Fool fails to board airplane without ID

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“Hey dude, where’s my ID?”

So, here I am at YVR waiting to board an Air Canada flight. Heading to Edmonton. It’s 6:45 am.

Electronic boarding pass is on my phone and “government-issued photo ID” is tucked into a pocket in my purse.

Tank is nothing if not well-organized. Other travellers, not so much.

Can’t help but notice the ‘Dude’ seated behind. What I picture a 62-year-old former roadie for Uriah Heep to look like. 

As the flight begins to board, Dude realizes he has no picture ID. Gets his buddy on the smartphone and says, “hey, you forgot to give me back my ID last night.” 

WTF? 

Who lends their ID to someone, except when you’re an underage teen and your older sibling lends you his/her ID to get into the bar?

Next, Dude is at the counter in search of something ID-ish in his wallet. Found nothing. 

Next, he asks the nice Air Canada lady if he can get on the plane without photo ID. Nope to that.

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Being told he’s NOT getting on the plane without photo ID.

So, Dude never makes it on this flight. Dude is a dud. Methinks this could be a teachable moment for Dude. On second thought, maybe not. To his credit, he never raised his voice to anyone. Didn’t freak out on airline staff.

I’m always surprised people this incredibly stupid travel. I suppose I shouldn’t be.

Thieving employees: do #airports care?

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Are you kidding me? How about catching the thieves?

Airports know they’ve got thieves in their midsts. The airlines know it too.

Ya think they’re doing much about it? Methinks no.

Look at the photo. The City of Phoenix warning airline passengers about the possibility of being robbed following the NCAA College Football championships in January.

WTF?

If the chance of theft warrants signs, maybe the airport and airlines need to investigate who’s doing the thieving?  Staff who steal may be doing other bad stuff. (Google what some naughty customs officers get up to on the US-Mexico border.)

[Big thanks to G, a fabulous and talented fellow I worked with at CBC News back in the day, for emailing me this info. G travels a lot for sports telecasts and spends a lot of time in airports.]

I hate checking luggage, but it’s necessary because I carry scuba gear. I’ve had nothing stolen, but I’ve received notices that tell me the TSA has opened my bags. Seems to happen whenever I fly through the United States.

Let’s hope my luck for remaining theft-free continues….and this posting doesn’t bring about a cavity search next time I visit an airport.

Flying is horrid enough without having to worry whether your suitcase is going to arrive empty. Airports have got to stop ignoring thefts.

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Annoying traveller smackdown

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Okay, maybe I’m being a bitch. But, WTF is wrong with these people?

You’re on a plane for two hours. The flight crew gives you the Mexican travel documents at least an hour before the plane lands. The documents are in English. You’ve got plenty of time to fill them out before you get to the customs hall at your destination.

But no. You don’t bother.

Because, what’s better than being the centre of attention at the airport by holding up the other passengers from your flight at the customs lineup while, cluelessly standing there, you dig out your passport and boarding pass, ask around to borrow a pen and then set about filling in the travel documents who should have attended to on the plane.

Inconveniencing people means having power over them. Don’t it feel good?

These are the photos I snapped in the customs hall. Before the police officer instructed me to stop.

I had my documents ready and pushed past these folks. People can mess about all they like. Just don’t be a nuisance to the rest of us.

 

 

I do stupid things while travelling so you don’t have to

Don't be an idiot. Like me. This chair thing really hurt.

Don’t be an idiot. Like me. This chair thing really hurt.

I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

To wit, 15 minutes of sheer torture in one of those coin operated massage chairs. This one at the airport in Tawau, Malaysia.

With three hours of time to kill before my flight north to Sandakan, I needed entertainment. After the chicken-rice curry, three trips to the toilet and a scan of the junk in the stores, it was time to relieve the boredom.

That’s when the bank of massage chairs appeared in view.

The Asian guy seated there looked pretty happy as the massagers pounded his butt cheeks. So, I decided to part with 5 RM ($1.51 CDN) for a 15-minute ride of my own.

A small price to pay to rehabilitate my battered body after six consecutive days of scuba diving near Mabul and Sipadan Islands.

Bad idea.

The massage ‘treatment’ alternated between thumping every column of my spine with intense force to bludgeoning the back of my head in a way that made my grey matter bounce from back to front.

Squeezing my injured legs. Right were the bug bite scabs are.

Squeezing my injured legs. Right where the bug bite scabs are.

That’s not all. Every few minutes, the chair would squeeze the bejesus out of my calf muscles. Right where the bug bite scabs and diving-mishap bruises were.

Never again.

These tools of torture masquerading as oases were present at every Malaysian airports I visited. They were mostly always empty.

Don’t be tempted.

When #airport staff steal your stuff

Inspection notice found in my suitcase in March 2015 at SFO

Inspection notice found in my suitcase in March 2015 at SFO

Hope I’m not jinxing myself by exploring this topic –  another nightmare associated with air travel nowadays. (As if packed planes, shrinking seats in economy, jerks who recline, paying to check luggage, arrested development cases who moan about in-flight entertainment and limited overhead storage aren’t enough).

A Tank’s Travels reader sent me this link from CNN. Shows dirty, rotten airport staffers helping themselves to stuff in travellers’ suitcases.

The stats are grim. Thirty-one thousand theft claims made in US airports during the last five years. More than 500 TSA employees fired in the US for theft since 2002.

I have to check luggage when I travel. I carry scuba gear that’s too large for a carry on. I always worry when I see the suitcase disappear along the conveyor belt.

I have a well-made Rimowa suitcase with a TSA lock. But, that’s no protection against theft.

I know airport staffers are searching my suitcase because, when I travel through the U.S., I always find a note inside from TSA telling me they’ve inspected it. (see photo)

Other than never checking luggage, or packing nothing except clothes and toiletries, there’s not much travellers can do to protect the contents of their suitcases.

Here’s what needs to happen. Airport authorities have to step up. That means staff screening (criminal record & credit checks) and security cameras in the luggage handling and ramp areas.

Travellers also need to pressure the airlines they patronize to pressure the airport authorities to deal with the problem.

Other solutions? I once read you should insert a note inside your suitcase that reads, “I’ve taken pictures of the contents of this suitcase”, as a deterrent to theft. Hard to measure whether it works or not.

I’ve never had a lost suitcase or had items stolen from a suitcase. I’m betting my luck will someday run out.

 

 

Sleeping rough at San Francisco Airport @sfo

My sleeping quarters. Private-ish and very comfortable.

My sleeping quarters. Private-ish and very comfortable.

I like the U.S. a whole lot more when the Canadian dollar is on par or worth more than the USD.

It’s bloody expensive for Canadians to travel anywhere in the world where the USD is an accepted currency or where travel packages are priced based on the USD = central America.

That’s why I refused to buy a hotel room for an overnight layover in San Francisco (SFO). It’s an expensive hotel room city to begin with. Even before you figure in the exchange rate.

Got in from San Salvador at 1:00 a.m. Had to collect my luggage and leave the secured area. Only needed to bed down until the United Airlines Lounge opened at 5:00 a.m. Flight to Vancouver was scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

Turned out to not be the hellish experience I expected.

neighboursThanks to Angel, my Honduran cab driver, we found a store selling air mattresses while on route to the airport in Roatan. $9.00 USD. Once at SFO, all I had to do was find a safe-ish spot, blow it up and begin counting sheep. Found a tucked away place in a passenger waiting area where others were sleeping. Some folks were underneath the block of seats.

Got busy setting up my ‘room’:

  • Positioned a luggage cart and my suitcase to block easy access to me.
  • Set the  ‘brown noise’ on my IPad.
  • Earbuds in. Eye mask on.
  • Set the alarm for 4:30 am.
  • Head down at 2:02 a.m.
  • Slept like a baby until the alarm went off. Then, snoozed for another hour.
me

Saving money makes me smile.

 

Sleeping under the row of chairs is also an option.

Sleeping under the row of chairs is also an option.

The hardest part of sleeping rough was deflating the air mattress.

Then, it was off to re-check my luggage, brush my teeth and find a comfy spot in the United Airlines lounge, where some asshole called me (and others) peasants!! With six cappuccinos in my system by that point, he’s lucky I didn’t rip his throat out.

I love my little blue air mattress. It will travel with me again. We may have another sleeping rough ‘date’ at SFO in October. Yippee.

 

“This place is for peasants”: boorish behaviour at SFO @united

We, the peasants, of the United Lounge at San Francisco airport. The peasant in front has two laptops.

We, the peasants, of the United Lounge at San Francisco airport. The peasant in front has two laptops.

I wish I’d had time enough to take a picture of this asshole and his companions. Three (two males, one female. The younger man may have been their servant) boorish travellers, botoxed to an inch of their lives. Wearing the type of travel duds you find in magazines targeting (insecure?) people who identify as sophisticated travellers. You know, the yacht club set.

I first heard, then noticed, the trio when they marched past me in the United Lounge at San Francisco airport. The lounge isn’t opulent, but has comfortable seating and snacks. Staff keeps it tidy and the refreshments replenished – always available to help the spoiled and clueless work the cappuccino machine.

But none of this mattered to the trio. They were looking for a VIP section of the lounge. Where, I guess, they could ogle and be ogled by their kind. Where, I suppose, they could mingle with superior human specimens, without being contaminated by the bottom feeders in the rest of the lounge.

“Is this it?”, the woman barked at the employee busy emptying a trash can. “Is there another section?”

Unhappy with the response, the three turned on their heels and sprinted to the exit.

Heading home to my 'low social rank'.

Raising my coffee cup to low social rank – the coarse, the unsophisticated, the uneducated.

“This place is for peasants,” the older guy remarked on his way out.

Raised by wolves.