Airport Security FAIL – Liquids in Manufacturer Bottles are Legit

In this edition of stupid laws you can’t believe someone actually wrote, we investigate a new one. Apparently, there is a law about how liquids must be stored that goes down on the list as one any criminal without a front labotomy (or drug use with similar effects) could get around.

Coming through security at JFK today, I had my little clear plastic baggy with my clear plastic bottles I fill with shampoo, conditioning, body wash, and lotion. The TSA official pulled me aside and asked if she could search my bag. I don’t know why they ask, since they’re going to do it anyway and I’d be a fool to say anything other than “Yes, of course” unless I actually WANT to miss my flight. So she takes a look at these little bottles with their cute little “shampoo”, “conditioner”, etc. labels and askes me…

“Did anyone tell you, you have to have the manufacturer’s label on the bottle – otherwise I won’t know what’s in them?”


So you’re telling me if I empty out a little pert plus bottle, and fill it up with something dangerous, you’ll let it go. But if I travel with legitimate liquids in a clear container I am out of luck? Wow. That’s some damn scientific protection our state in investing millions and millions of dollars in. Makes me kind of wonder why there haven’t been more yucky chemical attacks on airplanes.

So I threw out the stuff, I mean it wasn’t worth missing a flight over. She offered to have someone come over and talk to me, so that I might be able to take them through, and now I’m kind of wishing I had taken her up on it – just to see what on Earth they’d do. Would they somehow test the liquids to prove they’re not harmful?

Airport security is one big act we all play along with, and this is just the latest.



UPDATE #2 (and Scott Phelps you rock my friend!):



  • Don

    OMG. I have to be medicated when we fly now; not for the flight, the flight itself is fun. No, I need to be medicated from the time I enter the airport to the time I hand my ticket over. Air security is the biggest laugh riot of them all! My wife sometimes has to cover my mouth because I start muttering my opinions of security. Not the folks who do the job, just the entire routine. Take your shoes off, take your belt off. Hell, why don’t I just come in my boxer shorts? And of course if we don’t just go along with it, then we’re terrorists ourselves, or anti-American. I’d take the train, but that’s slower than hitchhiking.

    • Danielle Morrill

      I hear you! The shoes thing doesn’t bother me so much, but when I try to travel light and just bring a backpack – and then have to pull my laptop out – such a pain in the ass. What gets to me even more is that they do this whole guilt trip where, like you say, it’s un-American to not go along with the process. And a costly tax-payer supported process it is! Happy trails – it’s a good thing you’ve got your wife with you, to keep you in line. 🙂

  • Sunil Garg

    First of all, you’re trying to rationalize the actions of a TSA agent. It’s really not worth the trouble.

    Honestly, though, the premise is that liquids in 3 oz quantities cannot be dangerous, so it shouldn’t matter what’s on the label. If they can be dangerous, then, as you say, the policy is futile since someone could put nefarious liquids in legitimate containers.

    And for the record, the guidelines say nothing about marking the containers, and their own example photo is of unmarked bottles.

    • Danielle Morrill

      I agree, it really isn’t worth it – I hate to be elitist but being a TSA agent (or any government employee) is WAY down on my list of jobs I’d want to take. Frankly, in a pinch I’d rather work at McDonald’s or evening shovel horse poop (and I’ve done both of those before). I think the point that they don’t have ANY way of testing what liquids are, but claim to be keeping us safe by setting up these arbitrary laws, is really disgusting. My guess: she just didn’t know the law and made something up. Something dumb, that she probably heard from someone else and took as fact.

      I hate how we have no rights at the airport. I didn’t even feel like it was worthwhile for me to ask, “is that really the law?” – she is supposed to be the voice of the law. Ick. Almost as bad as those college students they’re training up (with guns!) for duty in just 4 weeks at the Jersey shore.

  • Cassie

    As I was telling my mother in the airport this morning, all these TSA rules are useless, and only there to give the people the impression that “something is being done to protect them”. Could the people use logic and common sense to discover that these rules do nothing to protect and are there only to annoy you into feeling safe? Yes, of course. But most won’t, because they’d rather feel safe than know facts.

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