An embarrassing experience - by your NetLetter co-pilot -
In early 1976 under a C.I.D.A. agreement with CANAC, I was seconded to Antigua to run the computer section for the local airline L.I.A.T. (1974). I would return home once a month for a weekend.....
As I had my clothes in Antigua, I travelled with only a briefcase and, several times going through customs, the officer would ask me how long I had been away and I would answer "Four weeks". The officer would then inform me that my luggage would be on the carousel. The officer would be quite taken aback when I informed him that "I travel light". A more detailed explanation would satisfy the officer.
My final trip to Antigua, to wrap up my tenure, was August 1976. This time I was unable to get the flight from Mirabel, as on previous occasions, and had to route through YYZ by AC then planned BWIA to Antigua. I was advised by Jim Pearce, our office manager at C&SS Dorval, that my ticket would be waiting at BWIA check-in desk at Toronto.
Well, as invariably happens, the ticket was not available at the check-in desk, so I made a quick phone call to Jim Pearce from a public call box (phone booth) - no cell phones those days - and Jim promised to get the situation rectified.
I proceeded to the BWIA check-in desk again BUT, I had left my closed briefcase unlocked and when I grabbed the case off the shelf and swung it down the contents spilled out and spread all over the terminal concourse, which included some small gifts for the people working for me at LIAT, such as small perfume samples and various other Air Canada "giveaways" supplied to me by Jack Mahoney our branch V.P. Several of the items were wicked looking letter openers.
I scrambled among the passengers' legs retrieving all the articles and stuffed them back into my briefcase. I then faced the BWIA check-in attendant, who, with a smirk on her face, handed me my ticket and a first class boarding pass.
In these days of heightened security, I am sure the letter openers would be confiscated and probably me too!