Explosives and Nail Clippers

Frankfurt airport is pretty gigantic. I landed early this morning with 2 hours to spare before the connecting flight with Lufthansa to Dublin. Glancing, bleary-eyed at one of the screens (I still hadn’t had my morning coffee) I saw the words ‘Dublin – Terminal 2, Gate D something or other’. I was in Terminal 1, so I thought I’d wander in the direction of Terminal 2, taking the shuttle train along the way, stopping for breakfast (still no coffee), before having a look in the bookshop and then sitting in one of the recliners in the leisure lounge.

Eventually, the words ‘Aer Lingus Flight 12@*+ to Dublin is now boarding’ echoed from the speakers. “Hurrah,” I think, and got up to go to the gate. Having gone through the rigorous security and waited in line to board, I handed my boarding pass to the woman.

‘Sir, this is an Aer Lingus flight.’

‘Yeah, to Dublin, right? …. wait, what?’

‘Your flight is Lufthansa, Terminal 1, this is Aer Lingus.’

“Follow the shamrocks, the wonderful greeeeeen shamrocks,” I thought.

‘………’ I said.

‘Sir, your flight is boarding right now. You should just make it if you run.’

I ran back up the escalators, down the long halls, past the bookshop, the food hall, the leisure lounge, and eventually reached the Sky Line shuttle to go to Terminal 1. Another 5 minute dash and I was at yet another security control.

This time, it was a little different. Because, so far I’d been through at least 8 security checks, I was quick to organise my belongings so that they could go through the x-ray.

‘Sir, I’m going to do a random test on your suitcase, it will only take a minute to process.’

*1 minute passes*

‘Sir, your suitcase has tested positive for explosives.’

‘Has it really?’ I ask, unable to stifle a grin. ‘That has to be a first! What kind?’

‘Usually creams or some medicines can cause the result to come out positive, but I’m going to have to ask you to open your suitcase.’ She calls over a policewoman, showing her the test result.

‘Which country did you fly from today, sir?’ asks the policewoman.

(what’s with the ‘sir’ lark?)


‘….. And where are you flying to?’


‘What were you doing in Russia?’


‘What kind of work?’

‘Market research’

‘……. Open ze bag, sir.’

I did as she bid me to do, at which point she saw, among other things (other things being: a half consumed pack of Nurofen+, Alkaseltzer, an old sweater, a dusty keyboard and mouse, the Master and Margarita, a laptop, and a half-eaten pack of peanut M&Ms) a toenail clippers and a small pair of scissors.

‘Er… I suppose you’ll be taking those?’ I say, indicating the scissors.

‘No, you may keep zem,’ says the policewoman.

‘You sure? You could take someone’s eye out with those, you know.’

At this, the austere look changed to a flicker of a smile.

‘Have a nice flight, sir’

‘Thank you, you too. I mean, have a nice day.’

I finally reached the plane, which was almost fully boarded and all the overhead compartments were full. ‘Now, how is that possible, given the carry-on luggage allowance?’ Then I saw that people had stuffed things like jackets and scarves up there. At this point, Moscow’s blunt voice whispered (shouted, more like) ‘Now, repeat after me: “Who owns this coat? Do you mind? It’s taking up too much space. I need to put my bag (full of explosive M&Ms) there.’

Moral of the story? There isn’t one, really. Except, perhaps, if you’re a coffee addict, do not miss your morning coffee. It hurts.

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