A rainy dark Dutch day, mirrored in events (from local to global):
- My post-holiday battle to get below 78 kg again by diet and exercise is frustratingly stalled at 79 kg,
- My long drive to Utrecht to return a Christmas gift at ANWB yielded only a store credit, costing me an additional 2 hours and 2.40 euro for parking,
- I've found out that the US government entity that oversees the airlines, the TSA, has tellingly renamed itself from the Transportation Safety Administration to the Transportation Security Administration.
However, the bright counterpoint came from British Airways. Starting January 1, the one-carryon rule is being lifted for UK flights. *Finally* This is a great way to start 2008, with a sensible return to being able to carry two items onto an airplane.
Just last month, while in England, I made my annual trip to Marks & Spencer to pick up my Christmas Pudding and Mince Pies (with Brandy-Butter topping). But I forgot the one-bag rule and, standing in the easyJet line Stansted, realized that there was no way to consolidate the goodies into my full shoulder bag (already filled with clothes and computer, thus evading the 5 GBP bag charge).
Nothing to be done but to try to sneak by the screener, turning and juggling to try to keep my plastic M&S bag out of her sight. It might have worked, or she might have been distracted with trying to decide whether the Brandy Butter sauce was liquid or gel, or it just might have been a stray whisp of Christmas spirit, but she let me pass.
Otherwise, though, I've been told to stuff everything into my shoulder bag or leave it behind. This change is going to make life much easier on frequent trips across the Channel. Specifically, the new rule is:
· One bag no bigger than 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (22 inches x 17.5 inches x 9.85 inches) (including wheels, pockets and handles)
· A maximum weight of 23kg per bag, and you must be able to lift the bag into the overhead lockers in the aircraft cabin unaided
· In addition, one briefcase or laptop sized bag
The exception will, unfortunately but not surprisingly, be easyJet. They plan to maintain the "One-Bag" rule to "minimize confusion".
Photo credit kendrive