Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Chennai/Port Blair

All I saw of Calcutta was traffic jams.. non stop traffic jams. I did see a few man-pulled rickshaws, barefoot, dragging a few customers on their rented rickshaw... felt serious pity for them.

Anyhow, we ended up getting to the airport about 10 mins before checkin closed. But, er, luckily, it being a dirt cheap carrier, the flight was late. 2 Hours late.

But wait, it gets much much better.

Welcome to this week's installment of "See Chris try to educate the Indians on how Things Are Done (TM)".

It's been 5 months since I was on a plane. I've totally forgotten the routine, and so I forget to take out my pocket-knife from my backpack when I check-in at the airport. When the security guard took it away, I was somewhat concerned - given that the knife cost more than the dirt cheap flight.

We arranged a deal. He would hold it, until an Air Deccan employee would come down, sign for it, give it to a stewardess, who would then give it to me when we got to Chennai. A great idea.

However, what really happened was - the gate employee signed for the knife, put it in a Air Deccan bag, and as soon as we had turned the corner, gave the bag/knife back to me, and told me it was our little secret.

Thats right. I boarded a domestic Indian flight with a pocketknife (admittedly, not a major weapon) - after having it taken away, and then given back by an employee.

As a security geek, this was just too much for me to take....

I asked for a knife in flight to cut open some guava, and was told plastic knives weer no longer carried due to security reasons.. however, I kept my mouth shut.

Once we landed, and it was perfectly safe, I had the chap next to me discretely take a photo of me sitting in my seat, holding the air deccan seat-cover, and the knife wide open... However, this wasn't enough.

I waited until everyone left the flight, went to the front, and in my best cute little kid impression, asked if I could have my photo taken with the captain. The steward said sure, knocked on the door, and introduced me to the columbian pilot (columbian pilot on an Indian domestic airline? Welcome to the age of Globalization).

I explained exactly what had happened to the pilot, who seemed shocked, and for obvious reasons... rapidly declined to be photgraphed with me and the knife.

When I get back to civilization, I may write to deccan. Who knows. I've reported it, so hopefully the gate employee will get the axe.... My safety is on the line, after-all..


Anonymous said...

man , a knife on a plane ??

thank god u dint have any other plans for that flight ,

its a damn fall in the security measure ,

take care

Anonymous said...

well, considering all the security the USA has and the amount of attacks you are prone to vs the (lack of) security in India and the (lack of)attacks, India isnt unsafe... which might be ironical.. leading to a weird philosophical argument...


Anonymous said...

I'm curious do you want to tighten security or get rid of our false sense of security? I myself think getting rid of the false sense of security and having true security measures (that don't include refusing plastic knives). Just curious on your thoughts.
fantim at

jiowfojieoij said...

I have a 10 centimetre retractable progressive knife/blade that I carry in my laptop bag. I use it to cut things and sharpen my pencils.

for the last year I have flown with it over a dozen times with no problem. I came to assume that it was because the blade is housed in a rather strange metal body, but last week flying home, a savvy x-ray operator spotted it and I had to say good bye.

also, I know that here in Australia, fingernail clippers are not permitted on board. well I saw a man of middle-eastern dissent clipping his nails while on board a 747 with a LARGE pair of clippers!

once I overcame my panic that he might hijack the plane by threatening the hostess' manicure, I got quite upset that he was quite blatantly and rudely leaving fingernail clippings all over the place!!!

forget the terrorists, we have people who have no respect for the appropriate time and place for personal grooming.

Anonymous said...

oh boy,i can hear the deccan airways guys..sucking their thumbs.

I always knew that the air security in India was bad but this is really bad.
I cant believe this actually happened.Just incredible.

Anonymous said...

Wow you mean you got a real pocketknife on the plane, how scary you are, but really you are nothing more than a wise ass, big deal pull that knife on the plane and see if your ass isn't kicked within 2 peco seconds of pulling it.
As and "expert" in security you of all people know that stunt of taking over a plane with small handheld weapons will never happen again and it has been shown time and again on the news, someone flips on an aircraft and the passengers have them under control within seconds

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous....

I'm pretty sure the point was to reveal the stupidity of our security rules - not to actually take over a plane. Why call the guy a wise ass when he's working for your freedom in a way the US government never will?

Anonymous said...

Chicago Ohare was much more interested in taking
my mascara. Last I heard, no plane has every been
hijacked by Mabelline. The TSA experience varies by
airport. On my outbound, I had forgotten to place an item in my plastic bag and the TSA person gave it to me and I placed it in my plastic bag. In Ohare,
they went threw my carry on with a fine tooth comb and did not give me the option to put my items that I had forgotten into the plastic bag. Oh well, lesson learned. I think these guys have ultimate discretion, like the gate agent that has the power to upgrade you or make your life hell.


Unknown said...

jeesh. i used to fly all the time with scary-looking 4+ inch blades (see yes, this was pre-911, but still. i never hijacked a plane or threatened a stewardess or pilot, not even once!

SecurityTheater said...

Kudos to Chris!

I also managed to easily bring on a US domestic flight a Victorinox knife. See picture in Wired.

Russ Nelson said...

Your fellow passengers are just lucky that your weapon didn't drive you mad. You could have killed somebody with that knife!

Anonymous said...

I hope this new-found attention makes you some money so you can buy some new glasses. The 1990 look is so well, 1990.