Tentacles of intrusive government

I like this cartoon from this week’s Economist:


It’s good timing because today the security nazis at the airport  stopped me from taking a back pack – with  3 wheels – onto the plane.

Before I have a moan about them, let me tell you about my amazing scooter!

You may know, I suffer from arthritis in my left hip. One of the things that is becoming a bit of a drag is walking around the city or airports.

So, when I saw this little baby advertised a couple of weeks, I snapped one up!

Above:  The Micro/Samsonite scooter bag

It’s a little beauty.  I can glide from place to place so much more comfortably, and the best bit is, it’s a high quality scooter, so you don’t feel like you are constantly at risk of disaster.

Last week I had the policewoman who decided I needed to stand in the rain instead of use part of an obnoxiously-placed and vacant red carpet on a public street.

This week, I scooted to security at the airport, folded up the scooter contraption and put the bag on the x-ray.

They stopped me and said I couldn’t take it through to airside.

“Really?  Why not?”, I asked.

“Not allowed”

I explained that in addition to it being a bag, I needed it for help with my own transport.

“Ah – a mobility device?”

“Yes – that’s it – A MOBILITY device”

Well after I spoke to the nice chap at the  X-ray I was taken to the supervisor.  And the supervisor rang his supervisor.

And for 5 minutes they ummmed and ahhhed about whether this was legal or not.

And eventually they told me they would let me though “this time” and suggested I get a doctor’s certificate.

OK here comes the moan….

WTF?

Why shouldn’t anyone be able to take a “scooter bag” on a plane?

I looked up the list of prohibited items,

There are certain items that you are not allowed to take in your carry-on baggage because they present a security risk. Prohibited items include sporting goods, kitchen utensils, tools, and other things with sharp edges or points capable of injuring someone. If you are not sure whether an item is prohibited or not; check with your airline, pack it in your checked baggage or leave it at home.

You will be required to surrender any prohibited items you are carrying before you board the flight. Airports and airlines are under no obligation to store or return surrendered items.

Given the considerable enhancement of aviation security in recent years, the Australian Government will remove the following items from the PI list, with effect from 25 December 2009:

Umbrellas with metal points;
Knitting and crochet needles;
Pointed metal nail files (including nail clippers);
Corkscrews; and
Racquets used in squash, tennis, badminton or any other sport.

Above:  Can’t see how a scooter should be banned – unless it is classed as capable of use as a weapon or as part of this vague “discretion” line.

Then I want to the relevant legislation…

12.6 If the goods do not meet the classification criteria as a DG, or if the ICAO TIs declare that the item is “not restricted”, then the item is not a DG and can be taken by passengers in their checked-in or carry-on baggage.

So – again – on what basis would you refuse a scooter bag to be carry on  baggage?
(Stop Press: The Virgin hostie just slipped me a free beer before landing.  Customer. For. Life.)

So why the hell was i stopped for carrying a bag with 3 wheels instead of 2?

And on what basis do the security guards get to decide you can’t take a scooter in a bag onto the plane?
The constant supervision and infringement of my freedom by government and their agencies bugs me,

….Oooh  a single free beer just made everything okay again….

PS – speaking of tentacles of government, what up with Conroy and the government/AFP wanting to have telcos holding detailed data of your web browsing data for 2 years!  What a joke – why should this happen?

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