Saturday, March 10, 2007

At least the flight down was nice - we had clear blue sky for the whole trip, and the air was smooth. The pax in the back were happy and content, and Kitsch's landing was of sufficient quality that we could use the airplane again afterwards, so it was all good.

We arrived around 1pm today, and taxied over to US Customs for clearance. The US Customs ramp we visited today is funny - you can taxi the airplane there, but it also holds cars, so we pulled up right next to a Customs SUV and then shut down to await our officers.

Customs has a special way of doing things here, a way that involves different forms and procedures than anywhere else I have ever been, so that was fun.

The customs officers asked "Do you have any food on board?"
"Yes, we have catered lunches for our passengers"
"Do they have any fruit or meat?"
"Then you'll have to throw them out."
"Okay, we were going to throw out the boxes when we got to the FBO"
"No, you have to throw them out in this designated bin"

The officer pointed to a bright red bin that was clearly too small to hold our used box lunches. So I stacked them on top of the bin, precariously like a Jenga puzzle, and that seemed to satisfy him.

We said goodbye to Customs, fired up the plane and taxied to to the FBO. We dropped off our pax and put the plane to bed. After that we took a courtesy car to a local restaurant for lunch, which was able to show me that it is actually possible to screw up corn on the cob.

Headed back to the FBO, and we saw a US Navy 737 coming in to great fanfare. They were bringing troops back from Iraq and there was a full police escort assembled to welcome them back. The FBO worker who gave us a ride to the main terminal said "Those are reserve troops. I am in the regular forces and I didn't get none of that when I came back from Iraq"

There was a full complement of bagpipers, with American flags affixed to their bagpipes like bayonets. I bet those soldiers felt relieved coming home.

We hitched a ride from the FBO to the main airport at the airport, and waited in line for 30 minutes before the non-smiling Air Canada lady told us we had to wait an additional 30 minutes before they'd let us check in. I told her that it would take us at least 30 minutes to go through the line again and she looked at me blankly, with lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes, chief.

Kitsch then remembered the ban on liquids and also remembered he had a whole bunch of expensive moisturizers and lotions in his bag, so he called the FBO, got a ride back to our jet and put his stuff on board for safekeeping. He hitched a ride back to the main terminal and arrived back here before I was done going through the line-up the second time. I laughed at him for forgetting about the liquid ban.

Oh yeah, the second time I lined up, it sucked. There were 2 people on duty and the line-up was over a hundred people by the time we got to the front. I asked the lady why there weren't more check-in people and she said "I couldn't even tell you", so I left her alone.

Why are we flying commercial anyway? We are flying back to Pearson on Air Canada because it it cheaper and more convenient for us to fly home for a week, then fly back to pick up our plane and passengers for the return leg.

Anyway, the non-smiling Air Canada lady gave us our boarding passes, and we went to line up for security. I forgot that we have to remove our shoes to go through the security station, and to my eternal shame I wore socks with holes in them. They double-checked my laptop, my Blackberry, and the contents of my laptop bag.

Now remember how I laughed at Kitsch for forgetting the ban on liquids?

The security guard pulled out my Leatherman Super Tool from my laptop bag and raised his eyebrow. A Leatherman is just like a Swiss Army knife, and I know they aren't allowed on carry-on. I have it my flight bag and it's proven useful over the years. Unfortunately I only brought my laptop bag on this trip because I didn't want to wait in Toronto for an hour tonight to pick up my checked bag. The TSA guy was helpful and apologetic; he said I could go back through the line and go to the Air Canada counter and ask them to check my Leatherman, but I didn't want to stand in line for a third time, so I gave up my Leatherman, which I have had since my first job at Northern Dene Airways in 1997.

We took the monorail to our gate, had some airport food, loaded up on the 321, then watched movies and ate sandwiches for the 2 hours and 40 minutes back to Toronto

So what happens to my Leatherman now?


Windsor said...

Going through security is such a pain in the ass.

Aluwings said...

I lost my Swiss Army knife in much the same manner. I asked where the stuff ends up that is confiscated - only got kind of a shrug.

amulbunny said...

It goes into a big grey bin like your trash can at home. Once a week some eagle eyed TSO will come and empty the bin and it goes to a secret location and never sees the light of day. You might find it on Ebay if the govt decides they need money to fund more projects like the TSA.

The lotions and stuff are donated to the VA according to what I've been told.

Anonymous said...

your eternal shame you had holes in the socks? I don't think so Sully my pet. Different coloured socks, socks that are barely more than a band at your ankles,socks of different vintages, shapes, materials, lengths...they are practically your trade mark.They got your authentic self.

Garrett said...

I seem to recall TSA selling the stuff by the pound a couple years ago on the eBay.

I think they should give you a token so you can pick a new knife at your destination. Sort of a dangerous goods exchange program.

Actually, I think they should do that with all luggage. You pack five days of luggage, check it when you get to the airport, and pick up some other dude's five days of luggage that he checked at your destination. Kindness unto others might force you to upgrade your sock collection...

But think about how wonderful it would be to have the opportunity to dress like someone else for a couple days. Leave Toronto business casual, arrive Vancouver as a pastafarian.

Sky Captain said...

Dude! Losing your Leatherman sucks A$$!!! As in my similar experience, about December 2001, which may have been my first flight post -apocrophyl Amerika. Somehow I had gotten to IAD without having had my crap absconded by der TSA. However, at departure, I managed to get completely shaken down and all things remotely pointy were thrown away. For the previous three years or so I had all the same stuff rolling around in my ubiquitous backpack, but now they were considered weapons of mass destruction. I came close to getting arrested because I didn't take to having my (mostly useless anyway) items taken away from me. I have a Leatherman I picked up during a stint in CMH which I had to pluck off my belt several times after that and have the airline handlers handle my weapon. Or perhaps I'd remember in time to stuff it into the suitcase. Sadly, it's now just relegated to my flight bag since it became too much trouble to keep it on my person.

Aviatrix said...

In Edmonton you can pay a dollar a day to have them hold it for you in an envelope.