October 26, 2005

Boules on the plane?

A very funny comment, about an unfortunate incident, from batja in nj. Certainly food for thought:

Here's a word to the wise to those planning to fly to Miami.

Please consider checking your bags.

SERIOUSLY, guys. I had a beautiful nearly-new set of competition boules confiscated from my handcarry at Charles de Gaulle Airport last July. Sheesh. *Paris* of all places.

After going through the x-ray scanner, where the smiling agent correctly identified the objects in question: "Boules a petanque, oui?", I was handed over to a big security gorilla who informed me that they'd have to be confiscated--and destroyed--since "On peut tuer quelqu'un....." ("You can kill someone with these things.")

Obviously, he'd never seen *me* play.

Please note that while CDG has a big display case showing all the obvious objects dangereux which are banned from all hand luggage --tweezers, knives, gas canisters, etc.-- boules a petanque are *not* among them.

In spite of that, I had to kiss my boules goodbye at the gate. It was way too late to try to check them through in baggage.

I'm not totally convinced that they were demolished, however. I'll bet there's a game going on in a gravel lot out behind the terminal now, as I write.....

While this may not be a universal airport restriction (I had no problem flying from Madrid with a cheap Chinese set in my backpack the year before---and that was not long after the railroad bombings there, and security was equally tight), why risk losing your prized equipment en route to the Tournament?

So I suggest packing well, and checking your bags through, just in case. It's worth the wait at the carousel. The worst that can happen is that your baggage can get left off the plane at the airport of origin, or misdirected onto a flight to Mauritius. But you'll stand a good chance that it will get recovered somewhere, and you should receive your boules sometime around the end of the Tournament. Maybe someone from the Mauritius team will bring them.

Oh well. In a pinch, the nice guys from Petanque America should have all kinds of new boules and other cool stuff for sale when we get to South Beach......right?

Looking forward to meeting you all in a couple of weeks....

A bientot,

batja from nj

My experience: I saw it for the first time in April '04 at the airport in Marseille: boules were one of the "no go" pictograms at the check-in counter. Couldn't believe it. The Air France agent wondered why on earth I took pictures of her countertop. Unfortunately I lost my camera at the tournament in Seaside, FL days later. I will take another one next week when I'm flying out of MRS and post it here. I also assume this rule applies only in France. You'd never see boules posted as a banned item in - say - Oshkosh, would you? Then again IATA rules are supposed be international. I don't know. Has anyone else had a problem?
BTW, I take back the term "never", because we do hope that one day boules will be such a common item that they *can* be prohibited also in Paris, IA or Antwerp, OH.
In reply to batja's last paragraph: "right"

1 comment:

Jeppy said...

Another option. Purchase new boules from Petanque-America, but give them a note to HOLD THEM for you at the tournament! I'm tempted to do just that with the new Obut bi-poles...