Simon’s Backup Weblog

Security Theatre Zen

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on November 19, 2006

If I can fly from New Zealand to Hong Kong to the UK with three bottles of wine in my hand luggage, why is my own zip-lock bag (itself provided by an airline) unsuitable for a tube of toothpaste on a flight from the UK to Switzerland?

Answers on a postcard.


7 Responses to 'Security Theatre Zen'

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  1. davesslave said,

    Interesting question, that. Filled with much irony.

  2. spride said,

    Because the mubtakar makers are in the UK?

  3. sbisson said,

    And that makes one transparent plastic bag different from another because?

  4. elimloth said,

    It is that way for the same reason that a purchased bottle of water is permitted on an aircraft, but an empty bottle filled with water from a fountain within the secured area is not permitted. Go figure.

  5. marypcb said,

    it’s better than that. BAA says any plastic bag no more than 8″ long and wide that shuts fully. Heathrow says only these plastic bags from this box. The liquids inside are the same permitted liquids. And the search line isn’t scanning or probing; just asking people to voluntarily give up liquids and switch bags. It takes time, won’t find anyone who wants to hide anything and serves only to make people think Something Is Being Done. Security Theatre.

    bought vs filled is because you can’t prove you filled it from the fountain rather than from a concealed pouch of explosive liquid that you managed to get through security in you wooden leg…

  6. ivory_goddess said,


    Skip the problem by using that chewing gum with teeth-cleany bits in instead of toothpaste?

  7. altoclef said,

    Don’t get me started.

    It’s perfectly fine in the other direction – no trouble at all taking liquids in hand luggage from Geneva to the UK – but unfortunately not the other way. My beer cellar is dwindling at an alarming rate 😦

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