Skydivers often take their parachutes on commercial flights as carry-on
luggage because of their value and poor handling of baggage by the airlines.
This practice has been known to lead to a few misunderstandings:

A jumper had checked in and was headed for his flight with his rig over
his shoulder.  At the X-ray machine, the new hire inspector had no idea
what she was looking at and demanded that he open the container for
inspection.  Well the jumper argued and supervisors were called and
pilots were contacted, etc.  The jumper finally convinced everyone that
he was not a threat and was allowed to board with his parachute.

During this process, an older gentleman at the X-ray machine overheard
the conversation.  It turns out the gentleman was seated across the
isle from the jumper on the same flight.  The elder fellow turned to
his wife and said "Martha, that fella has a parachute in that backpack"
pointing to the rig as the jumper placed it under the seat.

The ol' lady, disbelieving what she had just been told, turned to the
jumper and said, "Pardon me young man, but is that *really* a parachute?".

The jumper, somewhat miffed at the airline over the whole episode,
turned to the woman and said, "Yes it is, ma'am.  Didn't they give you

Thanks to Terry Prater for this contribution

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This message was sent on 2 May 1996