Anal cavity searches don’t seem like fun

Japanese liquid tester

Japanese liquid tester

Random Observation/Comment #141: When I first grasped the simple concept of an airplane, I was very excited – I would get to fly to a magical place with unlimited supplies of candy and mashed potatoes.  What I pictured in my mind was a flying carpet, so you could imagine how impressed I was to see an airplane.  The giant wings would be able to fit many more people than a small little carpet.  I actually thought I was going to sit on top of the airplane.  It would be a little bit windier, but I felt like I would get a better view of the clouds.  I think my whole desire for flying was to sit on clouds.

I’ve never really been a nervous flier, but instead, I was more of a nervous airport terminal waiter.  I didn’t like the idea of showing to international flights two hours earlier just to – well… sit there and wait at the terminal for two hours.  There are quite a few airport terminal shops to browse, but I’m never really sure who purchases new handbags and pieces of luggage at the airport.  How do these places make a profit when everyone walking the airport is really just trying to waste time? The most thriving business, in my opinion, would be the book stores.  Magazines and short readings could be started and then purchased for the long plane ride ahead.  I would suggest preparing yourself for those book store prices because it’s not going to be pretty.  Hint: Bring your own book.

Before discussing adventures at airports or complaints about the random things (which I’ll leave for the later entries), it’s important to research the rules of the airport.  For international flights, always check-in two hours before your flight.  It’s annoying, but it’s better to be on-time and bored, than late and stranded.

The check-in luggage should be less than 50lbs or else you will be charged for the overweight.  I don’t think they will ship anything that exceeds 80lbs.  Most airline companies permit two forms of carry-on luggage.  The standard bag size for this is 56x45x22cm (22×17.5×9.85in) and should not exceed 40lbs.  You’re going to have to lift this into an overhead compartment, and those delicate flight attendants probably won’t be able to help you with your mass of poorly-packed garbage, so I suggest only carrying the essentials.  The other bag can be a size of a laptop, which will eventually need to be stowed, but can be more frequently accessed during the flight.

In terms of passing the metal detector and handbag x-ray check, all liquids must not exceed 100ml.  You may bring creams, gel, suntan lotions, toothpaste, deodorants, cosmetics, and medicines, but I would suggest placing them all in a separate clear, plastic bag ahead of time so they can scan it without causing too many problems.  Remember that JFK does not allow you to take water from the “outside” into the terminal (probably because they want you to spend more money) so don’t bother wasting money before entering the waiting area.  It’s such a mean trick to put drink machines right before the entrance.

Unless you want to cause trouble, I would suggest leaving any of the items on the “banned list” at home.  The airport security personnel don’t have a good sense of humor and will probably knock you out.  Some of the banned items include:

  • Explosives – fireworks, ammunition, flares
  • Gas cylinders – any flammable or non-flammable gas cylinders for butane, oxygen, propane, or nitrogen
  • Flammable liquids – paint, petrol, lighter fluid, solvents, varnish
  • Flammable solids – fire lighters
  • Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
  • Substances which in contact with water emit flammable gases
  • Oxidizing materials – paint strippers
  • Organic peroxides – bleach
  • Toxic substances – insecticides, weed killers
  • Infectious substances – bacteria, viruses
  • Radioactive materials
  • Corrosives – wet cell batteries, acids, mercury barometers
  • Miscellaneous dangerous goods – magnetized materials, dry ice
  • Cooking oils

The airport is not scary, but it’s a good idea to know what to expect.  It would be quite a bad start to a long trip if there are complications involving rubber gloves.

~See Lemons Prepare for the Airport