Getting up close and personal with airport TSA workers

If you ever wondered where you may have misplaced say, oh, a Swiss Army knife, I’m here today to tell you how to find it.

If you ever wondered where you may have misplaced say, oh, a Swiss Army knife, I’m here today to tell you how to find it.

My revelation came as I sent my carry-on duffle bag through the screening machine at Portland International Airport. Suddenly, the TSA workers were very interested in my bag. Finally, one of them said to follow him over to another counter.


“I’ll have to open your luggage,” the guy said.

“Sure,” I responded.

Sweaty clothes from spending a weekend visiting wineries in the North Willamette Valley on 110-degree days was about all I figured I had tucked away there.


There was the Swiss Army knife. Who knew?

Well, apparently the monitors that scan all those suitcases.

At 3.6 ounces and 3.5-by-1-by-1 inches, it wasn’t exactly tiny. In my defense, I hadn’t used this duffle bag in some years and my trip down and back would be short. Why pack the usual carry-on suitcase?

“Yikes,” I said, as he pulled the knife from the bag. I hope my kids come by to see me on visiting day.

In fact, it wasn’t traumatic at all.

I had three easy options:

I could go back out, put the knife in the bag, and send it through as checked luggage.

I could go back out, go to a postal service area and send the knife to my home.

Or, since I already has passed through security, I could be taken to a private mailing service and, again, mail it to myself. The private mailing service cost about $10, I was told.

I opted to go back, put the knife in the bag, and check it through. The bag came down the luggage chute — everything intact — shortly after my arrival in Seattle.

If you think I don’t fly much, you’re right. In fact, this was my second TSA infraction on my trip.

On Friday before I left, I carefully checked all the TSA rules and regulations, remembered to place things such as toothpaste and a small can of shaving gel in the 1-quart plastic bag — and then promptly forgot to put the plastic bag in the bin where I had put the contents of my pockets.

Another few anxious moments as several TSA employees carefully studied the monitor.

Yes, they did open the duffle bag — and there was the plastic bag.

The good news is that the Transportation Security Administration personnel are very professional and understanding.

I know I’ll be traveling again. But next time, I’ll first check my luggage a little more thoroughly.