Liquid Ban – Where Were You? What Did You Lose?

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Back in August of 2006 I was heading to the airport with a few bags full of brand spanking new W Hotel products. Soap bars, shampoos, body wash, heck, I even took the conditioner bottles. I had built up a connection with the W brand, that taking the products home after a 1.5 week long stay at the W Hotel Lakeshore made sense. Only one slight problem, the Department of Homeland Security banned ALL liquids the morning of my flight.

I was advised to get to the airport early as everyone would be checking their bags. I had two options: (1) wait in very long lines to check my bag with all the W bath products or (2) ditch the products and carry on.

It was a difficult decision but after 30 seconds of looking at the bag check line, I found my way to the nearest trash can and began unloading my treasure I had just built up from the week and a half stay at the W.

It’s funny what we do when we build up an emotional connection with a hotel. As Gary reports, hotels like it when we do and think they’ve done their job.

The restrictions have since been lifted to allow for a small amount of liquids to be taken in your carry ons. This strictly limits the amount of hotel amenities you can take home each week.

While I don’t take amenities with me any longer, I’m still stuck looking at the 4 boxes of amenities from my major chains every time I visit my basement and am reminded of that day I was dumping out my suitcase into a trash bin at The Chicago airport.

Where were you when the liquid ban went into place? How much loot did you lose?

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The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. I’ve never lost any liquids, since if we’re traveling for a couple weeks my wife and I always have at least one checked bag. We always save as many hotel shampoos, soaps, and such as possible, but not for US. We bring them back and give them to a local women’s shelter. The women there are always in need of such things. From one long three month trip we brought back half of a suitcase filled with such things. We’ve also noticed that near the Chapel at each NASCAR, IndyCar, etc, race that they have a large storage tub that a great many of the crew and drivers use to put all of their toiletries in, for the same purpose. At the ChicagoLand IndyCar race a couple years ago the 20 gallon tub was overflowing. They all go to appropriate local charities in the area of the race.

    We heartily encourage the rest of the readers to do the same. Those of us who travel a great deal don’t really need a few more little bits of shampoo, when many others do.

  2. Dan – Agree, great use of the products. On some projects our teams set up boxes to collect and we’d designate a person to take to a local place in need. Would be great if an easier way to spot places to drop them off or a place near the airport as a donation location.

  3. Spread out your liquids into your other carry on bags. If two of you are traveling together then you should have 4 bags. Placing all the liquids in one carry on bag isn’t a good idea.

  4. It’s funny that you said “I even took the conditioner bottles”. If I had to choose between shampoo and conditioner I’d take conditioner, and lots of it, every time, or I’d never get a comb through it.

  5. A bottle of Absolut vodka. It would’ve been two, but once they found the one I guess they didn’t notice the other. I don’t quite remember why I had the bottles in there. As I recall it was a surprise to me.

    The bottle they left was really good with fresh orange juice on the dive boat off San Salvador , Bahamas. It helped clean the palate after a week of rum.

  6. Re: donating toiletries — I assume any local place of worship would accept them to pass on to those in need. Stop by or call the office during business hours and they’ll help.

  7. I was flying to FLL from IAD and lost all of my toiletries (i.e. contact solution, shampoo, etc). It wasn’t a huge deal to me, but I did see someone in an argument with TSA over the fact that he couldn’t take his $200 bottle of Scotch on the plane. Not sure how it got resolved.

  8. I was in Rome airport the day of the ban. I had to walk away from several bottles of wine and olive oil. Tragic day!

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