$7.2 Million Cash Found in Suitcases at Panama City Airport

Newsy

Newsy

Travel tip: If you’re trying to smuggle cash into Panama, start using the train.

Three Honduran men were arrested at Panama City’s international airport after police found $7.2 million, mostly in $100 bills, in secret compartments in eight pieces of luggage. According to this video from Newsy (Newsy? Really? Really.), officials in Panama believe the money was connected to a drug cartel. Thirty-two officers and airport security staffers have been suspended as a result of the find.

Panama Police Find $7.2 Million Cash In Luggage

10 Weird Items That You CAN Travel With

slgckgc, Flickr

The prohibited items list from the TSA might seem long, but as it turns out, there are plenty of weird things that you can in fact travel with.

1. Snow Globes
As long as it appears to be less than 3.4 ounces (which the TSA points out is about the size of a tennis ball), and you can fit it into your clear, plastic bag with all your other liquids, feel free to pop your favorite snow globe in your carry-on.

2. Ice Skates
You might think that a blade that allows you to do double sow cows on frozen water wouldn’t make it past security, but ice skates are carry-on friendly.3. Antlers
Just like a bicycle, as long as its correctly packaged and you pay the fee, you can check a rack of antlers (provided there’s enough space on the plane). The skull must be wrapped and the tips covered though, and on some airlines they need to be in a hard sided box, so be sure that you work on your antler packing skills before you head to the airport.

4. Christmas Trees
Delta is all about the holiday spirit, and is happy to accept your Christmas trees as long as they’re wrapped in burlap.

5. Really big musical instruments
We’ve all seen the 20-something indie singer songwriter get on the plane with his/her guitar. But what about those instruments that won’t fit above or under the seat in front of you? KLM will actually let you book an individual seat for your instrument. Just in case you didn’t want to be separated from your harp for too long. That piano will have to travel as freight, however.

6. Needlepoint
Didn’t have time to finish up that needlepoint sampler while staying at Grandma’s? Pop it in your handbag along with your knitting needles.

7. Live lobsters
Yes, live lobsters and even crabs are perfectly fine to check on many airlines, like Southwest and Alaska even lets you pre-book live animals as you would your dog. It’s all dependent on how you pack them though, so check individual airline regulations. You can even have the animal as carry-on, as long as it’s in its own bag with nothing else in it.

8. Crematory remains
Depending on what airline you’re flying, you can carry-on and check crematory remains, according to TSA regulations. Little known fact: TSA agents are not allowed to open containers carrying remains, so be sure to pack in a container that can pass through the x-ray, like plastic or wood.

9. Parachutes
Yes, you can bring your parachute, as long as you arrive an additional 30 minutes early to the airport since the security officers might need to open the entire thing to inspect it.

10. Monkeys
Well, not just any monkey, but if you have a service monkey (yes, that’s a thing) they are more than welcome aboard. You may be asked to remove the monkey’s diaper for the TSA agent however.

The Best Lifetime Luggage Warranties

Best luggage warranties
Flickr, Robert S. Donovan

Picking up my luggage from the JFK baggage carousel on my last trip, I discovered Alitalia had managed to rip off an entire wheel from my 5+ year old suitcase. I didn’t even bother to file a claim with the airline, as it’s a Briggs & Riley, with one of the best luggage warranties in the business. I took it to Manhattan’s Modern Leather Goods (an authorized repair center) and five minutes later, my bag was as good as new. I filled out a short form with my contact information and walked out with my repaired bag, free of charge.

My other bag, a Swiss Gear four-wheeler purchased at Target two years ago, is also showing some wear, with a few tears in the nylon exterior after a few big trips. However, since the receipt for that bag is long lost, I fear, so is my chance of getting it repaired free of charge. Depending on the collection, some Swiss Army bags are covered with a free warranty for several years or even a lifetime, under certain conditions, but only with the original sales receipt.

If you are shopping for some new luggage, here’s a look at some of the easiest, most comprehensive luggage warranties to help you decide. They won’t cover regular wear and tear or the contents, but if a wheel or handle breaks, you’ll be covered. And don’t forget to save that receipt!Boyt: The “Best Luggage Warranty” covers their Mach 4, 5, 6 and Edge bags for lifetime damage, with all bags covered for life from defects. You simply ship the damaged bag to an authorized repair center (at your own expense). It only covers the original owner, and you’ll need proof of purchase.

Briggs & Riley: Their “Simple as that” warranty truly lives up to its name, covering any breakage or damage, including by an airline, for the life of the bag. You can either take it to an authorized repair center as I did, or ship it to them for major repairs. Even if you purchase a newer Briggs & Riley, they’ll keep fixing the old one outside of cosmetic wear or cleaning.

Eagle Creek: The “No Matter What” warranty covers about half of their collection from any damage, while all of the bags are covered just from defects for life. If your bag is damaged, you’ll just pay to ship it to Eagle Creek for repair and get it back in a few weeks. You can also order spare parts if you’d like to fix it yourself.

Osprey: The “All Mighty Guarantee” is totally comprehensive: you can return to Osprey for “any reason, any product, any era.” So whether you inherited your dad’s trusty backpack or got a wheeled pack for your own Grand Tour, it’s covered. They aren’t allowed by law to repair a pack that is too dirty or “odiferous,” so give it a good clean before shipping it to the California company.

Travelpro: The makers of the original Rollaboard know about luggage damage, though just the Platinum collections are covered by the “Worry Free Warranty.” Be sure to register your product, but you won’t need any pre-authorization for repairs, just check the website for authorized repair centers.

Man’s Response To $1,400 Overweight Baggage Fee Prompts Police Action

overweight fees
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Lockwood (This isn’t the luggage in question, but you get the idea)

Police in New York and Seattle were called in to investigate when a man ditched his luggage in order to avoid overweight baggage fees, NBC reports.

The unidentified traveler was going to take Delta Air Lines Flight 1452 from Seattle to JFK when he was told his baggage was overweight and he would have to pay $1,400 in fees. The man decided that whatever he was lugging across the continent wasn’t worth that much money and left it behind. When the abandoned bags were spotted it sparked a security alert and the check-in area was closed for two hours.

The passenger, blissfully unaware, flew to JFK only to find police waiting for him. He was questioned and released after police decided that he hadn’t intended on causing a panic.

It’s unclear how many bags this guy had or where he was going, but a look at Delta’s overweight fees show that he was probably carrying his prize antique brick collection to display at the London Brick Fair this summer. No, that doesn’t really exist.

Worried about getting slapped with extra fees? Check out our guide to packing your luggage efficiently. Or you can simply wear 70 items of clothing to avoid overweight baggage fees.

British Airways Tests Electronic Luggage Tags

British Airways electronic luggage tag
Courtesy Designworks

It’s 2013: we can carry hundreds of books on a pocket-sized device, video chat anywhere in the world and order nearly anything to be delivered to our door. So why do we still use paper luggage tags and rely on outmoded technology to track our missing bags? British Airways has teamed up with Designworks to test an electronic luggage tag this month that could eliminate disposable paper tags and allow smartphone users to track their bags. The reusable bag tag would automatically update after check-in with your flight information, saving time to print and attach new tags with every flight. Now if only they could prevent bags from being lost at London’s infamous black hole Heathrow Airport.