or so, much to the amusement of the long queue of people next to me. Because I'd moved away from the desk, none of them would have overheard my earlier argument. To all intents and purposes I'd just been busted as a knicker wearing weirdo.
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 17:08, Reply)
McBain
I handed over my passport to Rainier Wolfcastle who was manning the customs box at Niederrhein airport. He looked at it for a moment and furrowing his giant German brow, he tapped something up on his computer.

"Oh no, you in biiiiig trouble."

There was a brief moment of panic and bewilderment, before he followed up with

"JUST KIDDING!!! HA! HA! HAAA!!"
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 16:24, Reply)
Didgeri-dont
Many years ago, backpacking round the world, I was on the leg from Sydney to Mexico, via Los Angeles. Where obviously you can't just transit, you have to get your bags, traipse about have an M16 rifle up yer clunge etc etc. So, there with my tourist tat, a BA Baracus alike, in all seriousness, gets shirty about my didgeridoo. "What is it?" he asks. Now, when I recounted the tale of how it's aboriginal symbolism for a penis, he got shirty. Really shirty, and asked me if it was some kind of weapon. Now, doing the right thing (ie not laughing in the face of this gun-wielding "security" nutter with no brain or sense of humour), I say "No, it's not.The aboriginals didn't use it as a weapon." I then whip out my boomerang. "This, on the other hand, can kill a kangaroo at 100 paces." Our survey said "Er-Er". Wrong answer. Very, very wrong. Having to explain this to someone who'd clearly never ventured out of Buttf*ck, California exactly what it was,why I wasn't winding him up and why a piece of curved timber with "Souvenir of Coogee Bay" is not likely to be classed as WMD is not an easy task after 20 hours in flight and transit.
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 15:47, Reply)
Oooh - two posts in a week!
We recently flew to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. Our plane landed at the same time as two from the Ukraine. You are supposed to buy a visa (about £10) in Egypt when you land, but you don't need to if you are just going to stay in the Sinai (i.e. laze on the beach and drink beer, pyramids be buggered). The key to getting away with this is to write, in very big letters, SINAI ONLY across the back of the visa form.

In my experience, the Ukranians were pretty rude in Egypt, and clearly this was the experience of the immigration staff at the airport as well - I saw at least 10 parties told that they had to buy a visa no matter what, by a man who couldn't speak english beyond "No visa, no stay!"

Strange, as when we go to the desk and politely pointed out that we did not need a visa, he waved us through with dulcet RP tones - "Welcome to Egypt Mr & Mrs F, hope you enjoy your stay".
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 15:37, Reply)
Beadlemania
At the height of Beadle's About, when the gimp was a staple of Saturday night telly, we once saw the man in Gatwick Airport. We'd just come back from Spain and presumably so had Beadle - but they'd lost his luggage.

He was absolutely furious and started screaming blue murder at the staff... who unsurprisingly burst into stifled laughter.

The terrible little man could not share in the joke and instead jumped up and down on the luggage carousel, provoking massive mirth from everyone in the hall. The more we laughed, the angrier he got.

There's nothing like watching a national legend losing his sense of humour (and his collection of special gimpy luggage) and spit foam all over Gatwick.
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 14:59, Reply)
long distance
I went through secondary school in the north of scotland while my parents moved to the Falklands for a bit. Although I had a guardian appointed (top guy who lived in a pyramid) at major holidays I used to fly out. As you might imagine, a stroppy hungover goth/metal teenager turning up at RAF Brize Norton after too many hours on trains and at Cheltenham station, covered in leather and chains, and possibly smelling of whatever was smoked nearby at recent parties really attracts the attention of the RAF guards. Cue removal of all metal...that can take a while, as there were bangles, studs, dog tags, keys, chains, assorted junk.

Still - once on the planes things always went well, as they were leased from BA, and prepared for a full complement of passengers. One of thse flights had only 7 of us...but we did our best to consume all the provided drinks anyway during the 9000-odd mile trip!
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 14:32, Reply)
I once went to Sydney
On aeroflot, which is a story in itself. However, I was going to visit my lovely partner who was working over there at the time, providing me with an excellent source of cheap long-haul holidays into the bargain. She'd asked me to bring over some clothes she couldn't fit into her original 20kg allowance.

At the time I looked like (and was) a right old hippy. So naturally I got pulled over at Aussie customs for a good going over. Mister customs man got me to open up my suitacase and behold - he managed to delve right into to all the ladies stuff and pull out delightfully bijou sundresses, underwear and various other feminine garments in front of all my fellow passengers who were being allowed to pass through unmolested. Had I not been completely jetlagged I might even have been embaressed.

On the return flight I had a didgeridoo poking out of my hand luggage, wrapped up and looking for all the world like a thinly disguised rocket launcher. Didn't get stopped once.

Moral? Ten years ago customs officers were more bothered about the possibility of someone toting round an eighth of hash than an RPG. My how things have changed!
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 13:52, Reply)
We're all gonna diiiiiiiiiiiiieeee!!!!!!!!!
Madrid to London, January 2004. Taxiing to the runway getting ready for take-off, our plane did a U-turn and went back to the airport. One of the stewardesses said something vague about a "technical dificulty" over the tannoy and told us to remain seated.

Directly in front of me was a ten-year-old boy throwing a tantrum, screaming abuse at the man with him who I originally assumed was his grandfather or something owing to the fact that he didn't seem able to do anything to control the kid. Turns out he was his father.

Next to the Spawn of Satan and his father was a man with a goatee in his mid twenties.

Directly in front of them was a family of Americans, one of whom was pretty hysterical. We learned later that she had been in New York on 9/11 and had been terrified of flying ever since.

It slowly dawned on us that the situation might be more than just a technical difficulty. The stewardesses were looking more and more agitated but were not revealing any information.

9/11 Girl started screaming.

Spawn of Satan continued screaming.

9/11 Girl's father beckoned to the stewardess. Apparently the source of her distress was Goatee Man, who was innocently tapping a rhythm on the back of her seat. She was convinced he was a terrorist communicating in Morse Code to his colleagues.

Stewardess approached Goatee Man and requested, very politely, that he stop tapping the back of the seat as he was upsetting the girl in front. He had no problem with this and was very apologetic.

Spawn of Satan's father got up and yelled at the stewardess for harrassing Goatee Man. He made a speech that went something along the lines of, "I am an American. This man is an American. And God willing I will stand up for my fellow countrymen!" He sat back and waited for applause, but all he got was a load of blank looks from English tourists and a hysterical scream of, "YOU SICK MAN!" from 9/11 Girl, who then ran screaming up the aisle to her father sobbing, "Daddy I want to get off this plane!" for several minutes.

Then eight Guardia Civils armed with rifles with bayonets on the end stormed onto the plane and arrested a man at the back.

Once they'd gone, the pilot finally told us what had happened. The guy had been fingering a knife and muttering about the "extremo del mundo" so the woman sitting next to him surreptitiously handed a note to a stewardess saying, "the man sitting next to me has a knife".

I couldn't help thinking, what on earth would have happened if 9/11 Girl had been sitting next to him?
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 13:44, Reply)
We have ways of making you look like a twat...
Anyone who’s read my answer to the ‘Shame’ QOTW will know that Airport security and I have a chequered relationship. But it’s not just confined to projectile vomiting on check-in staff, oh no…

Coming back from the land of bureaucracy (or Germany as it says on the map), I had my bag searched at the airport. The impassive german security guard went through my stuff, finding nothing of interest until he comes across that potentially most dangerous of weapons, a tampon. He held it up, quizzically saying ‘Wass is das?’ ‘It’s a tampon’, I replied (in English as my German goes as far as ‘Bier, bitte’.) He obviously was unfamiliar with the word, so he asked again, more loudly and going slightly redder in the face. I did the traditional British thing of ‘if they can’t understand you, speak more slowly and loudly’. Nope, he just shouted a bit louder back. So I realised there was nothing for it but to mime. I took it off him, unwrapped it, showed him the little cardboard tube thingy, pointed out the absorbent inner core, then pointed at my downstairs lady bits. He looked, if possible, even more confused and angry. Thank god at that point a female guard came over, clocked what was happening, shrieked ‘KLAUS, NEIN…’ and thrust my bag back at me, while dragging him off to presumably explain the fine points of women’s hygiene products. I swear I thought I was going to have to actually shove the damn thing in to make my point that it wasn’t loaded.

I’ve also been made to hop through security with a broken foot as the jobsworth behind the desk thought my crutches were packed with explosives and took them away to be dismantled. He made me hop through four times for him and his mates amusement… Tweezer confiscating cnut…
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 13:08, Reply)
Oh dear...
1)Three years ago I was meant to be going to Prague with my family (2x parents + 1x brother) Up until then, we'd spent every Christmas at home - mainly to satisfy the grandparents. That year I'd lost my last Grandparent so we could do whatever we wanted to. I suggested that we totally break with tradition and spend the Christmas break in Prague. Excellent! I booked the flights on BA and my dad told me to book a nice hotel so we booked a 4* right in the middle of Prague. IT WAS NOT CHEAP.

Along comes Christmas Eve. We get to Heathrow (early) and we're all dead excited. We get to the check in desk and hand in passports. The lady looks at them all and then picks me out and asks me to come forward. She tells me that I am not eligible to travel and BA won't let me on the flight because my passport is not valid. "Hold on," I thought, "yes it is, I checked it was before I came." I was right, it was in date but only by about 84 days. At that point (2003) your passport had to be in date by at least 90 days from the time you leave the Czech Republic. "Bollox!!!" The BA woman told me that they could technically let me fly but I'd be thrown in jail at the airport, beaten up and deported the next day. To me, this didn't sound like a viable option.

Tail between legs - we were moved aside to decide what we should do. I suggested the other three went and for me to stay in Britain. They declined and decided to stay. I thought I could go to the passport office and fly later that day but it was closed. I phoned the hotel and cancelled the rooms. My dad lost 50% (i.e. circa £1,500) We also lost all the money on the flights.

We came home and had absolutely no food nor presents for each other since we were going away and decided not to buy for each other. Needless to say, it was a crap Christmas and it was all my fault. I've never felt more guilty for anything in my life. It was horrible. The worst part now is that this doesn't apply since the Czechs are part of the EU. It was truly the worst thing that has happened to me in an airport!

2) Turn the clock back to 1997.
I was on a really crap plane at Madrid airport (for those that care, it was a 1976 DC-9 registered to a shitty subsidiary of Iberia called Aviaco. It was so shit that you could smoke on it!!) The plane leaves the gate and taxies to the runway. We then line up and hit it. The plane is accelerating to takeoff speed. About 15 secs in, there is a huge thud. The nose was just lifting up and the pilot pulled back on the power and the nose dropped. At that point, I thought it would have been best to abort the takeoff.....not quite. We just shot down the runway at full pelt and then just before the end, he took it off.

I was shit scared (rightly so) The aircraft then proceeded to circle over Madrid airport. Whilst this was happening, a smell of burning started to waft in. "Jesus, we're all dead," I thought. Eventually, the captain comes on in Spanish and announces that we've hit 'livestock' on the runway (which turns out to be rabbits; Madrid has a bad rabbit problem)which has been minced in the engine. We were circling to see whether we'd 'lost an engine' and whether we needed to make an 'emergency landing.' We circled for a further 10 mins. The stewardesses then came through the plane with awfully scented lemon air freshener (which was worse than the smell of burnt rabbit!)

To top it all off, the guy behind me said that the last flight he was on had an engine catch fire on landing. Thanks for that!!!! Twat!
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 13:03, Reply)

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