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Travel: Luggage tips: Pack right and carry on

Planning for two days in New York—including a night at the theater and a lot of sightseeing—a 7-day transatlantic cruise on the Queen Mary 2 with at least two formal nights, and then another three days hoofing it around London before flying back home, made packing—especially in a small suitcase—a challenge. I had to pack a gown and cocktail dress for the ship’s formal nights, a raincoat for the changeable English weather, and the right combination of comfortable shoes and clothing for a variety of situations. And I was determined to fit it all into my 21-inch Travelpro carry-on bag. 


Having chased lost luggage on a multiple-destination trip before, I’ve become wary of checking my bag, especially when I’m going to be on a cruise and my shopping options to replace lost clothing will be limited. 


Fortunately, I've figured out a  packing system that lets me get a lot in a small bag. 


Here’s what I took along: One evening gown, one cocktail dress, two pair of black microfiber slacks (hand-washable,) one linen blazer (also hand-washable) five blouses, two long sleeve t-shirts, one lightweight cashmere sweater, a raincoat and tiny umbrella, a lightweight fleece, yoga pants, and PJs. I added a folding tote bag and a compression bag to create space for any souvenirs I wanted to bring home. 


Here’s how I did it:


Hang Ups: My dresses, including the evening gown, are jersey. They can be rolled tightly in my suitcase but after hanging a few hours and a spritz of Downy Wrinkle Releaser be ready to wear when the occasion arises. I don’t know how the wrinkle releaser works, it just does. I keep a travel-size spray bottle in my kit. The shirts were packed fresh from the dry cleaners, still in the thin plastic bag which prevents wrinkles.


Cube Control: Everything is sorted into Eagle Creek packing cubes (purchased at REI) which make living out of a suitcase easier. I know right where to look for what I need, no need for digging through a messy suitcase. On the ship I put the dresses, blouses and slacks on hangers in the closet and put the rest of the cubes on the closet shelves for both privacy and organization.  


Happy Feet: The right shoes can make or break a trip. I brought along one pair of dressy heels, my black Clark’s booties (the best travel shoes I’ve ever owned,) one pair of day-to-evening black flats, and one pair of lightweight Ecco slip-on walking shoes. 


The Little Things: My makeup, lotions and toiletries were all separated into see-through mesh pouches. My petite travel flatiron (for taming my hair in the humidity) comes in its own travel pouch. Since my clothes are usually neutral—black plants and white or beige shirts- and a natural linen blazer for summer-I always pack five or six folded silk scarves in a plastic zip bag. This lets me add color to my wardrobe without any additional weight.


Tools of My Trade: I usually travel with my laptop, and/or my iPad, my iPhone and a camera (sometimes two cameras.) All the various chargers, cords, batteries and accessories are sorted into more see-through mesh bags and everything (including my purse, to meet the “two pieces only” airline carry-on regulations) goes into a lightweight rolling backpack.



    As it turned out, I had everything I needed for the two-week trip, but was still well under the luggage weight and size limit. My husband had no qualms about checking a bag so (full disclosure) I knew I had room to expand if absolutely necessary, but I’m proud to say I was able to make my small-bag system work.


Note: New airline carry-on luggage size restrictions went into effect this spring. To avoid having to check your bag, be sure it does not exceed a maximum of 14 inches wide by 22 inches high by 9 inches deep. 


Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a Spokane-based travel writer. She can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

TSA’s next generation body scanners came out of research at PNNL lab

Last week the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it would remove backscatter scanning machines from U.S. airports. The decision followed a fail by the company that made those units to devise a satisfying software fix for the problem of images that were deemed too invasive for many airline passengers.

Spokane and other airpots using the backscatter machines will see those replaced. TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said the replacements will roll out in early summer 2013.

The next technology to go into the airports has a Washington state pedigree. Starting this summer the TSA will install machines using millimeter wave beams to look for contraband or weapons at the airline checkpoints.

That technology is developed by L-3, a New York company. That technology traces directly to research done at the Pacific Northwest National Labs in the Tri-Cities.

A story from the Review back in 2006 noted that L-3 acquired the rights to the technology after buying it from the California firm that licensed the millimeter wave system developed at PNNL.

Here's the old story for background:

April 1, 2006 in Business

Body-scanning system developed at PNNL may find wider application

The Spokesman-Review 

A New York company that has extensive contracts with the Department of Homeland Security has acquired a body-scanning system developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

L-3 Communications announced this week it has acquired SafeView Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif. SafeView had licensed an innovative holographic body scanner system developed in the 1990s at PNNL’s Richland, Wash., lab.

The technology uses ultra–high frequency waves known as millimeter waves to detect objects that evade the discovery of traditional metal detectors. The non-intrusive, low-radiation system provides a 360-degree image of any objects worn under the clothing of a person scanned by the screening device.

SafeView has already sold versions of its system — called the Scout Personal Screening System — to dozens of customers, including the London transportation system and to the U.S. Department of Defense, which employs the technology to protect people inside Baghdad’s Green Zone.

L-3 officials did not disclose how much the company paid to acquire SafeView. SafeView reported 2005 sales of about $50 million.

A press release on the acquisition said SafeView will help L-3 develop a more advanced set of security systems to be used in the aviation and maritime industries. L-3, which is traded publicly, had revenue of about $12 billion last year.

TSA Defends Search Of Missoula 4YO

The grandmother of a Missoula 4-year-old girl who became hysterical during a security screening at a Kansas airport said Wednesday that the child was forced to undergo a pat-down after hugging her, with security agents yelling and calling the crying girl an uncooperative suspect. The incident has been garnering increasing media and online attention since the child's mother, Michelle Brademeyer of Missoula, detailed the ordeal in a public Facebook post last week. The Transportation Security Administration is defending its agents, despite new procedures aimed at reducing pat-downs of children. The child's grandmother, Lori Croft, said that Brademeyer and her daughter, Isabella, initially passed through security at the Wichita airport without incident. The girl then ran over to briefly hug Croft, who was awaiting a pat-down after tripping the alarm, and that's when TSA agents insisted the girl undergo a physical pat-down/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo: Isabella Brademeyer is shown as flower girl of uncle's wedding April 12)

Question: Are you comfortable that TSA is using good judgment at most times in handling searches of air passengers?

Vito Refuses To Go Through Scanners

Dalton Gardens Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri, who a year ago labeled the Affordable Care Act "socialism," and sponsored a nullification bill of what he called "Obamacare," this year has another federal behemoth in his crosshairs: the Transportation Security Administration. In an interview with the Idaho Reporter, Barbieri said he hadn't consulted with the TSA about a measure that would outlaw unwanted searches at Idaho airports, and he wasn't "even sure that the state has the authority to end the pat-downs," but he still was ready to introduce a bill that would amend Idaho Code preventing TSA personnel from touching a person without consent. But in a real head-scratcher, Barbieri, in the same interview, said he also opposed full-body scans of passengers/George Prentice, Boise Weekly. More here.

Question: Would you want to go back to the way airport security was handled pre-9/11?

Barbieri Targets TSA Patdowns

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was detained by airport security in Nashville for refusing to take a pat-down by Transportation Security Agency officials. Maybe Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, sympathizes with the U.S. senator because he is readying a bill that would outlaw unwanted TSA searches within the Gem State’s borders. In an interview with IdahoReporter.com, Barbieri said the pat-downs do little to improve airline security and are more for show than anything else. “I’m just adding that federal TSA personnel cannot touch a person that does not want to be touched,” Barbieri said. “And if they do, without consent, they are subject to the state battery law”/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Barbieri that TSA patdowns aren't needed in Idaho?

Daggers hidden in book at D.C. airport

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Transportation Security Administration says officers found two throwing daggers hidden in a hollowed-out book at a checkpoint at Reagan-Washington National Airport.

A TSA spokesman says a passenger was stopped Monday when officers found the knives in the person's carry-on bag. The daggers measured just over a half-foot long and were hidden in the hard-cover book.

The passenger was flying to Chicago and surrendered the knives and book.

The TSA has the authority to fine passengers who bring deadly weapons into the airport checkpoint. It was not known if this was done in this case.

A spokesman for the airport did not immediately return a call for comment.

TSA Makes 95YO Remove Adult Diaper

Item: TSA orders 95-year-old woman to remove adult diaper during 45-minute search/Associated Press

More Info: A woman has filed a complaint with federal authorities over how her elderly mother was treated at Northwest Florida Regional Airport last weekend. Jean Weber of Destin filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security after her 95-year-old mother was detained and extensively searched last Saturday while trying to board a plane to fly to Michigan to be with family members during the final stages of her battle with leukemia. Her mother, who was in a wheelchair, was asked to remove an adult diaper in order to complete a pat-down search.

Question: Can anyone other than a TSA security guard justify this action?

Hi-Noon: Hart Targets TSA Pat Downs

Earlier this week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry reintroduced a bill that would make it a felony in his state for employees of the federal Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) to conduct pre-flight pat down searches at security check points. It looks like Idaho might follow Perry’s lead when lawmakers meet in Boise next year. Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, told IdahoReporter.com said he may address search methods in the next legislative session, set to begin in January.  “I do plan on revisiting the issue,” said Hart, who unsuccessfully pushed a bill to limit the use of full body scanners at public airports in Idaho in 2010/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Do you want the Idaho Legislature to ban full-body scanners at its public airports?

DeePee: TSA Is Social Experiment

DeePee: I view TSA as a gigantic social experiment, designed to determine just how much B.S. normal law-abiding people will tolerate. The inconsistencies are absurd. Departing Spokane this week, I was told everything had to come out of the pockets, even my passport and ticket. (Pretty hard to show them your ID and ticket when they’re in a bucket.) Then boarding in SLC yesterday, going through the routine divestiture of jewelry, the TSA chap said, ‘You can leave your ring on; the equipment’s not that sensitive.’ On one plus side, the TSA personnel are generally more civil than they were, say, 5 years ago. But it’s still an annoyance and certainly instills no sense of confidence in the government’s ability to do anything intelligently.

Question: Have you had a bad encounter with TSA security in the last year?

NI Blogs: Patting Down 6YO Wicked

On her Idaho Scenic Images Facebook page, Linda Lantzy writes: "The shoreline (of Hauser) is quite flooded which I thought made this tree scene interesting."

Post of the Day: We really need to get over our paranoia about terrorists and flying. According to the TSA the procedure used on a six year old in New Orleans is exactly according to procedure. Fine. Change the procedures. For all of us. They supposedly are working on it. According to John Pistole, Administrator of the TSA, they're trying to work out procedures for the less risky - like children and the elderly. Yet they have to be careful because if they slack off the terrorists may take advantage of the situation/Dogwalk Musings. More here.

Hucks Online numbers (for Tuesday, April 12): 7480/4548

Question: What do you make of the TSA following the rules and patting down the 6-year-old girl in New Orleans?

Sea-Tac Area Cafe Bans TSA Agents

Fed up with what he views as crappy treatment from the TSA, the owner of a restaurant near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has decided to put all TSA agents on his No-Eat List. "We have posted signs on our doors basically saying that they aren't allowed to come into our business," one employee tells travel journalist Christopher Elliott. "We have the right to refuse service to anyone." She says that whenever a TSA agent attempts to dine at the restaurant, "we turn our backs and completely ignore them, and tell them to leave… Their kind aren't welcomed in our establishment"/Chris Morran, The Consumerist. More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: How would you describe your treatment at the hands of airport security?

Explosions rock embassies in Rome…

Good morning, Netizens…

Although this certainly qualifies as breaking news I simply am repeating what I have heard, thus far, on the news wires this morning. At least two mail bombs have exploded in two different embassies in Rome, Italy injuring at least two postal workers at the Swiss and Chilean embassies. A package arrived at the Ukranian Embassy, but at least no reports of any explosions taking place there have been been indicated.

The only reason I mention these events is that this does appear to be an ongoing set of circumstances, and as such, is subject to change at a moments notice.


Hall: Nude Is Rude But It Isn’t Love

I was almost disappointed while boarding a plane the other day that nobody wanted to search my body in exquisite detail.  I entered the airport terminal patriotically ready for whatever the security forces had in store for me - even if that meant using a level of electronic scrutiny that reveals the absence of weapons on my peaceful person, albeit at a cost of exposing the saggy old man beneath my youthful duds. I went into that experience ready to put my best face forward, not to mention other parts, trying to look as attractive as I possibly could for my sake and for the sake of the poor inspector. He must stand there all day looking at constant anatomical imperfection with a device that peers through clothing/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: How have your close encounters with airport security been since the TSA ramped-up the visual & touchy-feely inspections?

Risch Understands TSA Security Methods

Republican Sen. Jim Risch flies twice a week, his spokesman Brad Hoaglun said, and he’s not exempt from any security checks. Hoaglun said he spoke to Risch, who said that the threats he’s heard about on the Senate Intelligence Committee have led him to conclude that the scans are the safest way to proceed. “I don’t like it,” Risch said. “But because of my position on the Intelligence Committee, I understand why. I can’t comment further”/Erika Bolstad, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Are you surprised that Risch sounds supportive of TSA screenings/patdowns?

Hoffman Advocates Security Boycott

We’re witnessing what appears to be a twisted psychological experiment in what indignities Americans are willing to endure in the interest of airport security. … Now, those who have concerns about health risks or invasion of privacy are being subjected to a government-administered groping. The result is a steady stream of complaints from border to border of Americans who have been fondled, harassed, mocked and manhandled. Clearly, TSA is trying to use its police powers to make examples out of anyone who has the temerity to protest the body scanners. That’s bad enough for the adults; parents are now being told they have the ultimate Hobson’s choice: irradiate their kids or subject them to fondling by a stranger in a government uniform/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here. (Also: Security boycott could disrupt Thanksgiving travel/AP)

  • AP photo: Rocky Flats Gear’s Jeff Buske says his invention (radiation shielding underwear) uses a powdered metal that protects people’s privacy when undergoing medical or security screenings.

Question: Are you in favor of a loosely organized boycott of airport security that’s scheduled to take place in Boise & elsewhere this Thanksgiving season?

Terrorism in the skies and on the land…

Good morning, Netizens…

I probably should have stood upright on my soapbox and bellowed about my perceptions of the TSA long before now, but as in nearly all matters before the public’s invariably bloodshot eyes, there are multiple sides to this issue. I do not fly that often, and in any travel plans I have flying by commercial airlines generally rank at the bottom of the selection list, simply because I do not necessarily like flying.

David Horsey’s cartoon about the TSA this morning is just one side of the issue, reflecting only the Fourth Amendment issue without truly considering terrorism.

I firmly believe there are other methods of accomplishing the same goal, to make travel by airplane safe and secure without violating our Constitutional rights to freedom from unwarranted search and seizure by someone groping our crotches. The existing rules as enforced by TSA stand as an affront to our rights, especially when you consider how the Israelis screen passengers. They simply ask questions without groping anyone’s private parts, and they are at least as much risk of terrorist attacks as the United States, no?

I do not trust the TSA any further than I trust most other government agencies simply because of the risk(s) of abuse of power. I only have their word that no one is surreptitiously making copies of the scanner pictures for amusement and/or profit. I have only their word that all TSA employees have been vetted properly, that none of them are sexual deviants. That is simply not god enough for me.

Then there are the terrorists themselves. They spend ungodly numbers of hours scheming on ways to kill people all in the name of their God. Of them all I will say is their deity must be some kind of chicken hawk if all they live for is killing Americans by blowing up planes, constantly cruising the ether looking for a weakness.

There are some who will insist that the scanners prevent terrorism. I believe there are other better less-intrusive ways of accomplishing that goal. Of course, your results may differ, and that may depend upon whether you have been groped by a TSA agent.That, too, seems to be another form of terrorism according to some. 


43rdSB: Groped Against Your Will

This is finally IT, maybe. If we turn down being screened at airports by those new-fangled, incredibly invasive, nakey-nakey devices, then we must submit to a groping…where they fondle your bewbies and/or your junk. Submitting to a groping by somebody who’s not getting me drunk first…not gonna happen. And neither is going through a freaky skin sizzling machine. Thing is, some people (survivors of sexual assault) are getting PTSD reactions to the forced probings, because, you know, they’re FORCED PROBINGS. And some idiots out there actually have the gall to say, “Those people need to stop being so sensitive about the probings”/Cassandra, 43rd State Blues. More here.


They pay us good wages
to feel up your granny
in case she’s got A bombs
concealed in her fanny.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Key security agencies without leadership

President Barack Obama speaks to the media Monday about the airliner bombing attempt on Christmas Day.

WASHINGTON – Two federal agencies charged with keeping potential terrorists off airplanes and out of the country have been without their top leaders for nearly a year.

It took the Obama administration more than eight months to nominate anyone to lead the Transportation Security Administration and the Customs and Border Protection agency.

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of U.S. security policies following the failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound flight from Amsterdam. He vowed Monday to “do everything that we can to keep America safe.”

The acting heads of the TSA and CBP — both created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — will be at the forefront of these efforts. More here.