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:
- a drawing of a piece of luggage and the text: permitted only as checked in baggage
- a drawing of a little airplane and the text: permitted as checked in hand baggage
- 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.