Aeromexicos New Airline Security Brochure – Endless Fun!

When you find a brochure lying invitingly on an Aeromexico check-in counter at the Merida airport with the title “Security in Airport’s Program” and you have a penchant, as I do, to examine carefully the English texts in this country, you know you are in for a fabulous unintentional comedic treat and will pick it up for a closer look. Sure enough, the second title on the page, in larger letters was “Items and materials restricted for Carrying in Airport’s Sterile Areas and on board any Aircrafts”. Note the random capital letters, as if the writer thought ‘hmm there really should be some capital letters here, but where to put them?!’

Reading through the various prohibitions and restrictions, my interest was rewarded with several gems, some of which I will attempt to describe to you, dear reader(s) in the hopes that you will share my sense of awe and wonderment (and perhaps some indignation also?) at this callously sloppy yet very entertaining literary effort put out by the country’s only remaining major airline.

For starters, the cover indicates that the contents – in spite of being quite lengthy and extremely descriptive – are really not that complete and the list could be expanded to include other things at any time. This, in the business writing world, is known as CYA or Cover Your Ass. They express the concept through the help of their third grade teachers English thusly:

Items listed on this document are just some examples, the restrictions are not limited at this

Good to know that the information inside has already been discredited!

Inside the brochure things get very interesting indeed. All texts in italics are taken verbatim from the original – I have not made any of this up. To differentiate the things you can bring on the plane either in your carry-on or checked luggage, there is a handy graphic at the beginning of the list showing:

  1. a drawing of a piece of luggage and the text:  permitted only as checked in baggage
  2. a drawing of a little airplane and the text: permitted as checked in hand baggage
  3. a drawing of a red circle with a diagonal red line through it with the text: permitted as checked in hand baggage

First of all what is hand baggage? My guess is that it is carry-on luggage. Secondly, don’t those last two symbols have the same text?

Taking those symbols or drawings and their explicatory texts, you learn that ON AEROMEXICO FLIGHTS YOU CAN bring the following items on the plane as long as they are in your checked luggage aka ‘checked in baggage’:

Guns, wheel guns (what the hell is a wheel gun – is for shooting wheels?), rifles, shotguns, Bbguns…. and compressed air, cartridges

Axes, Knives, sport knives, stilotto Knives, cork blade knives, daggers….fencing weapons, machetes, axes, etc. Of special interest is the repetition of the axes concept; particularly useful if you are a Viking and have several of them to stow in your checked in baggage.

Other things you can put in your luggage on Aeromexico flights are:

Martial arts weapons (throwing ones or not) Or not.

Straight Razors

Crokscrews That’s right, Crokscrews. For when your Croks need screwing.

Harpoons Great if you’ve come down for a little golf, tequila and WHALING. You know there’s a lot of that going on.

Subcutaneous syringes and needles for people on board with the appropriate medicine People on board without the appropriate medicine please desist

Nail Removers (Maximum 100 ml per person or 3.4 oz) That’s some pretty strong liquid if it removes the entire nail and not just the nail polish! Also, is 100 ml per person or 100 ml per 3.4 oz? Confusing, somewhat.

There are more, but these are just some of the highlights of what you CAN take on the plane, in your luggage that goes in the cargo area.

If you are a terrorist, this should already be good news! But it gets better!! No more discomfort from hiding pesky explosives in your shoes! No more C4 rash in your crotch area from strapping explosives in  your underwear! In addition to the above items that, according to the brochure in my hand, you can stow in your luggage, Aeromexico allows you to bring on the plane with you (according to those previously mentioned symbols) the following, which should make your work easy for you:

Wet Batteries Just make sure you dry your batteries thoroughly before packing them. They make SUCH a mess.

Acids and Corrosive substances

Butane and Propane Gas

Gasoline and all other flammable liquids All of them. Bring them all.

Radioactive materials Got a Reactor at Home and want to bring it to Cancun? With Aeromexico it’s all good!

Matches

Traffic sparklers These sound so San Francisco but could be handy when trying to get the flight attendants attention.

Fireworks, all types of black powder, and any fire-making article OK Tarzan, that is pretty clear. Black powder. Fire-making article. Ugga.

Primers and detonators

and my personal favorite from this list:

Explosives and Hand Grenades

Now there are many more items on this comprehensive list, which is of course – as you recall – not complete and most assuredly has omissions and/or errors and therefore should not be taken in any way seriously.

Analysis

How can AeroMexico, as Mexicos only remaing major airline, come up with this sort of poorly redacted and translated drivel?  The spelling mistakes that any word processing programs spellchecker would catch; the completely indiscriminate use of capital letters which are sprinkled haphazardly throughout the text and catch your eye like the pink bits in a bowl of Alphabits cereal, and of course the horrendously awful translation, inexcusable in this day and age and more inexcusable for a company of this calibre.

Is it budget? Can it possibly be that the airline is cutting costs in its communications efforts? That this brochure, available in every Mexican airport at Aeromexico counters and read by I dare say thousands of English speaking people every single day (who are laughing) was seen as not so very important and so no effort was made to hire someone to professionally prepare this piece of information?

Is it an excess of confianza? Does Aeromexico feel so safe with Mexicana now out of the picture and with low friends in high places, that they could care less about doing this one right and from their view, at the top of a pile of rapidly decomposing laurels, they feel they couldn’t be bothered? And so they probably created a little company run by the cousin or some other relative of the guy in charge of getting this done and gave him the contract to produce the brochure because he studied English in Iowa in grade 10 and so he knows English and and and.

Or do they just not know any better? This one I can’t believe, sorry.

Results

A brochure like this one, will not change anyone’s life for the better or worse, except perhaps a cerebrally-challenged Taliban suicide bomber who happens to be in Mexico, happens to read English and was counting on taking his detonators, acids, and hand grenades aboard his next flight. Or perhaps Lars the Viking who finds his axes(s) not welcome in his suitcase despite what the brochure says after a great vacation of looting and pillaging in some Mexican village.

What it does do, yet again, is paint Mexicans in general (because an English speaking person reading this brochure will not think this is an Aeromexico problem; it’s all Mexicans) as either sloppy or illiterate. Maybe it’s the Mexican part of me that takes offense at such sloppiness, cohabiting with my Canadian part that finds it all amusing.

I think it is inexcusable to put out this kind of garbage in this day and age. With so many resources available in a globalized economy (internet, anyone?) you would think a company the size of Aeromexico would be able to come up with something professional that was attractive, informative and easy to read in addition to being well written and translated, for something as important as airport security.

9 thoughts on “Aeromexicos New Airline Security Brochure – Endless Fun!

  1. Please make sure Aeromexico gets your brilliant article! And also, la Secretaria de Turismo, they all should know better!

  2. The Critic has time on his hands. Perhaps a flight was late and he had to wait. Personally, I think Aeromexico is providing their English-speaking clients with a valuable service – an introduction to all English language printed materials in Mexico, or certainly in Yucatan. Perhaps the Critic would be kind enough to print a list of menu translation gaffes or instructions in public facilities, like bathrooms. Even signage in the museums and at art displays are rife with bad translation. The Critic needs to realize that the translation on the Aeromexico brochure was an intro to the world of Mexican English.
    Of course in the USA, we don’t translate anything except when it is required by law. That way, we can perpetuate the illusion that Mexicans don’t exist at all, certainly none who can read.
    But I’m glad to know I can carry my collection of hand grenades on flights.

  3. And I have airport photos too. Definitely I am spending too much time in the Manuel Cresencio Rejon airport. If the Critic posted all the funny menus he has seen in his lengthy sojourn in the Yucatan, the blog would be full of shrimp to the carbon, axe corn and eggs cooked to your likeness.

    Thanks for stopping by. And your comments are true; I just wonder how many English speakers actually read the damn brochure in the first place.

  4. I tried to read this out loud to Husband but was laughing so much it was almost unintelligible! I think that small restaurants in tiny towns mistranslating their menus is excusable, sometimes even charming but this isn’t in the same category. Another reason that I opt for the Spanish version of anything written whenever possible. My favorite is the sign I saw above the exit door on an ADO bus that read “Don’t leave one’s own” which apparently was someone’s translation of “¿Olvida usted algo?

    regards,
    Theresa

  5. Thank you Theresa! Glad to have made you laugh today.

    Gracias Theresa! Contento de tener hecho tu reir hoy.

  6. ‘Wheel gun.’

    I thought maybe they meant ‘whale gun’, but no, they have a separate provision for harpoons.

    You’ve really got to hand it to AeroMexico. They’ve got every travel niche covered. Who even knew there were whaling tourists? But it totally makes sense. After Captain Queeg sells the Pequod, he’s going on vacation in Mexico.

    Maybe it’s a revolver? But you’d think they’d just say ‘revolver.’ Nothing more latin-root than that. Wheel-gun sounds very germanic.

    Maybe it shoots spinning steel kung-fu wheels. I wonder if it makes little Bruce Lee sounds.

    Well anyway, next time I come to Merida, I’m bringing my hand grenades. They’re much easier to pack than the harpoon. You have to know what you’re doing, but if you lob one down the blowhole, everyone’s eating ballena sashimi.

  7. No matter how cheap an Aeromexico ticket is, it ends up being very expensive.

    My lugagge was looted twice flying from Los Angeles to Mexico City.

    All electronic equipment was stolen as well as half of my personal belongings.

    The airline is well aware of this problem that it seems to happen on daily bases, but they refuse to aknowledge it or do something to correct it.

    Next time you think they have cheap tickets, remember the high cost of flying Aeromexico.

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