Should the Limitations on Liquids Be Repealed?

“Now I know this ban has been in place in the EU and USA for quite some years now, but I cannot stop irritating myself over the ban all the time an aircraft has many tons of flammable fuel,” posts FlyerTalk member William S., who debates that the Liquid ban should be repealed. “It is really stupid that you get stopped at the security checkpoint just because that bottle of water you forgot. When I go to OSL I tend to like to have a bottle of water or soda with me on the bus out, and sometimes I forget to throw it away.

“And also laptops should be allowed to be kept in the backpack. I pack logically so laptop and liquid bag is on the top in my backpack, but still it is always a little bit of stress pulling it out and pack it back in again etc. I do not mind security checks like they were before, but at this point it is just insane.”

There has been a lot of discussion on FlyerTalk regarding the allowance of liquids past airport security checkpoints in the United States. In fact, this very topic was first mentioned in The Gate exactly five years ago today, and more has been posted since then. Some say it is necessary in order to prevent an incendiary device — such as a bomb — from being detonated aboard an airplane while in flight. Others claim that it is almost impossible for that to happen unless one is transporting a significant amount of materials in order to be able to do so.

We once unknowingly carried a tube of toothpaste that was clearly less than a third full — well within the acceptable limit imposed by the Transportation Security Administration. However, because the tube itself was greater than three ounces, we were forced to discard it — even though the tube was clearly flattened by greater than two-thirds.

Regardless, has the limitations of the amount of liquids that can be brought on board aircraft served its purpose? Has it prevented explosions and other potentially dangerous situations from occurring during a flight? Is it really worth either checking liquids in checked baggage, dumping what is not allowed past the airport security checkpoint, or purchasing what liquids are needed at your destination? Is it merely a ploy to convince passengers to purchase $5.00 bottles of water at the airport once past the security checkpoint? Is it a way for Transportation Security Administration personnel to obtain free liquid products which they may keep, donate or sell that otherwise should be treated like explosive contraband?

While some of the aforementioned questions may seem ludicrous, people have discussed them. There has also been discussion regarding the transportation of powdered products as well.

Is William S. correct, or is his thinking flawed? Is the traveling public any safer with the restrictions currently imposed on the transportation of liquids?

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