Ban Duty Free Alcohol & Perfume Sales

By | Category: Travel rumblings, Travel tips & opinions

This view comes not from anyone in the UK but from two German trades unions. According to Der Spiegel’s online news service,(  the head of the German police union and the head of the pilots union have both called for bans on the sale of liquids like perfume and alcohol because of their potentially lethal use.  Alcohol is inflammable and exists in perfumes as well as the bottles of spirits we buy.

The police union chief, Rainer Wendt, claims that once a passenger clears security checks and gets airside, everything a terrorist needs to build a contraption can be found in the duty free and restaurant areas.

True or not, this ban is unlikely to happen. Airports and airlines make far too much money for duty free sales to forego the revenue. A security expert, Wolfgang Spyra, suggested that people pre-order their items and have them delivered on arrival so that they cannot be taken on board any flight. This seems more logical if any steps along this way of thinking need to be taken. At the airports of BAA and Gatwick you can order items and collect them when you return. The main benefit is that it saves lugging the bottles and boxes around with you. It is also of great benefit if you are going to a destination where the duty free range isn’t as wide as it is in this country. Anyone who has tried to buy duty free at smaller US airports (and JFK and Newark in New York now I come to think of it) wouldn’t have half the range we have at most British airports. So under this idea, the airports would still be happy but the airlines would lose revenue.

But if alcohol or liquids are potentially lethal, should they be carried on flights? If you follow the argument, yes but this is totally impractical as you need liquids to keep hydrated as you fly, particularly on long haul flights. Maybe just alcohol should be banned then because that doesn’t contribute to hydration.

But hang on a minute. In October (CD-Traveller 24/10/09) we talked about Hilbert spectroscopy, a test developed by German scientists that could identify the liquids we carry on flights. Still awaiting a commercial backer, couldn’t this help cut down the risks?

And which non Islamic country based airline is going to be the first to try that?

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