Tuesday, May 23, 2006

How we got to Microsoft, Vol 3

Well, the hard stuff wasn't really over. We had an 8:40 flight to SeaTac. With an 18 month old daughter, and three firearms in our bags. We got to the airport later than planned (of course), at about 7:45. My plan had been to have our stuff all checked, and be meeting Courtney’s family at 7:45, so we could spend a half hour or so with them.

Courtney had spent some time the before we packed, researching the topic of traveling with firearms in your checked baggage. She discovered that we were supposed to put our weapons in their original case, unloaded, and lock the suitcase (not the weapon or case). We had this all set up a couple of days before we were flying.

When we got to the airport, I told the lady at the counter (in very hushed tones) that we had firearms in our bags. She reacted by shouting (at the top of her lungs) “Well then, you’ll have to put this bright orange firearms declaration paper in your bag”. All of the nearby passengers started squirming, and eyeing us. Not the most comfortable of moments. So here I am, already running late, digging through our carryon crap to find the keys to the bags, so I can open the bags and put the forms inside them. Then the lady tells us (again at a volume where the pilot could probably hear from inside the plane) that we had to put the forms inside the gun cases, not just inside the bags. This requirement made no sense to me, since any reasonably intelligent person would have deduced that there were firearms in the bag after seeing the black Glock pistol case, and before opening it, to read the firearms declaration form. The Day-Glo orange declarations form. That chick made me really uncomfortable.

Finally, though, we are all checked in to the flight. We start hustling to Starbucks, where we are going to pick up our kid, and meet Courtney’s family. By the time we get done checking in, and get down there, we only have like 5 minutes to visit, since the security line is getting backed up. We said our goodbyes, and grabbed our squirmy worm. She woke up early, so she was already grumpy (This was my decision; I thought the tired baby would be more likely to sleep on the plane). On to security.

Surprisingly, security was pretty much a breeze. One side note: When I was in Okinawa, one of my roommates worked for this guy, Chief Warrant Officer III Lahey. Gunner Lahey was in charge of the Battalion Motor Pool. All of the mechanics and ‘professional’ drivers in the battalion answered to him. Turns out, he’s now working for the TSA, at the Jacksonville airport. I believe he is a supervisor, since every time I saw him; he was supervising, not checking people.

Once through security, we thought we were home free. Silly parents. In the past year, I have been on about 10 flights. None of them has been delayed more than 15 minutes. Not our Detroit flight. There was some weather over the Antarctic Ocean or somewhere, the night before, and the flight attendants for our flight were delayed. They didn’t get the federally mandated 8 hours of rest, so we couldn’t fly out on time. We were delayed for about an hour, while they rounded up another flight crew (from North Carolina). That was a hellish hour. The airport was packed, and Mik was bored and tired. Not a good combination. We chased her around the airport for over an hour before we got to get on the plane. Now, she’s wide awake, having fun, bored, and tired.

Needless to say, the flights were not enjoyable. But, we made it, and we got to SeaTac on time. The rental car and luggage went as smoothly as those things ever go, and we were on our way (to temporary housing, that is).


Courtney said...

You forgot to mention how during that hell hour, the NWA people start pagin my name and telling me to report to the desk. I stand up to walk over to the desk so of course EVERYONE was staring. They then proceed to tell me that my firearms were not locked in my bag and that security will be up here momentarily. So, by now, there are about 45 people staring at me looking very uncomfortable. Firearms and airplanes just don't mesh well. Even though the firearms are in a gun case, in the locked suitcase, unloaded, separated from ammunition in the cargo area of the plane. I wait at the desk a little while for security to get there and get the keys to the suitcases. Apparently, they don't want the suitcases locked, they want the gun locked. Well, we only had two locks and three firearms. They ended up just using one lock for two of the firearms. This goes completely against their own policy:

Northwest accepts handguns, BB guns, rifles, and shotguns as checked luggage, with certain limitations and requirements. Northwest accepts one of the following in lieu of one piece of luggage included in the free luggage allowance:

One (1) rifle case containing no more than two (2) rifles, one (1)shooting mat, one (1) noise suppressor and tools.
Two (2) shotguns in two (2) cases considered as one (1) item.
One (1) pistol case containing no more than five (5) handguns, one (1) scope, one (1) noise supressor and tools.

In addition to one (1) of the above items, Northwest accepts small arms ammunition up to a maximum of 11 pounds (5 kg). Guns and ammunition may be in the same piece of luggage. However, ammunition must be within its own packaging.

Northwest accepts firearm, handguns, and ammunition under the following conditions:
All firearms must be packed in a crush-proof container manufactured specifically for firearms or in a hard-sided suitcase. Hard-shell gun cases can be purchased at domestic airports.
Ammunition must be in the manufacturer's original packaging or a container specifically designed for ammunition. Ammunition with explosive or incendiary projectiles will not be accepted.
Passengers must verbally declare the firearm is unloaded. Northwest requires a passenger to sign a firearm unloaded tag and include it inside of luggage containing a firearm. No exterior tag or notice of firearm may appear on the case.

Luggage containing firearms must be locked and only the passenger may retain the key or combination. Airline personnel will not unload or handle firearms.

In the end, everything worked out and people stopped paying attention. Maybe the fact that we were chasing after a toddler, making monster noises and carrying 100lbs worth of baby shit might have helped. Then again, thay should have pointed out that we were the crazy ones :)

Anonymous said...

your a punk!

Anonymous said...

I hope that's meant to be a joke!!!! If not why call her a punk?

Cullen Waters said...

Well, that wasn't me that made the punk comment. Unlike some other people, I always put my name on my comments.

Mindy/aka/Nana said...

I will type it outloud then.
Still the name "punk" was uncalled for unless I don't get the meaning.

Courtney said...

Guys....just chill. IT was probably just someone who accidently came across the blog. I didn't take offense because 1) it was a joke or 2) they're Dee Dee Dee

mindy/aka/nana said...

Alrighty then.....

Anonymous said...

wow, just a joke, meant for cullen, guess who!

Courtney said...


Anonymous said...

Not Brod but close

Courtney said...


Anonymous said...

It was NOT Brod. I, I mean, HE would not type such a thing as a joke. Here's a hint Cullen and Courtney, the culprit "owns a blow dryer"

Cullen Waters said...

I only know one sucker that uses a blow dryer. What a sissy thing to do. Blow dry your hair, right before shoving it into a helmet, which is going to get all sweaty and nasty anyway.

Now who's the punk?