It started when we, as a team, planned to carry our ice skates on board. We had arranged it ahead of time, and we each had gone out and purchased little locks to put on our bags, at the request of the airline. We had letters stating that we were athletes and we were allowed to bring them on, so long as they stayed locked. Well, for some reason when we got there they just weren't going for it, so we were forced to check them.
In my skatebag, I had an aerosol can of shoe polish, for painting my boots the appropriate "bark" color - everyone on the team uses this stuff. I remembered that I'd been told those cans sometimes explode in the cargo area, and I'd forgotten to put it in a ziplock bag like I usually do. Not wanting it to explode all over my skates and clothes, I pulled it out, and put it into an outer mesh pocket of my bag. That way, if it exploded, it'd just be on everyone's luggage, not my belongings.
Well the woman checking bags pulled it out, starting to tell me it had to go inside the bag. Then she looked at it and said, "Oh wait, this is highly flammable, you can't take it on the plane." I held my hand out, and she gave it to me, pointing to where it said "Highly Flammable!"
I nodded, opened my backpack, and started putting it in asking, "Okay, can I take it carryon?" Watching me packing it, she said no, it was highly flammable, and wasn't allowed on the plane at all. I didn't stop packing it into my bag, adjusting the contents so everything fit nicely. "Okay, thanks." I walked away with my bag and boarding pass, and she didn't say anything.
I didn't want to tell her how many of those little cans she had already allowed aboard the plane, because each member of my team has one stashed in her bag somewhere. I also had no intention of not taking mine, if I could help it.
My next stop was the security metal detector. I got a little bit nervous about the can in my bag, so I pulled it out and stuck it in my coat pocket, pulling the zipper closed so it wasn't visible. I put my bag onto the x-ray queue, intending to wear my coat through. But everyone else was removing their coats, so I removed mine as well and put it behind my bag. Both items made it through the x-ray without being stopped.
When I got aboard the plane, I realized that I'd forgotten to remove the little pocket knives which I generally keep with my keys. I have two, one attached to each set of keys. Last time I flew, I left them at home. This time though, I completely forgot about them, so they were both on my keyrings, in that same backpack which had just eased its way through x-ray.
We weren't allowed to bring our locked skatebags aboard. One of my teammates was stopped and thoroughly searched twice. Anybody whose shoes beeped were forced to remove them for x-ray. My grandmother, who is eighty-four years old, was not allowed to carry on her nailclippers when she flew out to visit earlier; they were confiscated.
I, on the other hand, was allowed aboard the airplane armed to the teeth, with two pocket swiss army knives, one for each hand, plus a can of highly flammable skate polish.
So....now do you feel safe to travel???