Sunday, February 27, 2011

Travel Misadventures: Running With Scissors

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Greetings from Gate 4 at the Colorado Springs Airport, where we sit and await the arrival of a plane from the Twin Cities.

Once the plane lands, they unload the bags, stuff our bags in, leave a bunch of other bags here, and get us on board, we'll be heading to the Cities. An 11:10 flight (Mountain time) has already been pushed back to 11:49, and since the plane isn't here yet, I don't like our chances of leaving on time (even if you define "on time" in this case as being 39 minutes late).

I'm not here to bore you with stats about late flights, or drone on about the somewhat-frustrating 3-3 tie UMD settled for Saturday night.

Instead, here's a story to make you feel really safe when you fly again.

As you know, everyone who is a ticketed passenger has to go through a security check. They run your bags through the scanner, and then you take off your shoes (and belt if you have one), empty your pockets, and walk through the body scanner.

When a radio guy travels to call hockey games, he has to carry a bag full of microphone cords, headsets, and the necessary equipment to broadcast a game. Makes sense that TSA would want to go through the bag thoroughly, no matter how carefully it's packed. I've come to learn that they really don't care. They tend to let me go anyway.

On this trip, I traveled with a duffel bag-type thing for the gear. Carried a headset, a mic to get crowd noise with, and the equipment that I plug into to do the game. Since it was so light, I threw my pack of movies that I always bring on the road into it. I ran it and my laptop bag through the scanner, walked through the body scanner, and went to wait for my stuff.

When the TSA lady pulled the gear bag out and asked me if it was mine, I said it was. No worries. I actually think the process is working well when they look through that bag.

I gasped audibly when she pulled a pair of scissors out of the front pocket of the bag, a pocket I didn't even know existed.

And these weren't small scissors out of a sewing kit or something. These were big ones. Adult size scissors.

She ran them through some kind of check, then re-scanned the bag. After that, I picked up the bag, and was shocked again.


Because she gave me back the scissors.

Aghast, I went to the TSA website, wondering what's allowed and what isn't. Oddly, scissors are permitted, as long as they are "metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches."

This blade isn't shorter than four inches.

Maybe I just look like a nice guy or something. After all, I've always been told looks can be deceiving.

UPDATE/CLARIFICATION/CORRECTION: After I got home Sunday evening, I measured the blade of the scissors. They were less than four inches, and therefore legal. As my wife correctly pointed out, they could still do some serious damage.

Knowing that these things are actually legal might be more disturbing than thinking the TSA agent just let me keep them out of the goodness of her heart.

1 comment:

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