Have you ever walked by airport security on your way to your plane,
eager to get on with your 12-hour flight,
only to be confronted by a six-foot man in blue?
You’re left confused and a bit panicked.
What crime could you possibly have committed?
You notice it’s too late, the dangerous item in your hand–
a 125 milliliter bottle of Fiji water.
Don’t worry. You aren’t the only one.
Thousands of travelers around the world have gone through the same experience you have,
unable to transport their precious liquids through the terminals.
However, none have probably come close to ending up in these three bizarre situations.
In 2015, a Chinese woman drank an entire bottle of cognac at the Beijing Airport.
Not a joke.
Instead of surrendering it to security,
she pulled out the large bottle from her carry-on and proceeded to chug it dry
in front of what would have been some pretty shocked and impressed onlookers.
Unsurprisingly, she became too drunk to get on the plane
and was taken by paramedics to a hospital to be given IV fluids.
Now the case could be made against alcohol on a plane.
But what could explain the crazy situation
when a 13-year-old wasn’t allowed to bring her insulin on board the plane?
The incident occurred in 2018 at Manchester Airport,
where a girl and her family were supposed to be flying to Italy on a relaxing holiday.
She was stopped by security and told to separate her insulin
from their sealed containers and packaged them in different bags.
The young teen was even left close to tears
after being told by a guard
that her medicine could make the plane crash.
True. Some things that are potentially dangerous should not be allowed on a plane.
The guards are just doing their jobs.
However, that did not seem to be the case at all in 2009
when a UK man was stopped from flying over his bottle of water,
but not his 6-inch serrated knife?!
What did these three people have in common?
It wasn’t alcohol. It wasn’t medicine.
And it definitely was not possession of a dangerous weapon
that could have been used to hijack a plane.
No. The one thing these strangers and many others
who’ve been stopped by airport security have in common is this:
over 100 milliliters of a liquid.
Why is this an issue?
Well, the American Transportation Security Administration or TSA rules state
that any carry-on liquid or gels have to be stored
in a 3.4 ounce or 100 milliliter container.
They also have to be sealed in clear plastic bags.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority, CAA, also possesses the same rules,
with passengers having to store all 100 milliliter liquids in a 1 liter clear plastic bag.
Most aviation departments around the world,
such as the Australian Department of Transportation, ADT,
and the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency, NCAA,
enforce the same requirements with minor variations.
What does this mean for fliers?
Food items, such as drinks including alcohol, soups, syrups and smoothies over 100 milliliters,
如酒 汤 糖浆 果汁和冰沙等100毫升以上的这些饮品
are not allowed to be taken on a plane.
This poses a big issue for flight goers
since a small Jamba Juice tops off at over 450 milliliters,
while a short drink at Starbucks fills up at around 236 milliliters.
Moreover, a small bottle of water typically contains 4 ounces of water–
almost 120 milliliters for the rest of the world.
Other items included in the ban are toiletries,
such as shampoos, toothpaste, conditioners, mouthwash and other self-care products.
例如洗发水 牙膏 护发素 漱口水和其他护理产品
if you have less than 100 milliliters of shampoo in a 300 milliliter container,
it still violates the law and cannot enter a plane.
Even aerosol sprays, such as deodorant and sunscreen,
are included in this ban.
Consequently, this law has some strange inclusions,
such as breast milk, pet fish, snow globes and gel-filled toys,
例如母乳 宠物鱼 雪球和凝胶玩具
since all our liquids stored in containers or contain liquids themselves.
But why go through all this trouble to ban liquids?
Why make flying even more hectic than it already is?
It all comes down to the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot.
In 2006, a terrorist cell plant a complex attack targeting flights
from the United Kingdom to Canada and the United States.
Under surveillance by British intelligence,
they were observed purchasing and recycling several chemical bottles and drink cans,
leading to a search of their property and the discovery of a bomb factory.
the group planned to fill empty soda cans and bottles with hydrogen peroxide
and use powdered orange to make it look like everyday pop.
They would then team up on different flights to combine their liquids with explosive effect,
然后他们会共同在不同的航班上 把液体混合 制造出爆炸的效果
using a common hair bleach to set off the compounds.
Flights were canceled and in the coming days,
carry-on luggage was strictly limited.
The liquid limitations we deal with today
would appear all over the world’s airports due to this incident.
However, set regulations would not stop terrorists
from attempting to use liquid explosives again,
as was the case in 2014.
Russian authorities reported that a female flier attempted to smuggle
explosive materials mixed with her hand cream.
The individual was planning to fly to Russia from France,
presumably intending to attack the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Another threat was also revealed with the United States Department of Homeland Security,
who warned Russia that individuals were planning to smuggle toothpaste bombs into Russia.
Another case made for the liquid ban includes drug smuggling.
A Miami man was arrested after bringing onboard liquid fentanyl and heroin.
They were hidden inside shampoo and male-enhancement bottles.
Two questions have been asked.
All these measures actually effective?
Many experts say no.
Some explosive mixtures do not even require more than 100 milliliters of liquid,
as seen with the Nigerian team bomber.
One report often states that
all the components needed to make a dangerous solution
can be purchased in small sizes in the airports duty-free.
Airport bought shampoos, shaving creams, lotions and sprays
而机场购买的洗发水 剃须膏 乳液和防晒霜
can be mixed together for deadly effects.
Are changes coming soon?
They already have.
It is important to remember that
these measures were supposed to be temporary.
They were specific reactions to a specific event.
Roughly 12 years on, many groups are voicing their complaints
with passengers complaining about the long wait times and intrusive security measures,
turning what should be a simple 2-hour flight into a 5-hour ordeal.
In response to these concerns,
the TSA is considering new x-ray technology
that will be able to detect harmful liquids in luggage and on passengers,
with the CAA testing these same technologies.
Moreover, duty-free zones in airports worldwide,
now offer security approved packaging and products to buy before entering a flight.
And regulations are loosening up regarding carry-on medicine.
The good news doesn’t stop there,
as Italy has eliminated some of the conditions on carry-on pesto
after being stuck with thousands of liters of the confiscated ingredient.
So remember, even though the rules have been relaxed,
best keep the liquids at home and chug your booze before boarding.
Flying’s hectic enough as it is.
Better to head to the Bahamas with abuzz than a cavity check.
Have you ever walked by airport security on your way to your plane,