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Baggage Handler: 'Airline Passenger Packed The Kitchen Sink'

When it comes to packing for a vacation, there are those travelers who are minimalists, and then there are those out there who pack for every contingency. Imogen Needitall, a traveler from Atlanta, falls into the latter category. The 39-year-old caught the attention of airline staff after her oversized baggage got stuck in a conveyer belt passageway. A search of the passenger's luggage revealed an 18-guage stainless steel kitchen sink.

Needitall's excess baggage was first flagged when she went to check in for her flight between Atlanta and Nairobi. "Not only did her suitcase exceed the allowed dimensions, it was also 50 pounds over the weight limit," says check-in agent Alissa Jones. To avoid paying hefty excess baggage fees, the airline urged Needitall to remove some of the items from her checked luggage. "Like a lot of travelers, I figured she had just packed too many shoes," said Jones, "but to my surprise, the passenger started pulling out pots and pans - you know, the kind you cook with. She also began to remove some cutlery from her suitcase, but I had to stop her because we don't allow sharp objects to be carried onto the flight."
Once it reached a reasonable weight level, airline staff allowed Needitall's suitcase to be checked in. However, for Atlanta International Airport baggage handlers, the problems had only just begun. Routine x-rays of checked luggage revealed a suspicious rectangular metal object in Needitall's suitcase, sparking off security fears. But before baggage handlers could reach the extra-large bag, it had managed to jam itself into section of the conveyor belt passageway.

"We actually had to cut the bag open in order to pull it out," says baggage handler Neil Perkins. "That was when we saw what was inside. At first I thought it was some sort of newfangled explosive device ... but I had a strong feeling I'd seen the object before. That's when I realized it was a sink. Looking back, it seems so obvious, but taken out of the context of a kitchen, these things are easy to confuse. We're trained to look out for bombs and other security threats, so the kitchen sink caught us off guard."

When questioned about the unusual luggage, Needitall simply remarked, "Well I'm heading to Africa and I heard they don't always have running water there. I just wanted to be prepared."

[Photo credit: Flickr user scalespeeder]

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