What a carry on! The dangers of travelling light

Monocle-wearing Arthur took the
ultimate journey years ago, but I can imagine him searching the world
in vain for a station porter or convenient lackey if he were alive
I recalled his advice last weekend when
catching a dawn flight from my local airport to Amsterdam. Foolishly,
we’d decided to travel light and each take a smaller carry-on bag
instead of checking in a couple of bigger cases as usual.
It was the wife’s collection of
toiletries that nearly did for me. Attempting to take all those
beauty-enhancing bottles, jars, tubes and spray canisters through
airport security was bound to end in tears.
Not only did lugging her ‘light’
bag from the car park nearly rupture me, mayhem ensued when we
couldn’t fit all her expensive unguents into one of those silly
little plastic bags at airport security.
I’ve invariably found these people
courteous, but on this occasion we encountered Mr Nasty, an
aggressively assertive middle-aged bloke who looked as though he’d
be better suited to a bell-ringing job at Notre Dame.
After reading the riot act he
begrudgingly let us catch our flight after I offered to carry the
illegal liquids in my own little plastic bag. Job done.
Contrast this with our experience of
clearing security on returning from Amsterdam. On this occasion my
wife absent-mindedly tried to walk through the scanner weighed down
by half a ton of metal jewellery.
The scanner sounded as though it was
about to blow a fuse, but the difference in attitude of the Dutch
staff couldn’t have been more marked. They smiled and joked as my
wife jangled back and forth, discarding the odd bracelet or earring
on each unsuccessful attempt.
Amsterdam is a great, friendly city –
perfect for a fun and interesting weekend. But at our departure
airport we briefly wished we had booked into a nice country house
hotel at home for the weekend instead.
Even the most experienced travellers do
daft things occasionally, but you do wonder what impression foreign
visitors take home if they encounter Mr Nasty. Perhaps he was late
for his full English breakfast, lovingly prepared by his elderly
mother back home? Or was he just bitter because his airport doesn’t
have those marvellous body scanners that enable security staff to see
through people’s clothes?
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