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Confiscations under the new EU aviation security regulations nearly claimed their greatest victim to date recently – the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup. The magnificent trophy was in the hands of American golfing ace John Kammerman of Imperial Tobacco, en route from his triumph in Dubai through London Heathrow and home to Singapore.
With it came the victor’s fellow spoils of a 3 litre magnum of Laurent Perrier and a 40yo bottle of Glenfiddich malt [cocktail hour at the Kammerman household, where the Imperial man is said to be drinking out of the Cup itself, are reported to be great fun this month].
Like the experienced duty free executive he is, Kammerman duly packed the Glenfiddich in his suitcase – rather than having it seized at transit – and sent the fizz home by DHL. But the still triumphant golfer refused to travel without his hard-won trophy. Singapore Airlines, courteous as ever, told him there would be no problem with him carrying the Cup, carefully wrapped, onboard – in addition to his main piece of hand luggage. So far, so good. But an eagle-eyed fellow security officer in the security queue took objection to the sight of his two hand bags. “But it’s a priceless trophy and anyway Singapore Airlines said I could take it,” retorted our man, trying to remain as calm under pressure as he had been on the back 9 of the Creek in Dubai. “Doesn’t matter Sir, you can’t take it through,” said the ultra-efficient marshall… security manager.
This was one free drop a golfer could do without. Back to the Singapore Airlines desk, about a 5-iron away after a 30 minute wait in the security queue. John Kammerman takes up the story: “The only thing they could do was to put fragile stickers on the bag, which, at first thought, worried me because usually this means ‘treat none too fragile’. However, they assured me something this valuable and prestigious would be hand carried to the plane, put in the hold and hand carried off and personally delivered to me in Singapore.” “In the hold??!!” cried John, in the manner much beloved by golfing spectators in America just after Tiger Woods tees off on a 600-year par 5. “Yes, in the hold Sir.”
After briefly contemplating the merits of booking a full seat for the trophy, and putting himself in the hold instead, the 10 handicapper reluctantly left his pride and joy in the hands of the airline and trudged morosely back to the security queue. Would the industry’s most famous sporting prize be lost in transit? Torn apart by turbulence? The Kammerman flight to Asia was long and fretful.
But the story has a happy ending. Neither the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup champion nor the trophy itself was in pieces after the flight and both now are back safely in Singapore. Thank you Singapore Airlines for preserving one of the duty free industry’s most important pieces of heritage.