Combining alcohol and air travel has never been a reliable or recommended mixture — just as the man who urinated all over his business class cabin after a few too many beverages or the Air India pilot who invited his girlfriend into the cockpit for cocktails — but never before have we see this unfortunate turn of events…
A United Airlines passenger has taken to social media after finding a bottle of tequila that he had packed in his checked luggage to have been opened and partially consumed during his flight. Liquids have been banned from going through airport security in carry-on luggage since 2006 thanks to a plethora of security threats involving liquid explosives.
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As such, these kinds of incidents have apparently become all too common, and our friends over at View From The Wing do a good job of rounding up some of those instances. Unfortunately, trusting baggage handlers and airline staff with your booze is currently the only way to proceed, no matter how often that trust may have been broken.
It’s worth noting that responsibility for checked luggage ultimately sits with the airline rather than the airport, which explains why this passenger was quite so angry at United even though the alleged sip may have been taken by a baggage handler not directly associated with United or any other carrier.
If your journey involves multiple carriers, take note that the last airline before your final destination is considered responsible for the final state of your bags.
In the US, the TSA sometimes inserts slips into luggage to show that they have been opened and inspected for security reasons, but this was not the case here and, even if it were, a cheeky swig on the bag’s contents would never have been acceptable.
Not United’s First Rodeo
Sadly, United does have form in this area, having accepted responsibility for similar incidents involving an opened and partially consumed bottle of whisky back in April of this year. In this case, it wasn’t just a shot that had been taken from the bottle; it was a whopping one-third empty.
The passenger was offered compensation in the form of US$200 travel credit; whether you think that cuts the mustard is very much up for debate. Exactly how these kinds of incidents happen remains unclear and may involve collusion between multiple members of staff.
Regardless, it’s not a good look for the airline involved but, so long as liquids pose a security threat, it seems this is just something we’ll have to live with.