I‘ve been putting the packing activity off forever until the last minute. I have piled everything I know I am taking home in the bedroom corner for days, but every time I wanted to start, I just couldn’t be bothered. Plus I’ve got zillion things to do in the last minute, as usual. This comes from someone who claims that she’s organized. D’oh.
But finally I’ve done it. I finished it a couple of hours a go, and I’m ready for flying back home at tomorrow’s first flight. Since this time is special because I’m having a do in August, I come back with so many things I buy from here. I pray that Indonesian custom wouldn’t check my luggage, because along 6 pieces of paper napkins with tartan motif and the fabric from curtain leftover which I plan to make tiebacks out of it, I have too many things they would consider strange. Like two handbags but almost non-existent clothes. Yeah, yeah, I’m weird.
Since the airport and airline security are tightened more than ever, I reluctantly went to check on each airline’s regulation and Aberdeen airport regulation, just to make sure that my suitcase is according to the airline regulation, and check how many hand bags I can carry to cabin. Early this month my friend Tamara, who is traveling to Rome, NY, Las Vegas, San Fransisco and God knows where else, told me a disturbing news that she, a first class passenger, is only allowed to carry 23 kg luggage! So I have to check whether my allowance is shrunk to be probably 5kg, but thank God, it’s still the same, otherwise I have to say goodbye to Tunnock’s Teacake…
I‘ve learned from my previous experience that airport prefers us to pass the security check naked if they could apply such regulation, so they try to strip us off as much as they can. And after so many embarrassing incidents, I know better, if not all, tricks to keep my dignity intact in the airport and during the journey. I don’t dream to get off the plane looking fantastic like Angeline Jolie, but at least I hope my hair is still in place and my face isn’t swollen and I don’t look like a bag lady.
And here’s what I’ve found so far:
- Don’t wear boots. They would ask you to take them off. Unlike American airports which always ask people to take their shoes off, Amsterdam, for example doesn’t apply such rule, unless you are seen wearing boots. Imagine the scene of a tiny Indonesian girl with two hands full of a bright green suitcase and an oversize handbag trying to take her knee high boots and finding a balance at the same time. With impatient people waiting behind. Not pretty. Plus, your boots might look excellent in winter countries but once you land in a tropical country like Singapore, you’d look like a lost hooker. Believe me. I’ve been there.
- As there’s always a chance that they’d ask you to take your shoes off, you might want to wear socks rather than going commando – I mean, bare feet – if you’re hygiene freak and consider the airport floor yucky. If you decide to wear socks, wear a nice pair. Nothing more embarrassing than having the security guard asked you to take your shoes off and everybody could see your toes peeping from your sad socks.
- Better to wear slip-on shoes. Easy to take them off, as you wouldn’t let the people behind you waiting for you taking your shoelace or buckle off.
- Beware of smelly feet. Make sure when you take your shoes off, the sniffer dog wouldn’t think it finds illegal herbs.
- Forget accessories. Unless you wear gemstones (see, there’s a reason why women love diamonds), or something non-metal, leave your bangles and necklace in your jewel bag in the luggage. The will ask to take your belt off too, so you might want to consider wearing something that can hang still on your hips without your belt on.
- Forget beauty tip of taking your water bottle everywhere so you can achieve 8-glasses-a-day target. They wouldn’t let you, and sometimes you’re lucky to find a vending machine in the boarding room. If you can’t, it means you’re at the flight attendant’s mercy. Singapore Airlines is good as they distribute drink every few hours. KLM will leave you dry no matter how polite or how rude you ask. Good luck.
- Women, forget the urge to compete with flight attendants in beauty department. They can carry full make-up bags. You are only allowed to take your beauty secret liquids in 20×20 cm bag. Just carry the essential, and hope you don’t bump into Brad Pitt or your ex-boyfriend along the way.
- If you travel alone, never, and I repeat, never, carry a suitcase which you couldn’t lift up to your overhead cabin. For years I have had always someone helped me. With a little bit of smile and a helpless look, there’s always some guy who likes to be my saviour and lift my baggage up to the overhead cabin. But my last trip back home from Amsterdam, this damn Spanish couple just looked at me whilst I was struggling to lift my green suitcase up, and the guy only asked, “do you need a hand?” while he was sitting on the window side without even move. Bastard. Or maybe his girlfriend’s fingernails were deeply dug in his arms because he stared too hard at my, ahem, chest. Forget the flight attendants too. They’re not porters. Their manicured hands aren’t trained for dirty jobs.
- It’s a good thing to bring at least some underwear and other essentials in your hand carry baggage. There’s a chance your luggage gets lost somewhere in the air, and you are left without anything unless clothes that stick on your body at the moment. So anything in your hand baggage can come to the rescue. It has happened to me several times especially if I used two airlines on my journey and the counter assistant was not too brilliant, and I was left with no clothes for a day or two.