So i'm a goon working at the great LHR checking bag sizes and liquids. We're arseholes. We know we are and we know the rules are pointless. There are two shifts, 4.30am - 1pm and 1pm - 10pm. I work the morning shift. I'm very irritable and couldn't care less about most passengers never coming here again. With passenger numbers increasing by 15% a year there isn't much to worry about. I'd rather people travel less unless they could prove to me they bought a forest in China to offset their carbon footprint. If they do that I usually tell them to piddle off to London City Airport and leave me alone.
How to piss me off
Tell me you're American and flying Business class. That in America you can go through with two bags and that you paid an awful lot for your ticket. Automatically gets you on the "lets just annoy you for a while" list. Most of us don't like the majority of American passengers we get. There are always exceptions but they really don't know the best way of going about things.
If you got through with two bags then it wasn't the terminal I work at. If you get through with liquids larger than 100ml then yeah we did see but it was probably deemed permissible. I can spot a 105ml bottle of contact lens solution at 50 paces. If it's that 120ml Bausch & Lomb then I really didn't miss it. You don't look like a terrorist and you didn't have enough liquids for us to care.
"But in America they let me..." - Go away dear. We know it's pointless. We're copying your silly rules. Our track record is also a darn sight better than yours.
How to make me glance past you
Smile and say hi with one bag holding your liquids and boarding pass. The other holding your small piece of hand luggage.
If you don't we'll have to ask you "Any liquids cremes deodorants toothpastes mascara foundation lipgloss...". Do you think we don't tire of saying that? A simple "No Liquids" before we start is like saying "open sesame" round here.
Why are liquids allowed on Airside?
Because they're scanned and brought in in steel tamper proof containers.
Famous People in the last week.
Oh you need those raquets do you? Sorry, check them in. Probably the nicest guy on earth.
Yeah that expensive Tumi bag, sorry about the handles. Check it in. .......
Minister of the Treasury
Nice guy. Had to combine his bags.
A various spattering of MPs, Queens Messengers and so i'm told important people.
Big American guy. Two bags. One's a breathing machine. Doesn't need it on the flight; doesn't have a letter. He's abusive. Check it in.
Krispy Kreme Donuts bought in T3. Two Dozen. Pop them in plastic bags please. Can't fit them all in? I'm afraid you'll have to leave them behind. I watched this happen. I could not have been more ashamed in my life, yet anxious to see if they had some kreme filled goodness.
$300,000 Ivory box. South African. Obnoxious. Too large for gauge. Check it in.
$500,000 Painting. Too large for gauge. Check it in.
Anything under £50k and we don't bother with the supervisor.
ONE bag rule
You are only allowed ONE bag. We don't have the "personal item" which American passangers seem to hark on about. This therefore includes; suit bags, plastic bags, hand bags, laptop bags.
If we think that any additional items you are holding will not fit inside the bag we will as you to put them inside your ONE bag. This includes; books, laptops, pillows.
Once they are inside we verify the size of your bag inside that steel frame called "The gauge". The bag goes in horizontally using the side handle. If you've got a bag where the designers stupidly didn't read the brief and added wheels and handles on, your bag is too large.
You are allowed as many liquids as you can fit inside an 8' x 8' transparent bag. If you're carrying your own transparent bag with lots of liquids we'll ask you to transfer them into one of our bags. Any liquids in a CONTAINER over 100ml will be confiscated or checked in.
Reasoning behind these rules.
All the rules, as far as we are aware are stupid.
The ONE Bag Rule
The one bag rule is a Department of Transport requirement. They move through each terminal at random and check to make sure that each passanger has only ONE bag. The reasoning for having ONE bag is that the error rate on scanning bags is greatly reduced if each passanger has only one bag. While it's true that this has cut down the number of bags each passanger holds substantially, it's meant some people have crammed all of their bags into plastic bags. In May some time there are rumours that plastic bags will be banned and the bags must close.
The liquids rule is a retarded American rule which we have taken up. Liquids are perfectly visible while inside the bags anyway. Different densities come up as different colours and known explosive liquids are flagged up as red on the machine. It's very obvious to see whether you have liquids in your bag. If you arn't stopped it's mainly the laziness of the staff as searching your bag takes roughly 5 minutes and stops the use of the machine.
Size of the Bag
The size of the bag is an IATA requirement. All airlines agreed to this size roughly 7 years ago. Enforcing this rule has only just come about. We thought 7 years would be enough for most people to check the size of their bag themselves.
Misc. Items Not allowed:
There arn't many:
Baby foods and liquids for the trip, although any amount is usually permissible depending on how cute your child is.
For the flight with priscription or letter.
Sometimes, very oh very rarely, we let in these items:
Breathing machines (CPAP and the rest)
Wedding dresses as an additional to a hand bag
Books in hand
Blind man with two plastic bags
So you're kind of wasting your time with that laptop bag.
These rules vary slightly in each terminal. Today we had a brief saying deflated footballs were allowed. Yesterday they weren't.