Theatre of the absurd

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

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet
B-B-B-Baby, you just ain’t seen nothin’ yet
Here’s something that you never gonna forget
B-B-B-Baby, you just ain’t seen nothin’ yet
– You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, Bachman Turner Overdrive

‘Airports braced for check-in chaos as EU plans to lift liquids ban’ ran the headline this week in the online edition of UK newspaper ‘The Daily Mail’. The story was dedicated to the imminent partial lifting of restrictions on passengers carrying liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) while transferring through EU (and Norwegian, Swiss and Icelandic) airports.

I fear another major blow to airport and travel retail industry credibility lies ahead, as different airports and different retailers react to and interpret the new regulations in a variety of ways.

daily mail

Under the new rules from 29 April, all passengers travelling into Europe from non-EU airports and then transferring onwards will be allowed to travel without having their duty free LAGs confiscated – providing the goods are packed in an ICAO-approved sealed tamper evident bag (STEB).

However, the reality for travellers is likely to be very different. As the European Travel Retail Council (ETRC) noted last week: “It is clear that as things stand, many airports in Europe will not be able to lift the restrictions as scheduled.”

Which means? Er… yes… more chaos. And if you don’t believe me, read this quote from Birmingham International Airport Chief Executive Paul Kehoe, who told ‘The Times’: “If you thought you had seen queues, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

‘The Mail Online’ noted: “Machines intended to detect liquid explosives have also not been properly tested outside laboratory conditions. This would lead to further problems as security staff would be obliged to open bottles of Champagne or spirits for manual testing. Operators fear long delays, and airlines believe anger could spill over.”

Indeed. Mine already is. Champagne for manual testing? One can imagine the scene… “Yes thank you very much Sir, your Dom Perignon is secure, you may take it with you. Mind to drink it quickly though as it’s likely to start going flat soon and those corks are impossible to get back in. And sorry about the spillage, that Champers sure is fizzy stuff…”

Yes folks, we are once again entering the theatre of the absurd.

With considerable understatement, ‘The Mail Online’ concluded: “Possible confusion could affect holidaymakers if the ban is lifted in one country but not another.”

Possible? Make that certain. Both Bachman Turner Overdrive and Paul Kehoe are right, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet…

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