Putting the squeeze on in-flight refreshments

Anything to declare..?
Anything to declare..?

By Gordon Holmes

It doesn’t look the most obvious of dangerous objects but I got collared for possession of an orange Capri Sun recently.

It wasn’t even really mine, I was just keeping it for someone else...

But before anyone thinks the police have now got an offensive juices wing, let me put it into context.

I was about to take my first flight in over five years and in that time Edinburgh Airport has undergone a transformation that has made it almost unrecognisable from its previous form - the Katie Price of airports if you will...

It is certainly much more modern looking and there has clearly been an investment in the latest technology - the self check-in baggage-weighing machine thing was great, avoiding any queue and you even get to stick the label on yourself!

As I said, I hadn’t flown for some time...

Neither had S, which explains why neither of us were sure if there was still a 100ml limit on bottles in hand luggage, and whether this indeed applied to 200ml sachets of orange juice.

It was soon clear we were in trouble going by the information signs and fears were confirmed at the security check when a cheerful chap, in jolly schoolmaster tone, informed S “you can’t take that, lass” and I’m sure I heard him going ‘tsk’ when I sheepishly handed over my similar offending item moments later.

I was about to enquire what risk the extra 100ml of juice might pose and briefly considered asking him if I could drink half of it and then take the rest with me... but probably wisely, decided I would prefer to catch my flight to Copenhagen than spend the day in a small room in airport security getting grilled about why I was such a smart, you know ...

I’ve often wondered (well, twice maybe), what becomes of all those confiscated items - do the security staff never have to buy juice or deodorant again; or are the airport’s shops constantly restocked with forbidden goods?

I’m being flippant, of course, and rules are rules for a reason, especially when it comes to airport security, and I would rather there was a mountain of orange juice (I’m going on the belief we can’t be the only daft ones), than the possible alternative.

Of course, the cynic in me, which is pretty much all of me, might possibly suggest that by banning anything above 100ml, it forces the passenger to buy the same item in the departure lounge - at about three times the price ...

Not sure why, but airports have always fascinated me, I think it is just the sheer logistical scale of it, hundreds of people going off to destinations across the world, hordes of little ants being shepherded into flying tin cans.

It’s a great place for people watching, and it’s easy to spot the excited holidaymakers for whom flying is a rare event, the nervous ones who fight their fears to travel, or the regular flyers, mainly business types, who treat it as part of their job.

Guess if you are in airports every other week the novelty soon wears off.

Always thought it must be difficult to work in an airport as well, seeing all those other people flying off and rarely going anywhere yourself.

Anyway, we had a great few days in Copenhagen, a city I first visited as an 11-year-old on a school trip (whisper it, 35 years ago...), and a place I would heartily recommend, it’s certainly in the top five of favourite cities I have visited.

But the airport drama wasn’t over, oh no, for on the return leg, we approached security having made doubly sure we were not going to fall into the over 100ml bad books this time, only for the body scanner to beep as I walked through it.

So, for the first time ever, I got ‘patted down’ and bizarrely found myself hoping they wouldn’t discover anything, even though I knew there was nothing for them to find!

Mind you, I thought it was a bit much that the guy was drinking a carton of orange juice at the time ...