More ignorant security checks

A few days ago I mentioned about how a security officer at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol questioned me holding a British Passport.

It also spurred a memory from when I passed through Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport a few years ago:

Agent: I have to take this toothpaste away from you.

Me: Why?! It's 100ml!

Agent: (pointing to toothpaste tube) It says 115 on it

Me: (Inspecting closely) It says 115 grams. Not 115ml.

Agent: It says 115. It's definitely bigger than 100.

Me: Mass and volume are different things. Toothpaste sinks in water so you know the volume must be less than that. I know for a fact that tube is under 100ml.

Agent: It says 115. (takes toothpaste out and throws it away)

I was rather miffed as it was a brand new tube!

Another instance in recent time was this guy taking frozen bottle of diet coke through the security checks. After all, the rule is no liquids over 100ml, but this was clearly a solid.

Frozen bottle of Diet Coke

Photo from Simon Perry.

The hasty response he got at London Heathrow was

“the government does not classify that as a solid”

Maybe at some point I should liquefy an elementary school physics CD and try passing that through security.

(on a more serious note, don't forget it is actually permissible to pass through an empty bottle through security so that you can fill it up on the other side)

About Tim

Tim is an engineer and a nerd who analyses every travel deal, travel hack. He has travelled to around 90 countries and also speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.

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  1. I think what you meant was that Toothpaste sinks in water so 115gram of toothpaste will have lesser volume than a similar mass of water …

  2. > don’t forget it is actually permissible to pass through
    > an empty bottle through security so that you can fill it
    > up on the other side

    Unfortunately some airports and flights destined to the US have secondary checks at the gate where they’ll you throw away all drinks, whether you’ve bought them at the airport or you’ve refilled your own bottle. After losing two reusable bottles I’ve stopped doing this. (HKG to ORD and NRT to IAD in my experience)

    The unreasonable part is that both checks were both hidden behind a corner after entering the gate, so tons of people were being caught. They could have just announced it or put up signs so that people don’t have to lose their drinks and bottles…

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