It was bound to happen

There are numerous establishments in India that ask men and women to enter (and generally be scanned or wanded) through separate entrances. Our local shopping mall is one, women to the left, men to the right.  Many of these places have separate, curtained off booth that women enter if they require a more intense scanning, which is generally just a quick scan with the wand. I assume that the practice is to protect the modesty of the women, but I am not really all that modest, so I find it a little inconvenient, mostly because the women’s line is always much slower than the men’s.

All of the airports that I have been through in India follow this practice when it comes to security screening.  You can enter the airport with a companion (or stranger, really) of the opposite gender, but you must segregate for screening purposes. This has bothered me each time that I travel, as it means that my belongings are left on the scanning belt and processed quite quickly, where I step away from it to wait in line to be waved through to the curtained booth to be scanned and have my boarding card examined, then step the pickup location and gather my belongings.  This process takes at least three minutes, and has been longer than ten minutes (especially if I have a lil with me, they tend to charm the scanners).  My belongings, which frequently include my camera and all my lenses, and the various iThings that I carry, would be both difficult and expensive to replace while I am hear.  I would hate to have someone accidentally or maliciously walk away with my gear.

Willy travels more often than I do (Mumbai this week), and I know that this bothers him too.  There seems to be little effort made to reunite travellers with their belongings, as he found out this morning.  He took a flight that left Mumbai at dawn, so he was being processed through security really, really early.  He was held up after depositing his belongings because his web check-in boarding card was missing a stamp from the airport.  When he got though, his bag and his laptop were the only items left at the end of the conveyor belt.  He grabbed them and got on his flight.

When he landed he hopped in a cab and headed to the office.  As he got close, he pulled out his laptop to get things started on his day and realized that it wasn’t his laptop at all.  Apparently a person that made it through the line up faster grabbed the wrong laptop and flew off to who knows where. Willy started to get stressed, trying to figure out how he was going to either get his laptop back, or rebuild all the data onto a new laptop. As luck would have it, the owner’s name, company name and employee ID were accessible from the login information, and his company was quickly contacted. Unfortunately, he and Willy’s laptop were in Hyderabad.

Willy is now on his way home from the airport, having flown to Hyderabad and back today. A waste of a day, but he is lucky to have gotten it back relatively painlessly. As a result, I know that I will be watching and checking my belongings just a little closer when I travel in the future.

Category: India, life | 5 comments

  • Ooh, I was afraid this was going to end with you saying you actually HAD lost your camera and lenses and iParaphernalia! I was starting to feel sick for you! Thankfully the story ended with only a lost day.

  • Chantal says:

    It is amazing he got it back. Is it like that for international flights too? I can’t see how the US would be happy about that. Scares me to think he got on a flight with someone else’s things.

  • Deb says:

    I too thought you had lost a lens or an iThing. Can I just say “PHEW!” that you didn’t!
    Yay for small miracles in that the laptop owner’s info was accessible. Losing a day to travel to get it back is much better than what it would have cost him in time to rebuild.

  • Roshan says:

    Yikes that would be terrible to go through. I don’t travel, infact haven’t traveled by flight since 1987, since I travel locally I’ve always use buses & trains. If I ever had to travel by plane again, I would stick big stickers with my name & contact number on my bags so I don’t get them mixed up.

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