May 7, 2008

Traveling with boules

Lots of players are asking me how I manage to fly around all the time with boules in my carry-on luggage.
Here's my advice:

1) take the boules out and put them separately, clearly visible, in one of those plastic baskets. Like you'd do with a laptop.

2) tell the TSA inspector, if possible before the basket goes through the machine, that you have 3 ( 6, 9, whatever..) "bocce" balls with you.
If I see the word "bocce" doesn't register, I usually make a quick bowling movement as well.
Once or twice the inspector called in a supervisor, but so far I haven't had a problem.
In the US that is.
In France boules are NOT allowed in carry-on...


Anonymous said...

I guess it is okay for Obut boules, but try getting my MS Cara Inox through the airport! They look like hand-grenades!

-Jeff (Detroit)

Peggy from Healdsburg said...

SFO would not let me carry on and I followed your advise about talking to the TSA agent, carried the Petanque rules and everything. They made me go back and check in with my luggage saying that it could be used as a weapon. Since then, I have just packed the boules in the checked luggage and had no problem.

Josh Lane said...

I'm guessing they would allow us to carry-on nowadays.

Hopefully, we can still check them.

Rommert Kruithof said...

I’ve played pétanque since my first visit to France many years ago, and I’ve loved it ever since. You can drink, smoke and talk while playing it and I’ve even seen ladies in high heels doing so. I loved drinking, smoking, talking, ladies, and high heels, until I quit smoking but still much prefer pétanque as a game rather than as a sport. The French however think differently. They have an ardent ambition to get pétanque into the Summer Olympics. But then, they’re different anyway.
For instance they have the only airports in the world where pétanque balls are not allowed in your carry-on luggage.
While teaching pétanque in the French Provence to small groups of nice American and Canadian tourists –on behalf of I confronted the lady behind the check-in desk at Marseille Airport in the south of France with this bizarre discrimination of pétanque balls. She said it probably had something to do with France being the only pétanque ball producing country in the world. ‘What about China?’ I asked. And then she said she didn’t know about China being the biggest pétanque ball producer. She also said she had no idea about pétanque balls being allowed in carry-on luggage in the rest of the world.
I would soon find out why the French don’t allow pétanque balls in carry-on luggage at their airports. They are so fanatic about pétanque that they have even sometimes in the past stuffed their balls in the same way they stuff most of their food like ‘Poulet farcie’ (stuffed chicken), ‘Champignons farcies’ (stuffed mushrooms) and ‘Tomats farcies’ (stuffed tomatoes). ‘Boulez farcies’ were pétanque balls with some heavy mercury stuffed inside the hollow interior to give them a built-in backspin and thus better control.
In the International Pétanque Museum in St-Bonnet-le-Château, near the French town of St-Étienne, you can see some instruments on display which were used for checking pétanque balls for illegal stuffing with mercury. Question to me now is why they don’t use those instruments at airports around the world to check pétanque balls for illegal stuffing with Semtex or whatever terrorists need to deserve and have a right to 72 virgins in Paradise to do dirty things with (never understood the fun of 72 virgins anyway, since my own clumsy experiences with one or two a long time ago).
Meanwhile, come to think of it, the rest of the world better not allow pétanque balls in carry-on luggage at their airports either maybe?

Caitlin said...

Just an update -- last year (2012) we tried to bring an antique pétanque boule (cloutée) back to California, from France. Had it in a carry-on bag. It was confiscated as a potential weapon. The inspector certainly knew it was a pétanque boule, but rules are rules. I've always wondered if they actually destroyed it (as the inspector said they would) or if it's on someone's desk. It was a beauty.
The balls need to travel in your checked baggage.

riyad abc said...

Nice blog about travelling. For travelling properly we must need a good carry on luggage. Thanks for amazing blog.