Have you ever had duty-free liquor confiscated before boarding?

One time transiting through Dubai my bottle of gin bought in Sydney (and in a sealed Duty Free bag along with the receipt) was taken off me and dropped in a skip overflowing with other confiscated items. A month later, on return to Sydney, I told the staff at the Arrival Duty Free shop what had happened. They provide me with an email for the Sydney Duty Free shop manager who, when contacted, refunded the cost to me. Amazing service which created much good will and future loyalty. 

H. Brierley

My family of three were returning to Aust from Hong Kong about 3 years ago. As we passed through the first security gate upon arrival at the airport, we all had our water bottles confiscated, as we expected. During the wait in the airport until departure time, we all bought more water and drank at least some of each bottle. Just as we were boarding the plane, there was one last security gate halfway down the sleeve, where they checked every bag and took every single water bottle from every passenger. As any water held at this point in time could only have been purchased INSIDE the airport, how could it have been a security risk? We are all advised constantly to drink plenty of water on flights yet the cabin crew were very sparing with their offerings, despite constant requests for more water, so much so that we all arrived home somewhat dehydrated. If Aust law still dictates that passengers cannot carry on liquids, then all carriers flying to Aust have a responsibility to ensure they carry enough water for the duration of the flight.

S. Rowe

I once bought two bottles of lovely Australian wine as a gift for a cousin in duty free. It was sealed and I got this through customs at Singapore no problem. On my way to London, we had to stop off in Frankfurt for 2 hours. When boarding the plane again the customs man took my wine. I said “I’m not even stopping in Germany”. He screeched back “You are on German soil!” And seized my wine. I was exhausted, it was 2am, I had two irritable young kids in tow. I just said “Enjoy the party”. Not happy Jan!

K. Leonard

Once when returning from Japan, I had customs officials at Narita airport confiscate a  souvenir bottle of sake, beautifully decorated with Japanese woodblock prints.  However, once through customs and immigration I was able to buy an identical item from the duty-free store which made a nonsense of this curious rule.

G. Clarke

Several years ago we flew QANTAS to Paris via London with the London to Paris sector on British Air. We were not staying at London Heathrow; it was purely a 2 hour transit stop. As we left the QANTAS flight the Head Steward for some reason which is still a mystery, presented my wife and I with a bottle of French Champagne. Feeling very chuffed with our-selves and looking forward to putting the bottle on ice once we arrive in Paris we made the short walk simply from the arrivals gate to the departure gate in the same terminal for our next flight obviously staying within the secure part of the airport. All was well until we arrived at the entrance to the departure lounge there was another security screen. Passengers who bought wine and spirits at Duty Free were able to keep their purchases providing the duty free bag was still sealed but as we were carrying our bottle of champagne in a small back pack it was confiscated. We showed our tickets and boarding passes to prove we were in transit but it was all to no avail. As the bottle went into the large wire bin along with all the other sundry bottles of water etc  we noticed the security handled it carefully to make sure the bottle wasn’t broken. Perhaps the contents became an end of shift tipple.

C. Jones

Before I bought a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue at LHR gate-side Duty Free, I checked that it would be ok to take all the way directly thru to Sydney and was assured that as it was sealed in a D/F bag it was not a problem. I was in transit via Bangkok and at security back into the departure gate they flatly refused to allow it through, insisting it was the Australian government rules. I was furious – who wouldn’t be?!?!, having a $250 bottle confiscated – and insisted on seeing a manager, but he backed them up. What made me more furious was that every airport seems to have a different interpretation of the rules.

Another time at LHR I was forced to dispose of 2 sealed gift packs each containing a hand cream & body lotion –  50mls each – because I already had one sealed plastic bag containing my own belongings for the flight home. Why?!?!?! What is the point in the restriction??? What difference would 2 more factory-sealed 100ml packs had made??? 

Security must have a wonderful time with all the confiscated goods……..

K. Buckeridge

After a tour of a famous Champagne house in Reims, France, we decided to purchase a boxed bottle of the best vintage champagne for each of our two sons -in-law. I had no problem carrying the bag as hand luggage on the flight from Paris to Malaysia. But during transit in Malaysia, at the security scan, I was told I would have to hand over the champagne, as it was over the 100ml liquid limit. I pleaded, begged, negotiated, and finally decided I would just start to walk on to the plane with my prized champagne, so determined was I that my bottles would not join the 40-50 other bottles of alcohol lined up on the floor. An embarrassed husband pretended he didn’t know me as I started to slowly walk past the barrier, but my journey was short lived, when a rifle toting guard jumped in front of me and stated, ” take one more step and I will arrest you”. Sorry sons in law that you never got to taste that wonderful vintage champagne. I. Nemes

Some years ago before the cost cutting, I asked for and received an upgrade to Qantas first class (from economy). The staff treated me like a full fare paying first class customer, and after an excellent flight, plying me with champagne and caviar, as I left the purser asked if I had room in my bag for another bottle of their excellent champagne. Naturally I accepted his kind offer, saying I would try to find room, but as I had an immediate connecting flight, and no way to put the bottle into my checked luggage, the champagne was confiscated at the next check-in. Of course I was disappointed, but as they say, easy come, easy go.

A. Danilov

Flying Dallas to Sydney with a fuel-stop in Brisbane, I had purchased two bottles of alcohol at Dallas Airport, both were sealed in a Duty Free bag.  At Customs in Brisbane, the Whiskey was cleared, but the bottle of Baileys was confiscated on grounds that it was deemed a “security risk”.  Talk about inconsistency or a Customs Officer who likes Baileys!  

P. Shearman




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