Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Home again, home again jibbity-jab

This is a picture I took outside LaGuardia airport of one of my two allowed carry on items on my flight from Dallas To NY after the LSAF. I'll save the actual show stuff for Guest Bloggers and may put up some random stuff later in the week but for now I'll center on my Clockwork Orange, oops I mean Code Orange travel experiences with vintage electronics.

Given the 50 pound limit for a checked bag before you hit an additional $50 surcharge I spent much of the week before the show sending flat rate boxes down to bob spence of affirm audio. For the actual stuff I had to huff with me I tried like hell to get the odd stuff in the checked baggage and carry on 50 pounds or so in my allotted carry-on space. In the end of it I needed to pay for checked bags twice and go through security screening 3 times.

The first experience was at LaGuardia at 5:30am last Thursday. My Carry-on bag was at 51.5 pounds and I politely asked if I needed to remove a thing or two to avoid $70 to check it rather than $20. The counter person was cool took my $20 and gave me a receipt and I was off to security. At security I thought my bag would fly through like it normally did and get the swab for explosive stuff at worst. Well something in the X-ray alarmed them and I was pulled aside for a "further search" As they dug through the bag pulling out Albums, boxes of cartridges, a tonearm and such, they kept digging. They actually found two zippered pockets in my laptop bag that I didn't know existed. Obviously they were looking for something and the minute they found my digital caliper all was well. Apparently that was the thing that alarmed them on the X-ray and once identified for what it was I was on my way to Milwaukee.

Since I'm from Milwaukee and it serves as a nice little hub to places like Denver, Vegas and Dallas, I try to schedule a long layover so I can spend a few hours with mom at a casino local to the airport. Vegas etiquette doesn't allow me to discuss what happened at the casino but I can say a last minute turn of fate kept my shirt on my back and I was headed back to the airport caliper in bag to menace another code orange screening situation.

This time I was also flagged and I simply assumed it was the caliper again. The guy at the second screening point asked me if there was anything dangerous in the bag and I quickly pointed out there was a caliper that caused alarm at LaGuardia. I was allowed to pull it out for him and he seemed uninterested. He neatly unpacked everything into those gray bins and opened the 12X12 record mailer and saw the albums. As he sifted through them and saw Sean's "walk on the wild side" he commented he just listened to it yesterday. It must have been some sort of _guilt thing when saw the Archive Production Gregorian Chants below which immediately had him grabbing a swab to check for explosives. Long story short... The swab test failed for "forbidden substances" and next my palms were being swabbed and my bag was completely unpacked into about 5 trays for another run through the X-ray. Everyone was polite and I made it to my flight with plenty of time. I was amused by the whole process and it still gives me a good chuckle.

After spending the time in Dallas at some foolish event, I had to repeat the process in the other direction and upon arriving at the airport at 5:30 hoping to standby a 6:25 flight I had the reverse experience of my New York Departure. I went in humbly and said I had two issues, the standby wasn't a problem but the 50+ pounds I had in my bag was. Essentially I needed to lose 7 pounds and the easiest way to do this was to pull out one of the GenRad supplies and take it as my second carry-on. Since my messenger bad was overloaded I had to carry it exposed and worried about a screening but there didn't seem to be any worry when I showed what I was swapping from my checked bag to exposed carry-on. I flew through the Dallas security unscathed and 40 minutes later I was happily sleeping on my way to Atlanta with the GenRad sitting in the bin above. (later realized that after I got the bag down to 50 pounds, they forgot to charge me the $15 for a checked bag.)

Upon arriving in Atlanta, I slowly wandered about Hartsdale for a bit and found a nice warm window to prop against and sleep for a few more hours prior to my flight back to NY. The GenRad as pillow drew a few stares but no issues. Upon boarding my flight, while walking down the jetway I was approached and asked what it was I was carrying. I explained a bit and all was fine. Upon meeting a hostess at the entrance of the airliner another round of questioning came. She insisted the captain needs to approve this and with a backed up jetway allow further people to board, I attempted to move into the galley and wait for the captain so others could pass. I was instructed to stay where I was. I complied and as passengers behind me became angry at the backup I was instructed to hand the supply to the pilot in the cockpit and the only way to do that was to pass into the forbidden zone with my possibly forbidden item. (and not being asked if I like Gladiator Movies) I was cleared and on my way home.



  1. digital calipers.

    disposable battery eating, toxic waste generating, alarm tripping,
    instrument of the devil!!!

    i rest my case.

  2. Times have changed...2001 CES I flew with a tube amp in my carry on and the Xray screener said "Hey, 6l6s!" Turns out he was a fellow ham so gave him the masonic handshake and I was on my way.

    Last year enroute to Seoul I got pulled over for WE 284Ds and 242s in my carry on. The young dude who unpacked them looked totally baffled and when I explained what they were he looked at me blankly. Finally an older dude came over and I told him they were tubes from WWII radio transmitters. He said OK.

    When I got to Korea, I unpacked my carry on bag and realized that I had a very sharp 3" folding Buck knife in one of the pockets. They were so baflled by the tubes that they missed the shank I was totin'.

    Good thing I am on the side of the infidels!

  3. Wow, 284Ds - that's an expensive carryon item. Like $5k/pr... very nice. ;-)



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