Company Helps Air Travelers Retrieve Banned Items

from the get-back-your-pocketknife dept

After September 11th, I’ve always been very careful to remove the pocketknife I normally use a keychain before I travel by plane anywhere. I’ve heard some people recommend that you bring a self-addressed, stamped envelope with you, just in case you accidentally packed a “banned” item in your carry-on luggage. Now, a small company has realized that this is a problem they can fix. They’re offering self-service mailboxes placed near security checkpoints at airports that will allow people to mail themselves their banned objects – for $6 an item. Right now, only two airports are offering the boxes, but it sounds like others are interested. The airports get 10% of the revenue, though, that’s probably going to be quite a bit less than all the money they were making selling confiscated goods on eBay.

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Comments on “Company Helps Air Travelers Retrieve Banned Items”

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Kevin says:

Anecdote about airport security

Just figured I would add this in:

I recently flew from Detroit to Taipei with a layover in Osaka, Japan. Once we got off of the plane in Osaka, they had EVERYONE on the plane (even those people that were staying in Osaka) go through Security again before they could go on.

I bought a leatherman-type folding pliers about 5 years ago, and hadn’t seen it in a long time and I figured it was lost. Japanese security found it in my bag in Osaka. I’ve traveled with my bag a bit, and I’ve probably gone through security at a half-dozen US airports with that pair of folding pliers in my bag since September 11th. It worries me that nobody caught it before.

Now, relating to your story, the Japanese had what I think to be the best solution to the problem. They took my pliers (and a couple of small screwdrivers that they also found hiding in my bag), put it in a little box for me, and then checked the box as baggage for me.

– Kev

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Anecdote about airport security

Yeah, the Japanese are pretty detail oriented. One thing you might want to remember is that there were several successful hijackings of Japanese aircraft with sissor/pen knife armed hijackers a few years prior to 9/11. In response, international air traverlers are screened by a private security service, which adds about $30 to $40 to the cost of departure (which is good, because you don’t get the minimum wage, ex-con flunkies feeling up your pregnant wife for kicks type of “security” personnel as seen in the US). The only reason that the service hasn’t been extended to domestic flights has to do with the volume of traffic they would have to screen and potential consumer backlash at the added cost.

In general, I feel safer on a Japanese domestic airline flight that using *any* other form of vehicular transportation. If it weren’t for the crappy American aircraft (pressure hulls blowing up, engins failing, etc.), their safety record would be just about perfect.

A couple of personal data points:

I keep a pair of medical sissors in my shaving kit. Security was actually able to find these and pulled them out. After evaluating the threat, they simply told me to not remove them from my bag in filight.

I was pulled aside a few weeks after 9/11 and had my picture taken for overstaying my visa by one day (it happened to be a long month and when I ordered the tickets I told the clerk 3 months instead of 90 days).

I have been asked to stop using my GPS/Laptop/PDA when flying on domestic flights. Ok, so I was mapping our exact position and knew our heading, altitude and airspeed, but hey, I was pointing out significant landmarks to some of the passengers (something that Japanese pilots rarely do).

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