Yep, that’s right, this is what security workers at Gatwick airport thought about my nice, red dressage whip, which weighs about 300 gr. But let’s take the story from the beginning.
I set off from Nottingham to Gatwick at 13:00 GMT to fly home. After saying bye to everyone, my only thought was the five hours on the coach, four-hour flight, and two-hour road trip I had ahead of me.
I arrived at the airport quite early (two hours or so before the flight) and went to the luggage drop-off, carrying my 60 cm. schooling whip and planning initially to take it to the cabin with me, as I had done in the past. While the lady who worked for AEGEAN AIRLINES was weighing my luggage, I said, “Actually, could you add this whip, please?” “No”, she said, “it might break on the belt”. So, what could I do, I kept carrying it around.
I spent most of my waiting time going to the bathroom (and explaining to the little kid there what this long thing I carry does) and sorting out my liquid stuff, which had spread all over my hand luggage. Early enough, I walked through the control point (you know, the spot where you put everything except for your own self into baskets). Suddenly, I saw one of the staff saying to her colleague that my whip was a “threat”. I defended myself saying that I’d taken my whip on board before and that a schooling whip made of threads was not actually a threat. No luck, though, and they insisted on the bin-or-belt dilemma. And they told me to go back to the aviators area to hand in my cute stick. Which meant spending time on my way there.
And so, I ran to the wicket I had been before, to find out it was not staffed! The lady who had checked me finally appeared and I explained to her I had to hand in the whip. At first, she was not very satisfied with my choice, but since I insisted on risking breaking the whip that was mainly made of threads and only weighted 300 gr, she decided to assist me and, to my luck she said that I wouldn’t have to pay any extra monies. But I would have to hand it to the over-sized luggage people. But, wait, where’s that? In my anxiety, I couldn’t find it, so I spent a good 20 mins searching for that, spot, which was around 15 metres away! She said, “you’ll find it next to Thomas Cook counters”. But I couldn’t see a thing! Finally, I found it. I gave it to three good men there and left, while they are still examining it curiously, and I only wished that they would remember to send it to the right place. And kinda fast, because I was late already.
I began to race like crazy carrying my hand luggage along the airport. Passed through that annoying control area again, ran through the duty-free shops (the biggest in the world for shopaholic travelers and the biggest obstacle in the world for those who just want to catch their flight). I don’t remember how many people I raced past in the corridors. All I remember is an open gate empty of passengers and two guards waiting to see my passport. And yeap! I was in, just before the embarrassing moment when your name is heard throughout the airport from the speakers.
So yep, I always add some drama to my journeys and this one was no different. Because someone thought there is enough room in the passenger cabin of a Boeing-737 for me to ever be able to use the whip to harm people. Or because they believed I had nothing better to do than beating air-stewards on the butt. How annoying.
PS: The cute red one at the bottom of the pic. here is my whip. The handle provides enough grip to break in cockpits and beat hard 250 people simultaneously, while the whole item just short enough for one to use to achieve an effective attack inside the cabin. I’m being sarcastic, of course.