Friday, August 11, 2006

Carry on

While I am taking great pains not to have anything political in this blog, I can't ignore current events if they directly impact the kinds of planning we would need to do to mount one of our 100 Pound DXpeditions. Recent arrests in Britain in connection to a plot to smuggle explosives on to a commercial airliner fall into this category, especially since this has prompted airlines and air security agencies to make fundamental changes in the rules for carry-on baggage.
Here is a note from the American Airlines web site regarding recent changes:

"Effective immediately, no liquids or gels of any kind will be permitted at the security checkpoints or in carry-on baggage. This includes all beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, tooth paste, hair gel, perfumes and other items of similar consistency. This policy also includes liquid and gel products purchased as duty free. All liquid and gel items must be placed in checked baggage only. Customers may carry-on approved electronic devices such as personal computers, electronic games, and cell phones, except when traveling from or thru the United Kingdom."

The current restrictions still allow personal electronics which, for us, might mean either radio equipment or computers. But, that is only if you are not traveling to, or through, the United Kingdom. Several thoughts come to mind immediately:
  1. If I was going through the UK, what would I do with my computer? Check it? In what? Do I need to get a whole separate Pelican case for my laptop now? Plus, limits for checked baggage in Europe are even more onerous than in the US or other places. Is this even practical?

  2. Will these restrictions be extended to beyond travel through the UK?

  3. How long until restrictions prohibiting any electronic items as carry-on items are instituted? No iPod, no DVD player, no more getting work done on the laptop during those long cross-country trips. Egad!

I have no answers and no profound wisdom to offer on this. I only make the observation that these changes, and perhaps some that follow, will affect the planning we must do to get our equipment safely to our destination. The option of carrying on the most delicate of our equipment helps make the 100 pound weight limit viable. Denying us that severely limits our options.


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