Every Friday, FlyerTalk looks back at the week’s most charming individuals. While there are always plenty of contenders for our Worst Passenger of the Week award, only one lucky flyer can take home the glory. Here are this week’s winners.
The best way to hide contraband from TSA screeners might not be to hide that contraband inside of other contraband. This week the agency shared an Instagram post of a sword concealed inside of a cane that was confiscated at a security checkpoint at Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (CHA). This particular weaponized walking stick wasn’t likely to slip the notice of airport screeners due to a uniquely attention-grabbing design element. The handle of the cane/concealed sword was fashioned with a replica .50 caliber bullet as a handle.
The fact that the replica bullet contained a hidden compartment only compounded the futility of the rather perplexing attempt at subterfuge. Hopefully the seized carry-on item made a better ambulatory aid than it did a concealment device.
The TSA media team helpfully explained where the sneaky passenger ran afoul.
“While there was nothing hidden inside the replica .50 caliber bullet, there was a sword concealed within the cane,” the agency noted. “Both swords and replica bullets are not allowed in carry-on bags or on your person.”
Of course the sword-cane with an ammo-handle hidey-hole seems downright sensible compared to the tiny but potentially lethal folding handgun that a passenger at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) attempted to carry past airport security screeners this week. While the miniature-sized pistol doesn’t produce a telltale bulge when concealed under clothing, the weapon and several rounds of ammunition were apparently quite easy to identify in the passenger’s carry-on bag.
It seems almost as if U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents feel that a little bit of turnabout is fair play when it comes to making large amounts of money disappear during a shady dealings with mysterious Nigerian agents. A passenger from Nigeria arriving at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) on Monday lost a fortune in cash after allegedly misrepresenting the amount of US dollars he was bringing into the country.
Rather than yet another version of the most infamous scam in history (which almost involves actual Nigerians), the shoe was on the other foot in this case. According to the CBP, the unnamed arriving passenger declared that he was bringing $1,500 in cash into the country, but agents soon discovered an unreported $16,100 in bundled bills among his belongings.
Officials say that the passenger was not charged criminally, but agents did seize all of the undeclared cash. Adding insult to injury, the newly cash-strapped traveler was then denied entry into the country after the CBP “also determined the man to be inadmissible for not possessing a U.S. visitor’s visa appropriate for the purpose of his visit.” He was retuned to Nigeria on a later flight several thousand dollars lighter.
“The United States is a welcoming nation,” Baltimore CBP Area Port Director Dianna Bowman said of the large cash seizure. “All we ask is that visitors respect our nation’s laws and truthfully report all currency they possess during an inspection with a Customs and Border Protection officer.”
A passenger on an EasyJet flight stirred outrage this week after going public with the news that screeners at Newcastle International Airport (NCL) would not let her “pease pudding” past the security checkpoint. The resulting controversy sharply divided newspaper readers across Northern England, but in this case both sides of the debate seem to hold some merit.
As pease pudding is understood to be something of a Newcastle delicacy, the visiting passenger was understandably upset to find that she couldn’t take the North East treat home with her. Airport officials, however, quite reasonably point out that the hefty portion of pudding exceeded the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) limits on liquids, gels and pastes allowed as carry-on items.
Passenger Hellen Hook’s media campaign decrying the pease pudding discrimination suffered at the the hands of NCL officials had unfortunate consequences for anyone who still harbors a romantic notion about the pease porridge of nursery rhyme. Not since learning cloying jammy truth about Turkish delight have so many of us been exposed to the harsh truth about mysterious overseas foodstuff. Lokum, as Turkish delight is more aptly known, was shamelessly misrepresented in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as being so delicious that it led poor Edmund to betray Narnia and his entire family.
It looks as if pease porridge also falls well short of its storybook hype. A local media report graphically describes pease pudding as, “made using split peas that are turned into a sandy-colored spread […] usually spread on top of ham inside a stottie.”
There is of course a language barrier in play here and most yanks will never completely understand the nuances at play. It appears that while most all desserts are considered puddings not all puddings are desserts (or sound remotely appetizing). What a exactly a “stottie”is will require years’ more study.