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Rodney: I would like to fly to Chicago and can you send my luggage to L.A please!
Check in: Sorry sir we cant do that service on this airline."
Rodney: You did last week!
With Heathrow and the like facing meltdown at the peak of the Easter holiday season, many of us will be dreading (or still calming down from a very bad travel experience last year), its time to get 'tooled up' for the departure lounge experience awaiting. Londonís airports are a nightmare with the terror threat all of us will get very ratty. And it seems BAA (the British Airport Authorities) are going to cash in on that painful waiting around by making us spend ever increasing hours in their airports, emptying the concessions, doing shopping we really donít want to do, spending money on things we never intended to. If I didnít know any better I would say they are quite enjoying this endless post 911 paranoia.
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Two sets of identical luggage wouldnít be a bad idea. They are loosing so much of it these days even the terrorists donít bother putting bombs in suit cases or freight anymore. I read in the broadsheets about these luggage auctions, where unclaimed cases of 6 months or more can be sold their, ebay traders and all sorts going along looking to pick up some of the bargains from unopened cases, mysterious and exciting in its own little way. Although the money goes to charity there has been huge increase in the business of lost cases and the goodies inside, mainly due to new terror legislation that means passengers put all their goodies in the baggage hold o the plane now. Some cases are now turning up at these places that have only been lost for 3-4 weeks, the contents soon rifled though by the auction house staff, then bought and dispatched to all corners of East London.
The bags go for between £5 and £50; the most popular being outward bound ones for obvious reasons, the inward bounds (dirty washing!) usually going for peanuts. But those bags can hold personal and material passions, punters queuing up at these places to take your belongings away to see what they can scavenge. As impersonal and intrusive as it sounds the mystery of someoneís suitcase becoming your legal property is an intriguing thought. Who knows whatís in there? Incriminating or not. Wouldnít you like to find
Pictures of Member Advice on What to take on Holiday
the McCannís lost luggage? ------- TWO -------
Donít bother taking anything you can buy in duty-free. Isnít it amazing that these new anti terror laws can strip a little old lady of her nail scissors and tea flask at the check-in desk, yet she can replace them all in the duty free shop, and then get on the plane rearmed! Iím confused why a broken Scotch whisky bottle from the duty free trolley on the plane isnít an offensive weapon to a terrorist!!! And how do we know the employees of the said shops arenít able to plant the materials required for these absurd water bottle bombs in the wrong hands boarding the plane? Hardly anyone got convicted from that airport plot from 2006 and maybe this is all a scam to keep us worried and spending money in BAA shops on site in our nations packed airports. Grrrrrr!
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Donít take anything breakable. I worked on the luggage belts in Brisbane airport whilst backpacking out there and Ďspeed not careí was the order of the day. Iím sure some of the guys got off from slamming down the bags or trying to land them on the belts from a great distance away to pass the day. Petty crime in the guts of the airport is nothing new and a lot of stuff is stolen. A good percentage of bags that go missing are stolen by organized crime, something I quickly learnt about in Brisbane, my Lebanese work buddy informing which bags were most likely to disappear or be ripped open. One tip would be do not take leather or designer cases as they are first to be targeted and so produce the most booty!
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Try not to take a car to the airport. Heathrow parking costs are unreal and often cost as much as the flight to park for one week on site. The car valet services are not much better and who knows what the guys do with your car and keys when youíre away in Tuscany. Some airports even charge extra feeís if your flight is delayed by a significant wait and itís not unusual for cars to be towed away to the pound if you donít pay promptly.
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Patience! Bring spades of it as you will be kept waiting for everything. For some reason although the terror threat is clearly Muslim/ethnic minority they wont introduce racial profiling for searches yet.
'Terror Rageí is the latest angst to hit the nationís airports as those little old grannies are pulled over to be searched, just in case she has a rocket launcher in the granny bag. The Irish were searched in the seventies and eighties and had to live with that inconvenience and now the Muslims need to play along. If they do and accept they are the bulk of the searches then the queues get moving and we all get to where we need to be. As I sais at the moment it just seems like ploy to keep people waiting around the airports and spending cash in those Tie Racks.
------ SIX ------
Airport and road protesters! I wouldnít mind putting them on a military Hercules transport and fly them off to a third world country that is gagging for that progress we call pollution. Why do students and those middle-class types want to spend their summer holidays messing everyone around with all this direct action nonsense. Itís almost if they are against modern living and peopleís democratic lives, aimless protests over airports and bypasses causing all manner of congestion they are supposed to be trying to stop, rather ironically.
If I was on my summer holidays from college I would be resoectful to my parents and earn enough money to clear those booming student debts the parents have to use all their resources to meet on top of the booming mortgage payments. Thereís a certain arrogance about the hippies and crusty types that dress like the poor in these protest camps, purely there to mess up everyone elseís fun, using the disposable income (from their 'trustiferians' dads) to protest against the corporations their parents work for to put them in the best schools and universities!.
The Heathrow protesters are there just to Ďget it out of their systemí before they too will become the middle - class wage slaves having to catch those flights. I wonder how they will feel in twenty years time when they canít catch their plane because of some sociology student showing off in silly wigwams. In their defense I donít think its right the police use anti-terror legislation to stop them protesting though. The reason this legislation was bought in, for me, is more likely to be about protecting big corporations from protesters than catching Muslim extremists. Security inside airports for staff is pretty poor and the baggage guys could easily get a bomb in the hold.
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Head cushions! Unless you in first class on a 747 no one can fall asleep on a plane or coach on a long haul. It is hell trying to catch any sleep time. My longest trip was 36 hours across Australia where I used a small inflatable horseshoe type thing that helped, sometimes getting me off quicker than an episode of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps (I think its that way around), but more often that not, not. If one doesnít sleep on a coach or plane it can mess up the first couple of days of the holidays. And if your not sleepy you can lend it to the person next too you if they are talking too much.
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For long haul flights an upgrade would be nice. I once managed to get first- class from Joburg to England by purchasing one of those press style waistcoats with loads of pockets, pretending to be a proper journo. Another good blag is to get to the desk early and chat up the girls, and then make your excuses not to check-in at that point and come back later. Itís also a good idea to ask them where to stay on the other end of the flight as they often tell you the stewardess accommodation, of which they get expenses in. They remember your sweet little face and you increase the chances of an upgrade. It does work as it has twice for me, once with very pleasurable results in the Sydney Sheraton. Boy those stewardess and captains can drink!
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The sneaky banning of liquid bottles over 100ml means you have to buy everything on the plane or in duty-free. Again itís another rip-off to make punters buy drinks in the shops and on the planes. Drink either end or sit near the hostesses, using your charm to get free beers (see pretty little face comment).
------ TEN ------
If itís not a family holiday we are usually going away to try and get laid. I suspect a good percentage of us staid Brits get the bulk of our casual sex away from home and on our hols. English girls abroad go through an extraordinary transformation after a few Sambucas!
English condoms are the best make as we have very low intrinsic rates of AIDS and sexual diseases here. Most HIV cases are imported to the UK so once you leave these shores its much more prevalent, especially outside of the original continental Europe. DO NOT TAKE A RISK GUYS, however cute she or he is. Always be aware of women that are forward in Eastern Europe as it can be scam to lift your belongings, my mate getting done recently like this in Bulgaria. As much as GB seems old fashioned it is a very safe place compared to the rest of the world.