During my first big adventure overseas, I pretty much packed everything. I packed everything I needed, as well as everything I may ever need.
Being on an extreme budget, I was booked on a Continental Airlines flight by my sister’s friend who worked for a travel company and it took the longest route possible:
Sydney – Honolulu – San Francisco – Atlanta – London
The longest route somehow also meant the cheapest route… which makes no sense to me.
As I was going through the security check at Atlanta Airport for my final leg of the journey, I was pulled aside by a member of staff.
“Sir, could you pull that diving knife out of your bag please?”
“Diving knife? I don’t have a diving knife.”
“Sir, I know you have a diving knife. Could you please take it out of the bag.”
“Honestly, I don’t have a diving knife.”
I didn’t have a diving knife.
A colleague of the staff member came up to enquire as to what was happening.
“This gentleman has a diving knife in his bag. I saw it on the x‑ray.”
“Let me open my bag, and we can look through it.” I said as I started with my toiletries bag.
“Oh wait, look. I’ll bet this is what it was.”
As part of my packing everything I owned routine, I had packed a strange combination of knife, fork and spoon, which fitted together and would be useful for something like camping (similar to the one pictured). The sort of thing you would expect Ned Flanders to have at the ready. It was my best guess that this was the offending article that was showing up on the x‑ray.
“No, I saw a diving knife.”
“He said he doesn’t have a diving knife” expressed her colleague.
“I know what I saw.”
“Look, just leave it. He ain’t got no diving knife. Why would he even have a diving knife? Sir, are you a diver?”
It was at this point of time that colleague agreed to let me get on the plane with my knife/fork/spoon combination, and my potentially hidden diving knife.
The original staff member was still arguing that she had seen the knife on the x‑ray as I walked off towards the departure lounge.
My how airline travel has changed since the 90s.