Drink it or leave it! (October 13, 2006)

"Drink it or leave it!", cried the security guys, as we crawled down the boarding ramp. Sure enough, there was a growing collection of half-drunk bottles accumulating for those who chose "leave it". On the plane, I heard, "Did they take your makeup? ... They took my [something] but let me bring the rest." When I arrived in Atlanta, I had to go through a security check again just to exit the airport. I had taken a toiletries bag out of my luggage so that I could brush my teeth before seeing Fay, but they warned me to put it back in or some of the contents might be confiscated.

The U.S.'s official restrictions are getting lighter, but that did not matter at this Italian airport. I normally carry around a tiny bottle, maybe 1 oz., of alcohol-based hand cleaning goop. I have gone through the security lines many times with it. This time, however, the security guys were stricter and they kept it.

I guess it does not matter what the precise rules listed on the TSA web site. The web site says that tiny bottles are fine. What really matters are the rules of the security dudes standing right in front of you. Let's be honest: is anyone really going to bring a lawyer through the line to protect their rights? Is anyone going to sue an airport over a bottle or a pocketknife?

I am not sure that a lot of this activity is helping anything; I am pretty sure I could sneak a liquid through these checks, and I am pretty sure I could come up with plenty of other ways to attack a plane anyway. Meanwhile, everyone who travels has to be probed, questioned, and searched, and everyone who travels wonders what of their stuff they will get to keep on this trip.

Lex Spoon