2020 Getting out of Calcutta

Those who looked at my trials and tribulations in India a few months back would know we flew out of Calcutta on Air Asia (an airline now struck off my “preferred suppliers” list)

Having bought a few bits and pieces for my Royal Enfield motorcycle I was considerably over weight in the luggage department. Having paid for 25kg – Air Asia only have 5kg carry on for international flights, if you want any clothes it costs a flat $90 for the standard 25kg – I loaded my backpack to about 20kg and thought I would bluff a few extra kg at the counter for my main bag.

Arriving at the airport everyone must put their bags on the security x-ray at the door resulting in a little sticker over the zip or lock. You then proceed to the check-in.

“You are 4kg over that will be $US200, $US50 per kilogram”

“Bullshit, give me my bag back and I will take something out”

Moving to the side I opened my bag and removed my Parka and heavy leather jacket (it had been below zero in Delhi when we arrived as compared to the sweaty 30 degrees currently in Calcutta) and stepped back up to the check-in.

“You are right on 25kg now so that is good. Unfortunately, I cannot check you in because the security seal is broken on your bag”

“You saw me open my bag in front of you and the seal was intact and the bag has not left your sight”

“Sorry you will have to leave the line, return to the front door of the terminal and have your bag rescanned, then come back and get on the end of the checkout line again”

Now with a big bag, a 20kg back pack and a snow parka and leather jacket over my arm I struggled across the terminal to join the x-ray line. Through it went again and popped out the other side.

Clown number 43, standing with his giant roll of peel-off security labels says, “I cannot give you a sticker because it already has one”

“Apart from the fact it is broken, the very reason I am accessing your facilities for the second time, and they do not have serial numbers, and you have a roll of the f…. things big enough to give one to every person in India, why not?”

“I am sorry that is the rule. You will have to go to your airline”

“The airline sent me here”

“They know they cannot process a broken security sticker so they did the right thing”

“So give me new sticker!”

“I cannot put two stickers on a bag”

I reached down and pulled the broken sticker off the bag and did the Dah-dah! actions with my hands. Next thing I have the security supervisor beside me aggressively asking me why I had interfered with an official sticker. After going through the story, as a special favour, I could now drag my bag to the end of the line to go through the x-ray for the third time. The now stickerless bag popped out and received its new one from a beaming security man who could not get over how brilliant he had been to solve this intractable problem.

I then staggered back to the check-in to see they were now weighing not only the main bags but the carry-on bags as well. Being only about 15kg, with motorbike parts, over the 5kg limit I left my carryon bag with my mate Terry (who had sucked it up and paid $US150 for 3kg over on his bags).

It looked like were through, but no. As we got to the departure lounge we saw an Air Asia girl set up some scales and start weighing carry-on bags.

So there I was in Calcutta Airport at 30 degrees and 100% humidity with a leather jacket underneath a snow-parka, the pockets of both stuffed with motorcycle parts. Dressed like Nanook the Eskimo with sweat rolling down my face while everyone around you is in short sleeves and waving fans resulted in some quizzical looks from my fellow travelers.

Anyhow just as I arrived at the scales in the last stages of collapse from heat stroke the girl packed up her scales and waved the remaining half dozen of us through to the lounge.

Lang Kidby