Jump to content

Airports & Concertinas


Recommended Posts

I was at our main airport (SkyHarbor) here in town and I saw some TSA people (security) closely inspecting a departing passengers 'flute' that was with his carry on luggage. That type instrument can easily be inspected, however, what if they want to closely inspect a concertina by 'disassembly' ? Has anyone experienced that ? If so, who provides the 'screwdriver' ? This is a issue I will be facing soon; any thoughts on this subject would be of interest.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have taken the concertina throught the security X ray machines a few times without problems.

 

Once, going through Canada Customs, they were very curious. They asked me what it was, then asked me to play it. I played "On the Road to Boston", and there was a sudden silence (except for me) in the busy customs terminal. Everyone, customs agents and people in the line-ups, all stopped to listen, then applauded. It was a different Customs experience.

 

Rod

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've taken mine through Logan, DFW, LAX, DIN, and several regionals. Now, I just take it out of the box and put it in a tray like a laptop. Never having seen a concertina, they (TSA) always ask to hear a tune. I usually play a scale or two while they sniff the box.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...If so, who provides the 'screwdriver' ?

That is a good question.

 

I have flown with my concertina as carry-on several times since 9/11/01 and never been asked to take it apart, but nobody seems to have noticed (and it has never occurred to me) that tucked inside the case is a small hollow-ground screwdriver for just that purpose. I'm sure I'd never be allowed to carry it onto a plane in any other context.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've taken mine through Logan, DFW, LAX, DIN, and several regionals. Now, I just take it out of the box and put it in a tray like a laptop. Never having seen a concertina, they (TSA) always ask to hear a tune. I usually play a scale or two while they sniff the box.

Since 9/11 they _always_ open the case to see what it is, and immediately always say "Oh," and put it back. I have not been asked to play since an Italian security guy in San Francisco asked for a tune...turns out someone in his family played. That was maybe 10 years ago, my big red Renelli.

 

Taking it out of the case to put in a tray is an interesting idea that might speed up all the nonsense. My only reservation is the cascade/traffic jam of trays coming out of some x-rays might actually knock it out of the tray.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what if they want to closely inspect a concertina by 'disassembly' . . . who provides the 'screwdriver' ?

Screwdriver ? Who needs a screwdriver ? I was once told a horrifying story (by a concertina player in London, maybe 20 years ago) about Dutch Customs who were alleged to have "inspected" a concertina by cutting the bellows off !

 

Mind you, customs officers have much more draconian powers than airport security staff (who only think they do), and have been known to cut cars apart looking for contraband.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Screwdriver ? Who needs a screwdriver ? I was once told a horrifying story (by a concertina player in London, maybe 20 years ago) about Dutch Customs who were alleged to have "inspected" a concertina by cutting the bellows off !

We had a similar experience in the 70's when we received a concertina for retuning from America. Upon opening a rather tatty parcel bearing a label which read 'Opened for inspection by Customs', the two halves of very good concertina were found, the bellows having been ripped to pieces. Upon contacting the owner as to whether we should replace the bellows as we had only quoted for the tuning, he was horrified when we described the condition. It turned out that the customs had done this to ascertain if the instrument contained drugs. I do not know if the owner finally received compensation but we had to make a new bellows as the original was beyond repair.

 

Geoff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On returning from St Chartier festival in France in my Vito van a couple of years ago, we were stopped and asked where we had been. I made the mistake of telling them we had been to a festival. On leaving the shuttle on the English side, we were stopped by the police and taken to a customs shed where the van was almost taken apart. I lost my cool completely, " You stupid ******* its a ***** ing bagpipe festival - mostly middle-aged people playing bagpipes and folk-dancing"

 

They inspected our pipes - Irish and Northumberland - but thankfully didn't try to take them apart. Subsequently, I did get a letter of apology, although on reflection our being stopped might have had something to do with the fact that I had just bought the van from a client of mine - and earlier this year he was awarded 20 years for drug smuggling!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Screwdriver ? Who needs a screwdriver ? I was once told a horrifying story (by a concertina player in London, maybe 20 years ago) about Dutch Customs who were alleged to have "inspected" a concertina by cutting the bellows off !
We had a similar experience in the 70's when we received a concertina for retuning from America. Upon opening a rather tatty parcel bearing a label which read 'Opened for inspection by Customs', the two halves of very good concertina were found, the bellows having been ripped to pieces.

Geoff,

 

I wonder if we may be talking about the same incident here ? The person who told me about it was a customer of Crabb's (a Scotsman who played in Irish pubs around the Holloway Road) and the story may have got confused in his retelling it to me (that's "folk process" for you !).

Edited by Stephen Chambers
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...