Until now I thought that the TSA restrictions of what could be brought on a plane had sunk as low as they could get. What I would not have guessed was that a recent restriction on that ban would make matters worse.

I was flying out of Oakland (OAK) Airport last week and was stunned at the lunacy of the TSA policy on liquids. It appears that liquids can be brought aboard the plane as long as they “fit comfortably in ONE, QUART-SIZE, clear plastic, zip-top bag.” They were totally serious about the “zip-top” bag portion of the requirement.

I saw someone unable to pass through security because they had one small travel-sized shampoo container but no zip-top bag to put it in. I was stunned that somehow she was a security risk to the airline industry because of the LACK of a zip-top bag.

Let’s think about this for a minute. If she had a zip-top bag TSA would have allowed her through security where she could have taken the shampoo out of the bag… and then what? Was she now brandishing a weapon of mass destruction?

Another lady had her toiletries in a clear bag of the proper size, but the top was a zipper, not the government required “zip-top”. While technically the zipper constituted a “zip” they would not allow her through. When I protested on her behalf the TSA rep looked me in the eye and said, “It is not permitted. If you want to discuss this with my supervisor you can.” I was in a rush to my plane, and did not want to get arrested and branded a terrorist, so I let it go.

Again, let’s examine the security risk here. If her clear zipper-top bag was a security risk then I could take a zipper, plus Ziplock bag, and combine the two creating such a weapon after I passed through security. Maybe they should have people remove the zippers from their pants before passing through security.

So, I wonder if there is a Ziploc and “small toiletry” lobby group that helps create these rules. At least one other person seems to think so. They also talk about it over on FlyerTalk. Ziploc is a registered trademark owned by the SC Johnson company, a privately held company, so we have no way of knowing if their valuation rose as a result of the new TSA rules, but I can imagine they did OK.

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