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Swiss/Italian trip story (starring: Alitalia, the Porta Corda, Ety 4S, and AirBag)

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I'm finally back from a fun and exciting trip to Milan and the Swiss Alps. I did a lot of good skiing, heard Placido Domingo sing at La Scala, and, of course, did some really nice cigar smoking (I had my first Cohiba Lancero -- wow, what a cigar!).

But the little anecdote I want to tell you has little to do with those activities. I bought one of Jan Meier beautiful little Porta-Corda portable amplifiers for the fear that my JMT-built Altoid amp would be mistaken for a bomb. I then bought a Sony D-EJ01 CD player, a pair of Ety 4S headphones to block out (most) of the engine noise, and a Headroom AirBag to put it all together.

When boarding the plane, I had the Airbag in a backpack so I wouldn't have to face problems, and I didn't. But as soon as the plane lifted off, I had problems... with the CD player!

Whenever I put in my earphones, one of the flight attendants would come up to me. "No CD," they would say.

"Why," I asked?
"No allowed on international flights. Interfere with flight control."

I had to think up an excuse for wearing my own earphones. Good thing I got a Sennheiser airplane adaptor! I decided to stick that baby into its sockets and by midway through the trip when the attendant would come by, I would just point to the adaptor (my ears were hurting by this point from pulling out and reinserting my Eties).

On the way back (today), I kept on being asked again. This time I had lended my airplane adaptor. What should I do?

I decided to stick the remote control of my Sony MZ-R900 (which I wasn't using) into the Airbag and claim that I was using it -- a tape player, not a CD player (well, at least I would say so).

A short Italian with a dark bushy mustache came up to me and I knew right away he would be trouble. "Is that CD? No CD!"

I held up my Minidisc player in its leather case. "No CD!" I replied.

He snatched it out of my hand. He toyed with it for a few seconds and opened the flap. "Mini CD! No CD! This Mini CD!"

Anyway, I finally said okay, he walked away, and I kept listening to my CD player. I somehow made it okay, and none of the flight attendants thought my Porta-Corda was a bomb. Good thing, considering a woman was arrested for having a fake hand grenade about a week ago and making fools of the security system.

Sorry if that story wasn't fun, but I just had to relate. Anyone else have similar experiences? Considering that the Sony D-25 used to be on airplanes, why do those cretins believe that it interferes with flight controls? I don't seem to have had to go through anything like that on other airlines!


About nine hours after landing, my ears have finally popped back into normal hearing position!
post #2 of 17
I honestly do not see how CD players can mess with the flight controls. If they were wireless/IR/RF emitting, sure I could understand (like those laptops with wireless cards in them) but not a wired setup.

Or, for all I know, they do destroy flight controls...
post #3 of 17
All airlines I've flown on restrict using portable CD players or devices that contain them (such as laptop computers) during takeoff and landing, specifically because they claim the devices interfere with flight control. Most airlines I've flown on allow use of the devices once the plane reaches cruising altitude.
post #4 of 17
That's weird. On a flight I took recently, a guy rented a portable DVD player from within the airport and watched his movies in-flight. Well, glad to hear you've had a good trip, DanG, and home safe without incident other than being on the receiving end of a few CD? No CD!.
post #5 of 17
Good thing, considering a woman was arrested for having a fake hand grenade about a week ago and making fools of the security system.
Actually the real story is even MORE bizarre! I read the whole thing on CNN last week.

At the airport where it happened, they were doing evaluations of the security personnel. One of the undercover agents tried to carry a fake hand grenade through the security checkpoint. The security personnel caught it (they passed the test, yeah!), and then the agents showed their ID, etc. and told the security people what was going on. They proceeded to talk to the people at the checkpoint.

While they were standing there talking to the security personnel, the agent didn't want travellers to freak out when they saw the (fake) hand grenade, so he wrapped it in a sweater and put it in the top of his bag.

So... along comes some woman through the security checkpoint. She goes through the x-ray/metal detector, and as she grabs her bag, she spots a rather attractive sweater in a bag. No one is looking, so she grabs the sweater rather inconspicuously, stuffs it under her arm, and goes to board the plane.

Flash forward a half hour or so... the woman and all the other passengers are on the plane, which is sitting out on the deck, holding for a runway. The woman in question is sitting in her seat, but decides that it's a bit chilly. She remembers that she had placed "her" sweater in the overhead bin, so she reaches up, opens the bin, and grabs the sweater...

..... and the fake grenade falls out of the sweater and onto the floor.
post #6 of 17
and some1 yells

post #7 of 17
I always bring my cd player/walkman on flights and no one has ever complained. I doubt something running on batts would generate enough output to interfere with the onboard electronics.
They are shielded right??

Id hate to think what would happen if another plane takes off as we are landing if they arent :>
post #8 of 17
ROFL, MacDEF, that's hilarious! Maybe that'll help discourage casual airport theft.
post #9 of 17
Dan - that was quite a funny story. But how was the actual trip?

MACDef - heeheeheeheee, that is hilarious!
post #10 of 17
From my experience I can only say one thing:

Avoid Alitalia!!!

Bad bad airline.

Badly trained personel and (at least inside Europe) always
late. If you need that extra kick when having connecting
flights, fly Alitalia...
post #11 of 17
One thing that's always fun when flying on Alitalia is the landings. Whenever there's a safe touchdown, the entire passenger complement of the airplane bursts into applause. This is to complement the pilot on not killing us all. (No joke!)

For this to work, a significant percentage of the occupants have to know the tradition... there's no "applause" sign next to the "fasten seatbelt" sign...
post #12 of 17
I think i'll learn how to swim 'round the globe, less likely to get eaten by a shark..if you ask me.

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hehehe, thanks for the clarification, Macdef.

The trip was really great. As I said, I heard one of the world's best tenors singing in what is undisputably the best opera house in the world. It was so great that Domingo didn't even really stand out as at all better than any of the other singers in the cast; all the rest were as good as he, and I think I preferred the soprano's voice to his. The opera was Verdi's version of Shakespeare's Othello and was really fun. I got a little annoyed at the 30-minute intermissions between each of the four acts (probably meant to get people to buy more expensive champagne and sandwiches, with a little of the money going to the guy behind the register -- literally). I also wasn't happy that the ticket prices we paid were literally several times their original cost. But in the end, the experience was so great that it was worth it. Even the Met isn't as good. Unfortunately, neither is my system. But at least I don't have to pay that much each time I listen to my system!

Skiing was really great too. Zermatt, Switzerland was where we stayed and even though almost no snow fell, the artificial snow and the glacier's snow proved to be enough for me to have a great time. The views from the peaks were spectacular, and we had great weather all five days.

While in Milan I got to spend a nice long time at Italy's premiere cigar-bar, Cigair, and smoke some real quality Cu... I mean Dominican, hehehe... hand-rolls. Real eye- (and mouth-)opener for me, considering I live in the States. I got to try a lot of very nice French cognac as well.

I don't know how I would have survived the flights without the music from my CD player. I brought along some composers I rarely listen to for some reason, namely Mahler, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky. Beethoven and Mozart got their fair share too, though.

Alitalia never used to be so bad in my memory. Better food than American air companies, and they've never been late in my experience. The problem this time was that they changed the time of the flight just after Sept. 11, but when we called in to get seats a week before the flight, they didn't inform us of the month-old change in flight time. So we came to the airport twenty minutes before the plane took off and the girl behind the counter with a fake British accent didn't let us board. So we had to stay an extra day since they wouldn't put us on a Delta flight (it would cost them our ticket prices). It turned out okay, though. And now I'm back home, all safe and sound! Happy New Year everyone!
post #14 of 17
International flights always call for me to bring out the cassette player. What a drag for such a long flight.

I believe only once in six or so flights have I NOT been abused.

Dan, I'm glad to hear that you had some fun with the flight attendants. Way to go!

Annecdotal evidence should be sent to the airlines showing that there is no danger from our milliwatt players.

I'd offer to take off my shoes to show them that I'm not a hobbit and therefore incapable of mischief onboard.

Welcome home

post #15 of 17
Huh, I've never had a problem on international flights . . .
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