Wednesday, April 06, 2011

OF LAGs and CRUSHED BACKPACKER'S DREAMS

Conversations hardly revolve around airport security, but if they did, and if someone actually wanted to know my thoughts on it a few months ago, I would have vehemently declared that the Liquids, Aerosols and Gels (or LAGs) ban killed the Backpacker's dream. See, airport security hangs on to such a delicate thread that no one in their right mind wants to disrupt that balance and be forever banned from setting their foot in new lands seeking adventure. And because I do not really travel that much (I'll be contradicting this statement pretty soon), I have only a very vague idea on the actual rules and regulations regarding LAGs. They are my travel based nightmares.

For that reason wherever I go, ALL toiletries end up in my check in luggage. Occassionally I'd carry an empty water bottle to refill (some airports have water dispensers at the boarding gate area which is awesome) But even then, a few years ago, while I was on my way back from Japan with an empty bottle in my carry on - I had no intention of refilling it then. I carried it around because it was an actual water bottle and not one of those mineral water bottles, they insisted that I take the bottle out so that they could verify that there was no liquid in it!

A few months back (late October to be exact), my sister and I embarked on our very first journey together (before this it was me and my friends, or her and her friends) While eager to travel light (just with backpacks), we were left with no choice but to get ourselves one checked in baggage for our toiletries (looking back: or so we thought). Seeing that we had 15 kgs of check in, we figured that's we'd evenly distribute the weight from our backpacks. That is how even simple things like a face towel, tissue paper, some basic medication and my cell phone charger ended up in the carry on (on more airport security ambiguousness, a friend recently told me that there was a time when cables were banned from carry ons as well since you could easily use it to strangle someone).

An hour later, as we were looking for a small dull pink duffel bag in the tiny airport's one and only moving luggage carousel, it was nowhere to be seen. We had clearly lost our tiny check in luggage. Just our luck! We lost valuable holiday time as we ran after the airline personnel to lodge a report about our lost 'luggage' as she left us with promises of calling us the moment they found the bag. Naturally we had to get some local toiletries (I totally love their shampoo!) The airline personnel's promise remained only a promise, though. 3 days later, we end up in the airport again after our holiday. When we enquired about our bag (although deep inside, we didn't have much hope of it resurfacing), surprisingly the airline personnel this time said that yes, they had found our bag. 15 minutes later, the sisters were united with the dull pink duffel bag which was then checked in again on it's way to KL. (Kudos goes to airline personnel on our way back as he was very, very helpful)

7 comments:

  1. You actually managed to recover your lost stuff in the airport? I'm shocked! But good for you anyway :D

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  2. International travel seems to be more and more of an obstacle race, what with all the regulations on visas, baggage, liquids etc. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth all the hassle to get to my destination, but of course the answer is always yes!

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  3. Those big dump bins at airport security where they put all the confiscated stuff...I'm sure airport secuirty staff supplement their income nicely on what they pick out of them at the end of the day. At worst I'm sure they're never short of deodorant.

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  4. Nick: Well, after my holidays... but yes, I got it back.

    nick: The answer is always yes... but yeah, it is troublesome flying around internationally - thanks to some people.

    King of Scurf: I wouldn't be surprised, really.

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  5. Airport security regulations have changed the way a lot of people travel. I have a friend who travels extensively for business. She doesn't take any toiletries so she doesn't have to check baggage. Instead, she buys what she needs at her destination and expenses it. Or she uses the things provided at the hotels.

    I couldn't believe her company allowed it, but she gets it approved because evidently it becomes less expensive than some baggage fees.

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  6. My luggage has gotten lost a number of times. For a few days when I went to Australia, where they reluctantly gave me a little cash to buy an outfit. And for an entire week in Greece.
    10 Apr 2011 07:36:00

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  7. Travis: That's actually a very, very good idea... unless the person is specific about the brands being used...

    SAW: Oh my... that's pretty bad. But due to that, I carry a few spare clothes (especialy underwear) in my carry on

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