06 November 2006

A sad day for wine and security

Today, the sixth of November 2006 will probably not be remembered. It is however, an important day for people interested in wine or security. For those of us who take interest in both, it is definitely a sad one. As of today, you may no longer bring bottles of more than 100 ml liquid on any commercial plane within the european union.

“What’s the big deal?” you may ask. Well, for starters all the liquid you plan to drink from you enter the security zone on the airport till you exit it on another one, must now be bought on the airport or on the plane. That may set you back another 10 รข‚¬. No big deal. It also means that the thermos-bottle my mother used to send me with hot coffee is history. Not a big deal either, but I sure appreciated it last time I had to wander Oslo airport a whole night because my connecting flight left early in the morning.

The liquid I will miss most in my hand luggage is the wine. Whenever visiting another country or when going home to Norway from Spain where I live, I really enjoyed bringing a few bottles of good local wine. And I don’t mean picking up the cheapest, most expensive or most famous bottle you can find on the duty free. I mean searching the local wine shop for something new, something I hadn’t tried before or perhaps something I tried once and really liked and want to share with my family and friends. That is now history. Airlines advice you not to check in bottles (and hold you liable if they break and damage other luggage) and there are few 100 ml Rioja’s on the market. For me this is not a detail. It is something I enjoyed and I hope that this has been taken away from me for a reason.

The problem is that I fear that the reason is all but noble. Sure, there are liquid explosives on the market and sure, the failed terror action in London supposedly intented to blow up airplanes mixing chemicals, but I just don’t buy it. First of all, it is not at all clear that the London plot would have worked. Furthermore explosives can be brought onto a plane in many textures, and I haven’t seen any bans on chocolate bars yet. I also doubt that security personell is able to analyze the true content of you shampoo bottles, no matter if they are miniature sized and stuffed in a zip bag.

I hope I am wrong, and that these measures will improve airline security. However, my deep and worrying suspicion is that this regulation was passed due to a combination of trigger happy, uninformed politicians and lobbyists from airlines and airports seeking better profits.

My plan? Spend as little as possible on airports and onboard planes.