Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Airline regulations

Swiss International Air Lines has a colorful set of baggage regulations that invites you to visualize your fantasy life as a sophisticated world traveler.
  • Your fishing equipment is 120 cm long.
    Small sports equipment up to a length of 150 cm, e.g. wakeboards and body boards, can be checked in without prior information. SWISS recommends suitable packaging.

  • You are a wine connoisseur and always carry your own cork screw in your hand baggage.
    Cork screws come under the valid international regulations for ‘dangerous objects’. Please carry your cork screw and many
    other objets in your checked-in baggage only. All dangerous objects will be confiscated by airport security.

  • The two of us always go on holidays with our tandem bicycle.
    If you pack your bike into a hard-shell container, cardboard box or plastic bag with a size of 162 x 92 x 24 cm, it can be transported as
    sports baggage.
On a more-applicable-to-me note, Swiss Air restricts carry-on luggage to a single 8 kilo (17.6 lbs) item. Except that:
In addition to the hand baggage, the following items are allowed on board if necessary (except infants)
  • 1 coat or blanket
  • 1 umbrella or walking stick
  • 1 ladies’ handbag
  • 1 small camera or 1 set of binoculars
  • reading for the journey
I like referring to the flight as a "journey" -- very poetic. But questions remain: for example, may I carry a "ladies handbag"? Why not, I say? How "small" is a "small camera" -- pocket sized, or just not a honkin' videographer's case? Can the "walking stick" be a sword cane? (I'm guessing "no" to that one.) And how much "reading for the journey" qualifies as "necessary"?

And what about this:
Irrespective of the booking class, SWISS defines 1 piece of hand baggage as 55 x 40 x 20 cm and up to 8 kg - plus a laptop or hand bag.
My problem is that I have a single knapsack weighing in at 22-23 lbs. If they are really strict about these regulations, I'm prepared to whip out a sturdy plastic bag and place inside it:
Will they make me go through that charade? It seems to punish me for packing efficiently.

Starting at $400, a sword cane is a serious investment. If one really needs that much protection, is a more prudent investment a hand gun? I'm pretty much anti-gun, but a sword cane seems a Rube Goldbergesque/Bond Villian way of going about self defense doesn't it?

In the vein of the journey vs. flight word choice, my new Magellen GPS system says, "You have arrived." when you get to your destination. That tickles me every time. Like the Costco parking lot is nirvana or the 2007 version of Studio 54.
I would have to second brock#20's comment: For that price you could get a very sweet little pistol. If your attacker has a gun then the sword cane isn't going to do much good. Plus, any jurisdiction that makes it hard to carry a concealed firearm would just as likely require the same kind of hoop-jumping to carry a concealed 17" blade.

I think you will just be charged extra for the heavy carry-on. I know my Swiss friend had the opposite problem with her checked baggage: the American airlines had a lower weight restriction and she was charged extra for her bag.

Personally, I think you should put the over-weight items in your "woman's purse". Or call your backpack a "woman's purse".

And brock#20... you need a GPS to find Costco? I know the parking lots are large, but you should still be able to see the store.
Can't I make a joke about a sword cane without triggering everybody's latent gun nut tendencies?
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