Part 3 – The hell of a return
Part 1 can be read here
Part 2 can be read here
After an amazing 2 weeks in New York, I had to return to reality.
The good thing about staying with family is that you do not have a check out time. I caught an Uber at 4pm -ish. It was a strange journey to the Newark Airport where the driver took the wrong turn and we almost missed the entrance. I made it to the airport and made my way to the check-in hall.
Checking in was a very easy process, you can check in automatically and self-weight your luggage and tag it yourself. Once checked in I made my way to security, this was a bit of a confusing process as you had different entrances you can go into depending on what type of citizen you were. Security was so quick and easy – the best thing was that I did not have to take out all my electronics.
Once I passed through I spent 3 hours wandering around, looking for somewhere to eat and updating my family.
The best thing about Newark is the fact they have iPads where you can play games and win treats brought to you.
I went to the duty-free and about $XX amount of product, this is very relevant to this blog post. I bought: a closed box bottle of XO Plantation Rum, Skyy Vodka and Baileys. I half-joked with the cashier about the limit I was allowed and she sealed the booze in a clear plastic bag with the receipt clearly shown on the front – this receipt clearly stated ***CONNECTING FLIGHT**** and included the flight details and the bag had the statement “Do not open until final destination”. Again this is important.
I board my flight; I was flying Newark to Edinburgh, then Edinburgh on to Birmingham. This should be easy and carefree. I had about 50 minutes for my transfer which should be more than enough.
I exit the plane at Edinburgh and meet my first blocker, do I have to collect my luggage. After confirming with a worker at the airport that it will be transferred, I found myself Landside….Not good!
Landside – This is the side where you check-in to the airport
Airside – Is the side with the planes and duty-free 😀
I had to re-enter security, here I was greeted by a short and unhappy guard. I place my items to be scanned and when I went to collect my items, I realised that the duty-free I brought airside was not ready for collection. This guard had taken the bag away, rescanned it and ripped open the packaging. Apparently, the rum bottle had set the alarm off. After 10 minutes of uncertainty, I was handed the bag back with no reason or explanation. Even the airhostess for United Airlines was concerned about the action taken. Remember how I described the bag further up, well the bag was now open and I was not at my final destination.
I made my way crying and anxious about the time to the Duty-free area in pursuit of a new bag. Thankfully the cashier was nice and provided me with a world duty-free bag. I ran to my gate as my connection was now boarding. I did not have a chance to go to the toilet.
I arrive in Birmingham, upset, tired and needing the toilet. As I landed in the domestic area the luggage collection was small but also slow, with about a 30-minute wait for the flights that just landed.
After 10 minutes I realise I could not hold the basic want of needing a toilet. I spot a sign just behind the door from the area we had just entered in the luggage hall. I head towards it. I am stopped by a short security guard who asks where I am going. I explain the delay with the luggage and that I really needed the toilet. We have a mini “argument” about the duty-free bag and my handbag. I explain to him that I am taking my handbag with me for “Feminine” reasons and I was told to leave my duty-free bag. THIS IS A SECURITY RISK!!! You are always told “do not leave your luggage” yet I had to.
After a horrible ordeal, I managed to get home.
I have written to both airports but neither could justify their actions.
The security Manager at Edinburgh could not justify the actions that he’s colleague took for a passenger who brought duty-free with the receipt and a bag you can only get airside. I felt embarrassed by the event as well as guilt and harassed. I felt like I had been picked on for a range of things – my race & gender mainly.
At Birmingham, I felt embarrassed that as a grown woman I had to ask permission to use a toilet that was on the airside part of the airport.
This concludes my main posts about my solo trip. As much as I love travelling the return trip was a nightmare and scared me so much that I am put off flying solo again. As a passenger who paid money for a service, I should not have been treated the way I was, especially when I have done nothing wrong.
Below are the pictures I sent to Edinburgh Airport – as you can see there is nothing wrong with the content of the duty-free.
Bag from Newark
Present for me Ma!!
Vodka – Good brand so smooth
Inside the box…..nothing
Bottle of rum that caused hell
Receipt where it states that I have a connecting Flgiht
Up next Part 4 – Tips for New York