I really don’t understand what went wrong with my checked bag on this trip.
I had a cordless power tool packed as a gift for the family member who has been working on our house. I checked all the info and I did not see anything saying I could not do this. I checked the bag at Newark Liberty and all was good. What I did not know, (but I did expect would happen) is the TSA opened the bag to see what was inside. They have the right to do this and I have had my bags opened in the past but never had an issue. This time however they “cut” the lock and destroyed it (lock was TSA approved). The searched the bag found nothing wrong and they put a ticket inside stating they were sorry they cut the lock. But I did not know they notified Tokyo the bag had been searched.
So upon arriving in Tokyo I have no knowledge at this time the bag has been searched. I go to the gate for my connection and I’m the only person there other than a girl at the computer. After sitting there for about 15 minutes I see a police officer walking toward me with a tiny note pad in hand. Now here is where it all get so creepy and just down right stupid. He actually walks past me and stands behind me, but I try to pay no attention. He stands there for a while, then he walks away. I try to give him a smile but he was totally not buying it and walks away. So… about 30 minutes go by and the police officer returns and walking ahead of him are three guys with surgical masks (common in Japan) wearing green armbands (so they must be important) They all walk past and go behind me and nobody is talking. Then they all walk away saying nothing.
So as the flight is just about ready to board I hear my name called by a lady who speaks very clear English (doesn’t always happen at this airport at all). I approach and she asks if I had batteries in my checked bag. I state “yes” and she says my bag needs to be inspected. What I did not know is that while I was walking toward her three police officers had walked up behind me. As soon as she was done speaking these officers immediately take me to an area where my bag (now damaged) is sitting on a table. Two inspectors are there. The inspector looks and acts like and absentminded professor talking with his hands and methodically explaining to me how he is going to search the bag but that I can not touch anything, I can only watch.
Ok so far we have seen “stupid” but now we are just gonna get all idiotic. I ask why is the lock missing and why is the bag damaged? They say nothing. I repeat myself, the policemen start getting restless. The two inspectors throw everything out of the bag. They open the drill and they take “one” of the two batteries out of the bag and tell me “this is wrong, this is a lithium battery and lithium batteries are not allowed in a checked bag.” I say that there are two of those batteries and that there are other lithium batteries in the bag, but he doesn’t want to hear it. He clearly understood what I was saying. So I also noticed that some of the American cigars that I had brought to give away as gifts were missing as was some bags of chocolate that I wanted to give to the children in the village. The really strange part is the opening of the bag was clearly rehersed and I could tell they had already rifled the bag. Because as the bag was opened the lady inspector reaches down under all of the clothing and pulles the power tool case out and opens it as if she already knew exactly what she was doing. Also if the bag was truly of any danger you would never open a bag in this manner. So then Dr. Killjoy hands me one the power tool batteries and tells me I must take this with me on the plane. This whole process takes almost an hour, meanwhile boarding doesn’t start till I’m brought back to the gate. You can only imagine the popularity I had with the other passengers at this point.
So upon arriving in Thailand I find the note from the TSA about cutting the lock and I noticed a pack or two of cigars missing. Also missing were two packs of Energizer Lithium AAA batteries. So there you have it that is what happened to me on this trip so far. Questions;
1. Why was it ok for the TSA to leave the batteries in the bag and the Japanese had a problem with just “one” battery?
2. Why did the policeman act like some total asshole playing some kind of a game at the airport. Clearly leaving one to believe the “Keystone Cops” work at Narita Airport?
3. Why wait 4 hours to approach me and making the whole flight late?
4. Why did they have to sneak up behind me?
I guess the answer to number 4 is that they were clearly affraid of me. lol