By way of Jay Ackroyd, we come across this article about the whole “liquids and gels” silliness. If you fly regularly, it’s nothing you don’t normally experience:
My carry-on goes through the scanner and comes out the other side. One of the guards squints at his monitor, then shoots me a hostile look. What’s this, no plastic baggie? He pulls my luggage aside, opens it, and asks me to repack my liquids and gels “the right way.”
I do as he wants. When I’m finished, I hand him the baggie so he can run the items through again.
To my surprise, he won’t take them. “No,” he says. “Just put them in your suitcase and go.”
“Just put them in your suitcase and go.”
I look at him for a minute. Apparently my having to repack them was a punishment exercise? All right, fine. Lesson learned, I unzip the approved, one-quart zip-top bag, and begin to dump the containers back into my toiletries kit.
“No!” interjects the guard. “Leave them in the plastic!”
“You have to leave them in the plastic bag!”
“But I’m already through the checkpoint. You already screened them.”
He shrugs. “They need to stay in the bag.”
“No they don’t.”
“Yes they do.”
“They need to stay in the bag. You should know better.”
He was not giving in. And so I tucked away the baggie full of liquids and walked off, puzzled and annoyed.
The purpose of having your containers sequestered is to make it easier for the screeners to inspect them. What you do with them before or after the X-ray machine is nobody’s business. The guard had the right to have me repack them, but only for the purposes of putting them through the scanner — which he didn’t do. There is no requirement to have your items in a baggie anywhere other than at the inspection point — not in the terminal, not on the plane, not in your bathroom and not in your car. Even if such a rule had a useful purpose, all a person would need to do is duck away, open up his luggage, and rearrange the liquids and gels any way he sees fit.
Which is exactly what I did. I took 15 steps, unzipped my suitcase and emptied the containers into my toiletries bag the way they were originally.
I would just add that after mentioning to a colleague that I had flown to DC recently, he told me that he and his girlfriend had done so too. Not only did she accidentally have a can of liquid in her bag that went through unstopped, it was a spray can of mace.
An aside: I always put my liquids in bags long before the TSA even existed (hipster!), but that’s so they wouldn’t accidentally spill onto my other stuff–the three ounce size is really stupid.
I feel safer, don’t you?