Monday, August 13, 2007

Free Air Travel Advice from Annie

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where even Decibel the parrot isn't a frequent flier! If the airline industry relied on la famille Johnson, it would have gone under years ago.

However, Mr. Johnson just returned from a business trip to Florida. When he opened his checked baggage, he found a little note from the Transportation Security Administration. It was a NOTICE OF BAGGAGE INSPECTION.

A deputy of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had opened Mr. Johnson's bag to look at its contents. The mildewed swim trunks must have been a big hit.

The little note the TSA left behind said that the contents had been removed from Mr. Johnson's bag and put back in again. It warned that locked bags might have to be pried open, so don't lock your bag. If you do, don't expect TSA or Homeland Security to buy you new luggage. It's your problem.

The bottom of the little note reads: "Smart Security Saves Time." That's actually a secret code for "VOTE REPUBLICAN: WE'RE TOUGH ON TERROR."

It must be a disheartening job, rifling through suitcases full of dirty clothing, sandy socks, and well-thumbed paperback beach novels. So Annie says, let's liven up the dull jobs of the Homeland Security bag-sifters!

The next time I travel by air, my checked bag will contain a nice, handwritten note on scented stationery (I have some I inherited from my late mom.)

The note will say:

Hello, and welcome to the luggage of Anne Johnson! It's a pleasure to have you rifle through these belongings. Anne feels so much safer, knowing that you consider her a terrorist until proven otherwise by close examination of her underwear.

Please pay close attention to the following, which will make Anne's trip happier and stress-free:

1. Please return the condoms and astro-glide to the zipped compartment from which you took them for inspection. Please be aware that Anne counts condoms, and if there are any missing she will contact the Department of Homeland Security immediately.

2. The old brochures from previous vacations are arranged in alphabetical order. Please see to it that they remain in alphabetical order when you return them to the suitcase.

3. The box of tampons contains tampons. Anne counts these too.

4. Sorry about the rubber spider. The kids hid him in this bag in 1997 and it's been a running gag ever since.

5. Please leave your little calling card behind in a prominent place in this bag, so that Anne will know to go straight to a laundromat when her plane lands. The thought of strangers fingering her undergarments is decidedly distasteful, so distateful, in fact, that she would rather take her odds-on chances that some suitcase in this stack actually contains a bomb.

Thank you for visiting Anne's luggage. It's always wise to be suspicious of a middle-aged suburban housewife flying out to see her relatives in Tulsa.

Of course you can modify this note to your particular personal circumstances.

Today you get two sets of free advice for the price of one!
1. If you are going to see a relative in Tulsa, get a box, shove clothes and undies and condoms and tampons into it, and mail it to the relative about two weeks before you plan to be there. Board the plane carrying only your purse, with toothbrush and meds inside it. At the end of your visit, shove the clothes, condoms, etc. back into the box and mail them home to yourself. Hey, if you can afford the plane ticket to Tulsa, you can parcel-post your Jockey shorts.
2. If you are going on a whirlwind tour of Paris, board the plane carrying only your purse, with toothbrush and meds inside. Have the hotel consierge direct you to a pharmacy, a department store, and a thrift store. Purchase enough used outerwear and new underwear to see you through your trip. At journey's end, leave the stuff in the hotel room. (If you like it better than your stuff at home, mail it to yourself as per advice in #1, above.)
If you don't think I really travel like #2 above, go ahead. Invite me to Paris. I'll see you at the arrival gate, carrying nothing but my purse.
Em, could you please buy my plane ticket?


Miss Tonia said...

I love this post! It's great advise, and funny, to boot. And, being that I work in the air freight industry, I can totally relate. Oh, and if you ever get someone to buy that plane ticket to Paris, get me one, too. I am all for a Paris Holiday, just the way you described it.

Have a great Monday!

MountainLaurel said...

Oh, yes! I can SO identify. It seems they always go through my stuff. I feel rather sorry for anyone who has to go through my stuff, but there you go.

at some point I'll post my account of my run-ins with the security process. It's funnier now than it was then, I can tell you that.

Tennessee Jed said...

Who the heck can afford to travel in this economic nightmare the GOP has created?

If I do ever get the chance to fly I will place a nice note along with a jumping spring.

BBC said...

The next time I will travel by air will be....... Never!!!!

Can't call yourself an ecologist and fly around as if it isn't harmful to the planet.

I haven't been in an airplane for years. In fact I would like to blow all of them out of the skies because they are so harmful to this planet, my planet.

Even early aviation pioneers came to understand what a monster they had created.

Luna said...

Hilarious post.
I was flying back home from school one time, and I had stuffed my laptop case full of all the miscellaneous crap that was in my apartment. Mostly office supplies. It was carry-on, so once I went through check-in, I didn't think anything of it. Security decided to open my bag -- a nightmare of paper clips, rolls of pennies, tampons -- and I had to stand there and watch them. Oh, and all the other passengers got to watch, too.

Interrobang said...

Better yet, if you're going to visit a friend somewhere (as I nearly always am, so this would occur to me), and you know enough ahead of time that you're going to be going, visit your local thrift store, pick out a nice visiting wardrobe for yourself, and mail it to your friend. This is likely much cheaper than trying to rely on thrift stores in countries where the local currency may be worth twice or more as much as yours, and where the cost of living is excruciatingly high. Much cheaper to buy second-hand clothes in Whitebreadville, Canada, than London, England, or Paris, France, after all. (Probably less elegant by yards and acres and hectares, but much, much cheaper. :)

I don't really know what to say about someone who thinks it's ok to want to blow planes out of the sky in the name of ecology, except that I don't have any sympathy for wannabe terrorists, even if they're eco-terrorists. (Full disclosure: My father is a retired commercial pilot, who has also done a damn lot more than most people to offset his occupational environmental damage, so maybe I'm just touchy.)