Why You Can't Bring Liquids on a Plane

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 panicked. What crime could you possibly have committed? You notice too late the dangerous item in your hand, a 125-milliliter bottle of Fiji water. Don't worry, you aren't the only one thousand of travelers around the world who have gone through the same experience.  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 chugged it dry in front of what would have been some 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.

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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 with 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 potentially dangerous things 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 was not the possession of a dangerous weapon that could have been used to hijack a plane. not 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? these food items such as drinks including alcohol soups, syrups, and smoothies over 100 milliliters may not be taken on a plane. this poses a big issue for flight goes since a small Jamba Juice tops off at over 450 milliliters while a short drink at Starbucks fills up at around 236 milliliters. a small bottle of water typically contains 4 ounces of water, almost 120 milliliters.
  other items included in the ban are toiletries such as shampoos toothpaste, conditioners mouthwash and other self-care products. interestingly enough 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. this law has some strange inclusions such as breast milk pet fish snow globes and gel-filled toys 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? Security.

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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. scarily enough, 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 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 because of this incident. however said regulations would not stop terrorists from attempting to use liquid explosives again, as 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. Are all these measures effective? many experts say no. some explosive mixtures do not even require over 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 can be mixed for 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 two-hour flight into a five-hour ordeal. in response to these concerns, the TSA is considering new x-ray technology that will detect harmful liquids in luggage and on passengers. with the CAA testing, these same technologies 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 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 a buzz than a cavity check!

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