Recently I made my yearly sojourn back to the United States, to visit the family and work, and flew out of the Santiago International Airport (STI). While packing, since I was flying with only carry-on luggage, I dutifully checked the latest list of items that are prohibited to carry-on the plane. Everything checked out. Nothing that I wanted to carry was on the list, so I printed out my handy dandy boarding pass and was ready to go.

Security Block
I got to the airport early the next morning, walked down to the baggage x-ray machine, and stuck my bags on the conveyor belt, where the nice gentlemen started them on their journey through the machine with a smile. We passed the time it took for them to examine my bags with some small talk and then I was on my way.

Walking past the long line of passengers waiting to check-in bags and get their boarding passes, I continued toward the gate, giving myself a mental pat on the back for having the forethought to carry-on my luggage and print my own get-out-of-the-line-free pass. At the gate I handed the boarding pass to Rafael the security guard, he took it, and looked at it like it was some sort of foreign object he had never contemplated before. Which, I guess he hadn’t since he directed me to go and get a real one from the American Airlines (AA) desk.

I looked at the expanded line and quickly decided I’d rather not. Just as I started trying to think of what other options there were to consider, an AA attendant passed nearby, and I flagged her down. I explained my situation and smiled smugly (I’m sorry to admit) as she attended me back to the security guard and reprimanded him for not reading the memo that was sent out last month about printed boarding passes. He let me through, and I continued without incident through immigration and on to security.

Everything was fine at security until they opened up my bags and took away my curling iron, flat iron, and my deceased grandmother’s crochet hooks of tremendous sentimental value. I stood my ground, and insisted that they weren’t on the list. They said they had another list and showed it to me. The items were on theirs. Apparently, from what they explained to me, each country’s airport security has a different list than the airlines, and there are discrepancies between them. After some more discussion the head of security came and told me that he would let me have them if I could get a member of AA personnel to accompany me. I did, and they let me take it all on the plane.

Lessons Learned
I’ve looked online to see if I could find the list that security had, but can’t, and there isn’t any chatter about it on any of the Dominican Republic forums. So, all I can say is if you’re packing your carry-on and come across anything that looks like it could be dangerous, even if only in an alternate reality, you had better check it on because they won’t allow you to leave the airport once you’ve gone through customs, and you can’t take it on the plane.

If you are flying to (or through) the states, buy your duty free items after you get there because anything bought on foreign soil will get confiscated at the security gates if it’s not checked.

Lastly, you can print out your boarding pass without fear of Rafael – he got the memo.