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Thread: #TomBihnTravelAdventures

  1. #1
    jea
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    #TomBihnTravelAdventures

    Wanted to share another set of travel adventures made possible only by my Tom Bihn bags and the good graces of the gods of travel.

    Im currently based in Latin America for work, but needed to travel to Jordan for a training, passing through the US. A disproportionate 2 days of travel each way, in order to do 4 days of work.

    My bag combo for this trip was my Steel/Solar Aeronaut and Steel Dyneema Synapse 19. The Synapse held my Macbook Air 13", Kindle Paperwhite, work papers, cables, glasses, water bottle, snacks, passport, scarf. The Aeronaut held 1 pair of chinos, 1 polo, 2 button down shirts, a lightweight jacket, 3 pairs socks/underwear/undershirts, 1 long-sleeve shirt, 1 pair lightweight athletic pants, 1 pair light canvas sneakers. On the plane I wore a pair of jeans, loafers, t-shirt, and a wool cardigan.

    On the way there, my route had me flying to Miami, then NYC, then overnight to Amman.The fun started when I checked in early that morning, and realized that my Miami to NYC flight would put me in at La Guardia Airport, but my Amman flight was going to leave from JFK! Somehow missed that small detail when booking the flight. Was going to need extra time to grab a taxi from one airport to the other, and to go through security again.

    The first flight to Miami went relatively smooth. Made it through migrations, customs and then back through security. That was when I realized that I had left my brand new Kindle in the seat-back pocket of my last plane! Aeronaut went into backpack mode, Synapse moved to my front, and I started booking it back through the airport. Ran what felt like a mile, found an airline rep, who told me that my plane was still at the same gate, but that there was no way I was getting the Kindle back, because regulations require it to pass through customs, then it would go to lost and found, and then I could file a report! Ran another a mile, reached the gate, where the same plane I had come in on was about to close its doors for its next flight, to New Orleans. Miraculously, the Kindle was still there in the seat pocket! And they gave it to me no questions asked!

    Unfortunately, my Miami to NYC flight then hit multiple delays. I was getting more and more nervous, because I knew that this meant that my window for the La Guardia to JFK trip was getting pretty tight. By the time my plane arrived at La Guardia, I had an hour and a half before my international flight departed, from another airport, across town! Aeronaut again went into to backpack mode and I ran literally from the plane to the taxi stand, jumped in a taxi, and somehow managed to arrive at my gate in JFK just as they were boarding!

    On the way back from Jordan I was ready for what would hopefully be a smoother trip. I was flying Amman to Chicago to Miami, spending the night, and then on home. Unfortunately, crossing the Atlantic we hit a lot of wind, and arrived an hour late in Chicago, leaving me with an almost impossible 1 hour flat to go through migration, customs, security, and get to my gate. De ja vu all over again-- I ran from the plane to migrations to customs to security to my gate, and arrived just as they were doing final boarding!

    Looking back at this trip, without light packing plus lightweight, non-roller, carry-on only bags (and strong legs and a lot of good luck), I would not only have lost my Kindle, but probably added a day of extra travel on both ends of my trip due to missed flights. Just checking my bag, in and of itself, would have certainly caused me to miss my NYC to Amman flight, as well as my Chicago to Miami flight. What a crazy trip!

    Moral of this story: in a crazy world, where travel plans can shift last minute, its important to have good bags. :-)

  2. #2
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    I got dizzy just reading this--- Amazed you got that Kindle out of the airplane though...that is a story worth repeating... But yes: I hear you. You could not have managed any of this had it not been for just going carry on. It is so much less stress. Especially with a whole bunch of connecting flights. You had so little for the Aeronaut it seems...you could have even put the Synapse in there! Glad you made it all in one piece....
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  3. #3
    ceb
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    How did you get back to the international terminal and to your original arrival gate in Miami once you had already cleared immigration and customs and cleared security once again for your domestic flight? Once there, how did you get to your domestic flight without clearing immigration and customs again?

    Feel free to reply via PM so that I can pass it to TSA and CBP in Miami to close that gap.
    Last edited by ceb; 05-21-2013 at 07:58 PM.
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    When in trouble, obfuscate.

  4. #4
    jea
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiva View Post
    You had so little for the Aeronaut it seems...you could have even put the Synapse in there! Glad you made it all in one piece....
    Thanks Shiva! The Aeronaut is my lone travel bag, so I do use it on some occasions where I could have potentially gone with an even smaller bag. Perhaps a Western Flyer is in my future! If only I could convince my wife of the need for another suitcase :-)

  5. #5
    jea
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceb View Post
    How did you get back to the international terminal and to your original arrival gate in Miami once you had already cleared immigration and customs and cleared security once again for your domestic flight? Once there, how did you get to your domestic flight without clearing immigration and customs again?

    Feel free to reply via PM so that I can pass it to TSA and CBP in Miami to close that gap.
    Definitely laughed out loud reading your comment ceb! Miami has an interesting design in its new terminal, which allows individual gates to be convertible between domestic and international flights.

    When I arrived, we walked off the plane and into a glass walled hallway. To our right was a closed door, which if open (i.e. on a domestic flight) would lead to a normal gate area in the terminal. To our left was an open doorway, where the hallway continued and eventually led to immigrations and customs (this part gets closed on a domestic flight). So if its an international flight the right door is closed and the left is open. On a domestic flight its the reverse. To sum up, when I left customs and then went back through security, I was actually back in the same secure terminal area as when I had arrived. My plane was now converted to a domestic flight, and so the normal gate door was open. Hope that makes sense! A little hard to explain without a diagram :-)
    Last edited by jea; 05-22-2013 at 06:59 AM.
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    lot's of luck in that story.
    guess its time for you to pick up a kindle case and long key strap. :-)

  7. #7
    jea
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le_Pied View Post
    lot's of luck in that story.
    guess its time for you to pick up a kindle case and long key strap. :-)
    I actually have the kindle cache already, but I definitely needed that long key strap!!!

  8. #8
    ceb
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    Quote Originally Posted by jea View Post
    Definitely laughed out loud reading your comment ceb! Miami has an interesting design in its new terminal, which allows individual gates to be convertible between domestic and international flights.

    When I arrived, we walked off the plane and into a glass walled hallway. To our right was a closed door, which if open (i.e. on a domestic flight) would lead to a normal gate area in the terminal. To our left was an open doorway, where the hallway continued and eventually led to immigrations and customs (this part gets closed on a domestic flight). So if its an international flight the right door is closed and the left is open. On a domestic flight its the reverse. To sum up, when I left customs and then went back through security, I was actually back in the same secure terminal area as when I had arrived. My plane was now converted to a domestic flight, and so the normal gate door was open. Hope that makes sense! A little hard to explain without a diagram :-)
    Sorry, but if that were the case then your Kindle would have never made it off the plane without going through customs. If it were as simple as you explained, then that would be the perfect way to smuggle stuff into the US. Additionally, gates and planes don't get converted that quickly - certainly not without being cleared.

    Cool story if it were true. That said, I'll step out of this thread.
    When in trouble, obfuscate.

  9. #9
    jea
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceb View Post
    Sorry, but if that were the case then your Kindle would have never made it off the plane without going through customs. If it were as simple as you explained, then that would be the perfect way to smuggle stuff into the US. Additionally, gates and planes don't get converted that quickly - certainly not without being cleared.

    Cool story if it were true. That said, I'll step out of this thread.
    To be honest ceb, I find your comment both bizarre and slightly insulting. Why would I make up something like this? The reality is that I lived through this experience, the airport does work this way, and I now have my Kindle back in my hands, despite the fact that the airline agent, according to regulations, shouldn't have given it directly to me, and should have turned it over to customs. A small victory for kindness and commonsense. Also, airplanes rarely spend more than 2 hours on the ground during normal flight hours-- this is the only way that airlines stay profitable in an industry that has lost lots of money in recent years. Planes arrive, are cleaned and inspected, and then load up for their next flight as quickly as they can turn things over. This type of back to back scheduling of both planes and crews is also one of the frequent causes of flight delays.

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    Well, someone's BS meter is set on high alert. In any case, whether or not you have taken poetic license, jea, your story was well-written, entertaining and clearly illustrated the value of packing lightly. Cheers
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    Great story, jea. I'm happy for you, and hope you share many more of your travel stories!
    Indigo/Solar Western Flyer, Aubergine/Steel Tri Star, Nordic/Steel Aeronaut, Indigo/Solar Synapse, Cocoa/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag, Black/Steel Co-Pilot, Aubergine/Hemp/Steel Imago, Wasabi Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Small Shop Bags, Solar Dyneema and Nordic Dyneema Large Shop Bags, Indigo, Wasabi Dyneema, and Plum 3D Organizer Cubes, Wasabi Dyneema Travel Tray, Wasabi Dyneema Large Yarn Stuff Sack, Small, Mini and Pen/Pencil Pouches, an assortment of key straps

  12. #12
    jea
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    Thanks dwright17 and Eric_T! Glad you liked hearing my story

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    In my home airport, Edinburgh, if you arrived on an international flight you would enter the terminal through passport control then customs. If you were then leaving on a domestic flight you would go back through security in to the departures lounge - there is only one for domestic and international flights. As such, you could walk to the now departure gate and ask the dispatcher for your lost item. Granted they may not be as accommodating, but there would be no physical barrier.

    On the other hand, there is a pretty good chance the plane would already have left... Ryanair only schedule 20 minutes for turnaround! Cleaning? Not in this day and age of cheap as chips budget fairs! Mind you, to make their lives easier, there are no seatback pockets on their planes to leave things in anyway
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  14. #14
    jea
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    Fat Crip - its amazing to think that these airlines have stripped amenities to the degree to which a seat-back pocket is a luxury! Unfortunately in the U.S. the majority of airlines have started to act like the European budget carriers in eliminating amenities, but still charge the full prices (plus fees) of traditional flight travel. Sort of the worst of both worlds.


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