This is by far the worst airport experience I’ve had (so far). I had an easyJet flight booked to London from Edinburgh yesterday night for 9:15pm. A couple of hours before I was due to depart, I received an update notifying me that my flight had been delayed by 90 minutes. So like any normal person, I moved forward my departure time from the hostel to the airport by 90 minutes.
Later that night, I arrive at Edinburgh airport all ready to check-in and make my way to London when I realize there’s no travel desk so I go to the help counter. I find that there is another man there on the same flight and me and we soon become informed that check-in has closed as we were supposed to check-in with the original departure time in mind. A little squabbling later I get a boarding pass but cannot put my check-in luggage through as they have closed the luggage drop. Great.
Now I find myself with my 70L backpack that I was supposed to check in wondering what the fuck I’m going to do with that and my carry-on bag. I think to myself fuck it, I’ll sneak it through or some shit.
I make my way through security pondering if my 15 year-old bottle of whisky, a supposed present for my brother, was going to make it through. Maybe I could pour the litre bottle into ten separate 100mL bottles…
I watch the bags go through the X-ray machine and the observe in great anticipation the decisive moment when the automated rollers decide whether the trays were clear to go through or had to be inspected.
One by one, all three trays I put through the machine get whisked off behind the poly carbonate shield as I watch in dismay. Fuck. I walk solemnly down to the inspection desk and I’m standing opposite the security staff with my belongings on the stainless steel top. He throws me the routine questions of “why are you trying to hijack this plane” and starts to rummage through my bag. All I can think about is the 40£ bottle of whisky all the way from the Glenlivet distillery.
Turns out I had a whole bunch of other stuff that set off some red flags in the scanner. Slowly a pile of contraband items accumulates as Graham (if I recall correctly) removes them from my bags. A six inch Swiss army locking blade, gross 2£ tingly shower gel, a camping gas canister, my tent pegs (for the second time FFS) and of course, the whiskey. Running through my mind was how incredibly ineffective tent pegs would be as a way of hijacking a plane.
“Everyone get down or I’ll secure you to the cabin floor!”
Anyways, I’m the only passenger in the security hall by this stage and there’s a whole bunch of contraband laid out in front of me and I look like the worst Asian terrorist ever. Like a comedy film playing itself out, except it was actually happening (to be fair, the gas canister I had completely forgotten about). The police are called around for the locking blade and I am reminded of Scottish hospitality again as the policeman comments with a laugh “Been camping hey?”, completely aware of the reality that I didn’t really intend to hijack a plane with a multi-purpose knife (or did I?)
It was a rather awkward situation with Graham, his supervisor, two police officers and me just standing about unsure of how to proceed. Of course at this point I had already explained my predicament with the check-in counter closing and thus having all this stuff that should have gone into the cargo hold. Everyone’s extremely friendly and helpful as the manager attempts to call the airline to see if they can chuck my bag (and whisky) into the cargo hold but of course, no one fucking answers (quality service, easyJet). I also learn that you can carry blades under 6cm onto a plane and that locking blades are illegal in the UK as they take it off for “destruction” (ooooh scary). I can only imagine my unopened, pristine 15 year whiskey was also taken off to “destruction” (see consumption). The policeman makes a report on his spiffy mobile electronic device on my blade and attempted hijacking, so I guess I’m on a watch list in the UK now or just added to the stats of “number of Australians bringing knives onto planes”.
The next part after now passing through security with a significantly lighter pack was getting through the gate with my 70L backpack AND my actual carry-on bag. I’m rearranging shit frantically in the line and set myself on clipping my carry on to my 70L bag so it looks like I’ve just got the one bag. This makes me a very long character as I have a bag, hanging off a bag at the back. Front on, I look normal. But take a side profile and I look like a camel. But I was counting on the gate clerks just looking front on.
Alas! I get through and now I get on the plane. I feel like a ninja getting all my shit on the plane. I’m in the aisle seat and two Scots people are my fellow lane bandits (AKA passengers) and upon learning that Jennifer had missed her flight to Budapest by 1 hour, a flight she had booked 2 months earlier (the irony is not lost), and had to buy new tickets. That made me feel a little better that losing a bottle of whiskey and my terrorist knife was not such a bad deal in comparison. Ends up being the most talkative flight I’ve been on, reminding me that Scottish people are indeed the most friendly people I’ve encountered on my travels!
Then I return to London where everyone is visibly miserable, hurrah!
Moral of the story? Fuck you easyJet.