by Graham Pierrepoint
Packing to go on a long flight can take time – and more often than not, we’ve all had that nagging feeling that we’ve left something essential behind. While the majority of us will likely carry similar contents in our luggage regardless of when and where we fly, spare a thought for some US and Canada flight terminals who have had to oversee a number of increasingly odd suitcase stashes over the years – including live seafood, which, bizarrely enough, is completely legal to transport in most areas of North America.
Forget Snakes on a Plane – lobsters in a briefcase is more near the mark, according to a tweet this week that caught fire showing that a 9kg (20lb) crustacean had been located at the Logan International Airport in Boston. The tweet, from Transportation Security Administration spokesman Michael McCarthy, showed off a baggage officer wielding a hefty lobster which had been found as part of luggage screened at Logan earlier in the week – and, as the perhaps little-known rule became common knowledge, social media reacted in amazement.
The rules state that providing you comply with individual airline rules when it comes to seafood transportation – and that all packaging is sealed tightly and proofed against leakages – you are perfectly free to carry and transport live seafood across the States and Canada. This means that if you’ve always dreamed of stowing away a lobster from one end of the country to the other, you can largely do so without any form of consternation from flight officials. You may even be able to buy seafood – including live delicacies – from airport booths and marts themselves, meaning that you can pack your bags with mussels and crabs to your heart’s delight – providing all is sealed in and that you don’t exceed the weight limit, of course!
Many airlines operate live lobster and seafood policies now, meaning that the rule is becoming more widely known across the country. The move to allow seafood on board largely comes as lobster continues to fetch high prices from state to state as a culinary delicacy – a far cry from its humble beginnings. Providing you abide by airline rules and offer no opportunity for your pinchy pal to escape, you’ll likely be allowed on board!
Bear in mind – however – that when it comes to hand luggage, you may want to play down your lobster bunkmate a little - if only to put your fellow travelers at ease!