Trying to do the right thing

In order to assuage my knitting withdrawal, I decided to take my knitting (more bootees!) with me over the weekend. Aware that there was no way I was going to be able to take 5 dpns on in my hand luggage, I attempted to check my bag in. (Note the use of the word attempted!)

Now, although I arrived at the airport in plenty of time for my flight, I didn’t check my bag in straightaway, since I wanted to work on my knitting while I was waiting. At the last minute (50 minutes before my flight as per the instructions on my boarding card) I took my bag to the fast bag drop. Because it was so close to the departure of my flight, the woman behind the desk had difficulty printing the label for my bag. Calling over her supervisor, he explains how to print the label but then looks at my bag and asks “Is that the bag you’re checking in?” You know when you suddenly get the feeling that things are about to go horribly wrong? When I confirmed that it was, he then explained that if I checked that bag in, it wouldn’t arrive in Glasgow that night. “Are you sure you couldn’t take it on as hand-luggage?” At which point I removed a knitting needle from the bag and explained that I would love to take the bag on as hand luggage but I had four more just like that in there, so if they could explain to the security staff why I had to take them onboard, I’d be more than happy to comply. I also mentioned the expensive, larger-than-100ml toiletries that I had with me that I was not willing to “throw away” (their suggestion). I had only taken them because I knew I was going to have to check my bag in anyway!

The supervisor explained that because my bag was a rucksack with loose straps it had to go on the out-size bag conveyor, which took 20 minutes longer than the ordinary conveyor which was why it wouldn’t make it onto the plane in time (bearing in mind that the flight wasn’t due to leave for another 50 minutes!) I would then have to collect my bag from Glasgow airport the next morning.

Fortunately, the look on my face was sufficient to convince him that this was not an acceptable scenario and he managed to come up with another suggestion, which was to tie the straps of my rucksack together in a complicated arrangement to prevent them getting caught in the conveyor. He very helpfully explained that this was the reason it had to go on the out-size baggage conveyor “because if it goes on the ordinary conveyor, the straps could get caught and then your bag wouldn’t get through and no other bags wouldn’t get through.” That’s all true but nowhere on my boarding card did it say that rucksacks had to be checked in 20 minutes before all other luggage! This done, the label was printed and my bag was allowed to go on the ordinary conveyor.

All the way up on the flight, I was composing complicated plans involving trips to 24-hour supermarkets to purchase enough clothing to get me through the weekend just in case my bag wasn’t there at the other end. Fortunately, I was able to abandon these plans and breathe a sigh of relief when my bag appeared on the conveyor at Glasgow airport.

Lessons I learned (or re-learned) from this experience:

  1. Take the train, it’s just better (and usually only marginally longer)
  2. If you must fly, do everything as early in the process as you possibly can
  3. Airlines are not run for the convenience of their passengers (see item above)
  4. The current security rules concerning liquids and knitting needles are stupid (further details on why they won’t prevent a terrorist attack available on request)
  5. It’s worth paying extra to fly with a decent airline as the staff will usually make the effort to help sort a problem out rather than forcing you to throw away expensive toiletries and half-done knitting projects

And just to prove I had learned my lesson, on the way back, I checked in in plenty of time and dropped my bag off straightaway with the straps already tied up neatly and it arrived at the other end with no hassle or discussion. Of course, I still haven’t finished the bootees!

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