Airlines & Confiscated items

At Guernsey airport the following stuff was taken from me out of my carry-on luggage.

Deodorant
Toothpaste
Shaving Gel
Aftershave
½ bottle of whisky

All of the above had been opened by me while on holiday so it was obvious that there was no threat to airline security.

I was told that I could check them in with my other suitcase but this would have incurred excess baggage fees of £42 which is far more than the goods were worth.

  1. Why were they confiscated in the first place?

  2. What happens to them after?

To answer your questions, 1) because they are considered a security risk and 2) they get discarded.

To ask a follow-up question: have you flown at all in the past 7 years?

I presume the deodorant was either a roll-on, gel, or aerosol type. Your belongings were confiscated because they violated the rules for carrying liquids and gels on airplanes. You can find a summary of these rules at many places on the web, such as this link which is specifically about the European rules - they vary slightly from region to region.

These rules were created in response to an alleged terrorist plot in Britain a couple-three years ago, which involved liquid explosives.

Were you really unaware of these rules? :confused:

As to what happens to the confiscated items, they are discarded/destroyed.

Officially, they are discarded/destroyed.

Ebay has been known to sell large lots of used pen knives.

And whisky always finds a home.

Yes I’ve been to the USA in 2004, Corfu, same year, Majorca 2005 and Tenerife, 2006.

Thing is, I normally pack the confiscated items in my suitcase and have never had any problems. On the last occasion I was a tad forgetful:smack:, I guess that’ll teach me a lesson

Must have been the 1/2 bottle of whiskey. :wink:

How do you figure?

On the other hand, as Bruce Schneier says, they can’t be a real threat–because the airlines let you go through security.

If they really thought you were a bad guy for carrying whisky (IMHO, which ought to turn whether it’s from scotland or not), airport security ought to arrest you.

Otherwise, it’s easy for bad guys to just keep trying till the Bad stuff ™ gets through once-the only cost of trying is a bottle and an airline ticket.

Much better explained at: http://www.schneier.com/essay-241.html

…and keep you detained until they get test results from the lab stating that whiskey is indeed whiskey and not nitromethane or other potentially dangerous compound. Uh oh. On the second thought, keeping around one third of all passengers jailed for weeks when overworked labs are testing every single toothpaste tube might not be bestest idea ever.

Although this may take it o/t a little, there are two real possibilities given that we aren’t that afraid of people with toothpaste:

  1. it’s not as dangerous as it’s made out to be.

or
2) It really is that dangerous, in which event the current policy wouldn’t stop any serious attempt to make such an attack.

In either case, the current liquids policy causes immense mayhem among travellers, and pulls a lot of resources from places where security could actually prevent harm.

The Feds have “surplus sales” where officials from state and county governments can buy stuff from them. My dad used to buy stuff from them for his deputies when he was a county sheriff. He mentioned seeing a huge box of pen knives, nail clippers, scissors and the like for sale there. He asked about its provenance. They explained that it was stuff confiscated by TSA. He and his chief deputy fished through it for a while but noted it was all junk. As it was explained to them, the TSA’s keep all the really good stuff. Airport police go through and take home what TSA doesn’t want. Airport janitorial staff roots through what’s left. The rest gets boxed up and is eventually sold off.

I don’t know how things are set up in the U.K., but in the U.S. the airlines are not the ones who remove items from your carryon luggage. It’s carried out by a government agency.

But it makes much money for the companies selling those liquids. From all the travelers buying replacements for their toothpaste, etc. that was confiscated and ‘discarded’, or from them buying the tiny travel-sized containers (which sell for a much higher price than the regular sizes). And all these companies gave campaign contributions to the political administration that instituted these ‘safety’ regulations.

Because, as I already said, I was told I could take them through if I checked them in with my suitcase

More of a 2 when it come to technical efficiency, and more of a 1 when it comes to practical overall risk. The point is not to catch serious terrorist - it’s to sieve out wannabes like Richard Reid of shoe bomb fame, and to make serious terrorist go somewhere, when risk is lower and effect better - like bombing commuter trains and blowing up gas tankers in ports. Bottom line is that it is indeed waste of resources, but guess what reaction of public would be if we get rid of security checks - and first on-board shooting/bombing happened? How would lawyers explained that we don’t even tried to stop these guys?

I’m all for security checks puppygood but as I see it in my particular case.

The security guys had already determined that I posed no threat by saying I could have the items provided I checked them in with my suitcase, this , as I said, would have cost me £42 which was more than the actual cost of the items.

Sorry for offtopic.

As to threat/non threat - they didn’t determined it one way or the other. To determine if you were a threat they would had to have your stuff tested in lab - which isn’t done for practical reasons - too much people, too little lab time and funds available. But they can - and do - ensure that you won’t be a threat by separating you from your liquids. You can’t make explosives by mixing nitromethane whiskey with toothpaste full of ammonium nitrate if they are in your suitcase deck below. At least that is stated reason for that ban.

They don’t want you to have them with you. You can take all sorts of stuff in checked luggage because you can’t access it in flight.

OK fair enough. I wasn’t aware that you could make explosives by mixing whisky with toothpaste.

I’ve lead a very sheltered life :smiley:

The theory is that you can make bombs the ingredients for which could be disguised to look like benign things such as toothpaste and whisky.

Just how practical this would be is disputed (she says, mindful that this is GQ and not GD), but the authorities that make these rules decided to base them on the assumption that it could be done. It may be worth nothing that at least one successful bombing has been carried out using liquid explosives, on Philippine Airlines flight 434 in 1994, but that used a larger container of a single explosive, probably nitroglycerin. The problem with nitroglycerine, as ol’ Alfred Nobel could tell you, is that it has a nasty tendency to explode when you don’t want it to - blowing up yourself and your unfortunate cab driver on the way to the airport doesn’t make the same headlines or scare people the same way as blowing up a whole airplane. The alleged terrorist plot of 2006 was supposed to have avoided this problem by combining more stable explosives, themselves disguised as common items that wouldn’t arouse suspicion when taken on airplanes.