“You’re going all over the place,” said the Alaska Airlines ticket agent when I hauled my bag onto the airport scale this morning. I’d printed and attached my bag tag at home; it said SFO → PDX→ ANC→ FAI. I agreed with her. That’s plenty of “all over the place” for one day.
Besides figuring out how to tag my bag at home, I also learned some new things about carry-on items. My original intention was simply to find out whether I could bring my empty, pint-sized mason jar outfitted with a special lid for drinks. I like to use the jar rather than buying drinks in single-use cups. Even ten years ago, U.S. airlines were supposedly using one million disposable cups every six hours. These days some airlines, like Alaska, aim to do better. But it’s not hard to bring your own container. It even turns out that the Transportation Security Administration says it’s okay to carry all kinds of glass on a plane — mirrors, picture frames, Christmas lights, glass vases, whatever you want.
According to the TSA, you may also bring your bocce balls, body armor, and a tortilla press. If tortillas are not enough, you might like to tote some pie, cake, or a reasonable quantity of yogurt. You may also feel comforted to know that the TSA won’t bar your hookah (it’s probably glass after all), your night vision goggles, or your personal parachute, as long as you follow special instructions with regard to the latter. Under certain circumstances, you may also be permitted a wedding dress. As always, however, sporting equipment requires special attention: You may bring your fishing pole but never a golf club or your pool cue. And if you choose to forgo all that and just bring rocks, they will be most welcome.
As to what you may not bring, the first item below is why I bothered to write any of this down:
I don’t know whose job it was to compose this list for the Department of Homeland Security but I can’t help thinking the world would be a much better place if every civil servant were allowed a public sense of humor. Not sarcastic, not cynical, but playful.
Playfulness → Innocence → Civility → Humanity.
It may be a long trip but isn’t it a worthy itinerary?