web Musings of The Global Traveller

Monday, October 16, 2006

My experience with liquids in carry-ons

Firstly a big apology for the lack of recent posts. I've had a hectic few weeks cris-crossing the globe, and while I've had lots of ideas for blog entries, time to put them down has been so very limited. I'll try to make it up to you.

Frequent travellers know or suspect many of the current security rules are farcical. I want to outline just one aspect (for now) - the liquids in carry-ons. Different countries have different rules, and these have changed over time. I'm reporting here only on my recent experiences based on the rules then in place.

The following countries had no restrictions on liquids other than flights to certain countries (eg USA), and the small liquids I had in my carry-on were no issue at screening - Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Oman, Singapore, Spain.

In Japan and Chile there were signs at the screening station mentioning liquid bans but unclear whether this was for all flights, or only those to USA. They didn't have a problem with the small liquids I had in my carry-on.

The UK had a ban on liquids other than sealed duty free and certain medications. I did in fact have a small bottle of toiletry which went undetected in no less than 3 transits at London Heathrow (LHR), each transit including full screening.

The USA allowed small containers of liquids as long as screened separately in a single small zipped plastic bag. The same small bottle of toiletry (plus other items from airline amenity kits) were okay at the first 3 screenings within US. At the fourth screening in Boston (BOS) they were all confiscated for no apparent reason other than the officer said they weren't allowed. The person screened before me had many large containers of liquids that were put in several plastic bags, and allowed to retain them. Such inconsistencies and making up of rules is part of the reason thinking travellers abhor the current security set-up in the USA. I subsequently got more liquids in a new zipped plastic bag (yes BOS took the bag as well), and these went through 2 more screenings within US without problem.

I hope that common sense will eventually prevail, but am not currently optimistic.

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