LAGs, Queue Combers and Docket Pluckers… another duty free day down under

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.
Martin Moodie

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When it comes to concise, colourful and descriptive use of the English language, no-one can live with the Aussies. Not only did they come up with the decade’s great acronym to save us all from having to keep writing out ‘liquids, aerosols and gels’ – now known as LAGs for short (and probably forever) – but  they’ve also created a new entity to help beat the airport crowding caused by the revamped aviation security regulations. Queue combers.

Although they’re intended to curb unruliness, the queue combers won’t actually be redressing any unkempt hairstyles as passengers line up at check-in. Instead they’ll be on hand during the first month of the new Australian aviation security regime, helping queue-bound passengers with LAG queries and encouraging them to repack such items in their suitcases.

So much for the LAGs and the queue combers then. But what of the docket pluckers, yet another great Aussie invention?

What’s a docket plucker? Why someone who plucks dockets (rather than pheasants) of course. They were made famous in the old South Australian country song that went something like this:

 “I’m not a docket plucker, I’m a docket plucker’s son; I’ll be sitting plucking dockets till the docket pluckings done.” Quite catchy once you get the hang of it.

Which dockets? And where are they plucked? Answers: a) Dockets pertaining to duty free purchases made at off-airport stores (another Aussie addition to duty free’s vocabulary), known elsewhere as downtown duty free shops; and b) At the airport to ensure the duty free items are indeed leaving the country.

For a while it looked as though the dockers, sorry the pluckers, were well and truly… endangered under the new regulations, which threatened to end off-airport liquor sales (a 750ml bottle of Scotch is rather greater than the 100ml landside to airside limit). But thanks to the good work of the Australian Duty Free Association, such items can now be packed in the traveller’s suitcase, while smaller LAGs are carried in a… STEB.

A STEB? What’s that? A secure tamper evident bag of course! Don’t you know your acronyms by now?

Anyway, to celebrate the plucky survival of the docket pluckers we bring you a special picture of two of the endangered species, snapped at Melbourne Airport. So next time you see one, pluck up your courage and go over and say something nice. Our industry needs them.

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