In Britain, three men were just convicted of plotting to blow up airplanes using liquid bombs. But the country is actually considering dropping the carry-on liquid ban.
Why? Because while the plot was real, many experts believe their idea would never have worked.
Even if the idea would have worked, the 3.5 ounce, 100 milliliter ban still reigns supreme as perhaps the silliest anti-terror travel restriction yet. Because even if you decide – a big “if” – that the need for a liquid ban is real, the execution doesn’t work.
Leaving aside the scientific issues, which are many, the size restrictions just don’t make sense. Particularly the idea that passengers can bring a one-quart plastic bag full, as long as no one container exceeds 3.5 ounces.
Personally, I admit that the ban drives me nuts, because as a Californian, my favorite gift for friends or clients while traveling would be a bottle of wine, which now — unless you pay high airport prices — is not possible without checking luggage.
And I also used to love to bring nearly empty bottles of shampoo or lotion on trips, and then just dispose of the empties. But the rule is clear: the container itself cannot exceed the 3.5 ounce size. In fact, I have had more than one client delayed, and another almost arrested, for arguing that specific point.
Large bottles are illegal, according to TSA, even with just an ounce in them, because of the mixing potential. Apparently, the worry is that someone – or some number of people – could bring in several small bottles, and mix them together in one large bottle to create an explosive device.
And it wouldn’t have to be an especially large bottle, just bigger than 3.5 ounces.
Okay then, for the sake of argument, conceding that point, what appears immediately upon exiting the security lines? Drinks for sale. Many in 20-ounce plastic bottles.
I rest my case.
(Photo: Justin Gaurav Murgai/Flickr Creative Commons)