Airports – Love them or hate them what you can’t do (mostly) is be humorous in them or apparently ask ‘difficult’ questions ?
I was in the queue for security (again) when I was approached by one of the designated humour bypass specialists – I think their actual title is customs inspectors but mine seems far more apt.
This time it was about taking liquids on board – now the rules appear to have got a little more lax recently but still you have to follow given ones if you want to transport stuff in your carry-on hand luggage.
- Liquids may only be carried within separate containers each of which with a capacity not greater than 100ml.
- These containers must be brought to the airport contained in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag, which itself must not exceed 1 litre in capacity (approximately 20cms x 20cms). The contents of the plastic bag must fit comfortably and the bag must be sealed.
- Each passenger may carry only one such bag of liquids. The bag must be presented for examination.
So what this basically means is that you can carry circa 900mls of fluid onboard in nine separate bottles taking into account the space required to fit the separate bottles in your transparent bag.
Now I’m not a chemist but I do remember back to my school chemistry lessons and what happens when you mix two different chemicals together particularly an acid and a base. The best you get is a mess, followed closely by the next best of a mess and a lot of heat or if you are really lax with your choice of combinations you get something akin to a tactical mini-nuke !
So in the humdrum of the queue it got me thinking (always a dangerous state for me to be in) and ever the inquisitive one always ask questions when I don’t know the answer.
I just picked the wrong bloke to ask…..
Upon presenting the transparent bag to him I asked the question but mistakingly preceded it by a statement.
“I think I know why you only allow 100mls of stuff as it is difficult to cause any harm with such a small amount of potentially harmful chemicals, C4 PE or gelignite excluded of course”….” but what happens if someone decides to mix the contents of all their bottles together on-board to create something different or indeed club together with a fellow passenger – couldn’t that cause a bigger issue ?”
Now the moment I finished my sentence I knew I should have stayed quiet.
He’d obviously not been asked that one before so went into a bit of a panic…
“I…er…well it’s just…er…hang on a moment”
He told me to wait where I was and he would fetch a supervisor…
Uh oh … I see a problem ahead.
The supervisor duly turned up – not best pleased about being dragged away from his cup of tea no doubt – and proceeded to lecture me about ‘causing a potential panic’, the fact he could have me “removed from the flight/ the airport/life as I know it” and other ‘threatening’ proposals.
I nearly said it was only said in jest but thought better of it – humour doesn’t always defuse (pardon the pun) a situation particularly when only one party has a sense of it.
In the end everything calmed down and I eventually made my way onto the plane without any further ado.
So for all you travellers out there, a word to the wise. If you ever have the need to establish the answer to a difficult and potentially volatile question don’t ask an airport worker…just google it !