Luggage hell.

O.K. I’ve spent the last few hours trying lots of combinations of ways to pack my cameras, lenses and iBook into a couple of bags.. the previously mentioned Sainsbury’s cool bag and a small rucksack I got at the IT Support Staff Conference in June.

The rigorous Department of Transport enforced size of hand-luggage of 45cm x 35cm x 16cm are proving a problem. The 45cm x 35cm is not a problem, it’s the very narrow 16cm which is.

With minimal padding, the width of an iBook and my larger aperture lenses is ~16cm, but then you have to add the thickness of the bag. I’m not sure that I can actually reach that magic 16cm. I will have more likelyhood of getting the Sainsbury’s bag into the hole that they’re using for testing than the rucksack, so I think I shall have to use that. Still, it’s still a risk that I won’t be able to force it in without causing damage.

It’s obvious that the size that the DoT and Home Office descided upon was a businessman’s briefcase and nothing else. Actually, it was probably the minister’s own briefcase which was measured. And the excuse that a bag any larger would be harder for the security personnel to search is a complete and utter bear faced lie. If the regulations stated a volume restriction or even a type of internal structure for a bag that would be a reasonable argument, but specific dimensions is just a stupid, arbitary restriction which serves no-one.

The ministers have also said that people should put only things in their hand luggage which they will need during the flight. That’s fine in theory and I would whole-heartly support it if, and only if, they could guarantee that the hold luggage was perfectly safe from theft, loss or being damaged by the baggage handling system. This is no-where near true. Not only this but the insurance industry won’t even cover hold-luggage and the airlines cower under the Montreal Convention terms which mean that compesation for damage is based upon the wieght of the luggage and has a ceiling of £250!