Those pesky liquids can create real bottlenecks, as it were, at the airport, especially since the Transportation Security Administration has really put the squeeze on people trying to carry liquids or gels through airport security checkpoints. Remember that 'liquids' can mean many things, from water to explosives to that most common type of airborne liquid, BOOZE. And it's booze, the kind that holidaymakers buy at duty-free liquor stores to take home, here's the problem: say you're on gorgeous sun-drenched Iquanaera, the beautiful Caribbean island and former Swiss colony, and on the way home you buy some Iguoo, the island's unique cheese-flavoured liqueur with holes in it. Your IquAir flight gets to Miami, you clear customs and then go over to the American terminal to catch your flight back to Sioux Falls. Whoops...the TSA people won't let you through the gate to get to you domestic connecting flight because you're carrying a liquid or a gel, namely that bottle of booze. It could be a dangerous thing. So, if the TSA-ers are in a good mood, they might they might let you get back to the counter wait another 40 minutes and check it, if you have an extra bag, or you might just say to yourself, 'hey, bleep it' and walk on through without bringing that delightful cheese aroma home to savour.
At the Miami airport, several thousand liquor bottles die monthly and TSA-ers at New York's Kennedy and at Washington Dulles tell us that vacationers returning from the Caribbean or Europe have made many a liquid sacrifice. The problem has gotten serious enough that some airports have banned their cleaning staff from scrounging through garbage looking for bottles that people tossed out in frustrations, while charities are trying to get the TSA to hand over the confiscated bottles so that they can be auctioned off for fundraisers.
Then there's the eye alert. It turns out that many flyers who wear contact lenses are obeying the TSA limite on the size of a liquid container by transferring their contact lens fluid from the big bottle it comes in to a smaller bottle to meet the carry-on rules, and then running into trouble. In one case, a well-known Washington-area radio show hostess pulled out (what she thought was) her contact fluid and put it in her eye, only to find it was shampoo, also in a little TSA-compliant bottle. She spent several days unable to see, but, she says, with the best-smelling eyeballs in town.