is to never smuggle anything or have anything resembling a weapon on your person because all airports have their own rules as to what you can personally hold up a plane with. This will range from a nail file to lip salve, from hairspray to a green plastic space gun (sold to me at the airport airside !) and I think the whole system depends on what they are short of in the particular country you are entering or leaving, Some countries, such as Turkey, Xray all belongings on persons entering the airport, be it just to meet someone at arrivals, whilst others also Xray all your belongings and luggage as you are leaving the airport. This is despite it all being Xrayed at the airport where you boarded the plane. I mean, where are you supposed to have got your bomb or illicit goodies from at 47,000 feet ? Mind you, an airline sold my husband a SwissKit Grooming Kit during the flight and then confiscated it at the airport when he arrived ! I wonder if Ryanair have thought of that one yet ?
No smuggler of anything at all stands a chance at Sydney Airport as the whole place is awash with beagles ! Yes, little brown and white beagles with waggy tails and all wearing the cutest pink and blue vests that say ‘don’t pet me, I’m working’ ! Not a handler in sight ! I asked the man who was pushing my wheelchair what happened if one of the beagles who was trotting along the luggage carousel sniffing all the bags actually smelled something. He said they just sit down next to the luggage/person and bark till the cops show up ! Some are trained for drugs, some for meat and probably some for my lip salve, but they are definitely cuter that the average customs guy !
Is there anyone else like me who just ‘feels’ guilty when going through customs ? Probably from watching too many episodes of “Anything To Declare’. I find myself trying to look innocent of nothing at all, and guess what – I’m the one that always gets searched. Its a good rule to always empty your handbag before you fly anywhere and repack it minus the tampons, the screwed up bits of paper and the nail you found on the driveway when leaving the house. The one good thing about being in a wheelchair when arriving at the airport is that most times you are taken through the bit reserved for pilots and aircrew and don’t have to queue up for hours with the rest of humanity. This does make up for having to wait on the plane until everyone else has deplaned, especially on long-haul flights.
Also on long-haul flights you have to fill in a custom’s declaration. Read it carefully and whatever you do, don’t lie. My dearest daughter in Australia always insists I bring at least a dozen packets of Tayto Crisps to her! In order not to arrive with them all crushed, they have to be in a separate box and must be declared on this form, though I get the feeling that Customs think me more than slightly mad ! I also declare my RA medicines, but I think they consider the quantities not enough to topple the drugs markets in Oz, though as I’ve mentioned before, I always carry the Humira pens and Methotrexate syringes in my hold luggage wrapped up in ice packs and, so far, no little beagles have sat down and woofed !!


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