I have been using Polo Ralph Laurent for more than a decade now. I used this brand often because I do like the smell of it and mostly because I am used to it, or I would say out of habit. One month ago I visited Myanmar and as I flying back to Bangkok, I bought my Polo Sport in one of the duty free shop located in Don Muang Airport. The size available at that time was only the 125 ml bottle pack. I would prefer smaller packaging, something that is less than 100 ml for easy traveling by air. Since there was nothing smaller than 125 ml, I decided to buy it any how.
After a month, is time for me to fly out again and this time I would be flying to Singapore. Bought a flight with Tiger Airways and was scheduled to depart from Survanabumi International airport. I love traveling light and always avoid having to check in any baggage. As I was packing my backpack, I managed to squeeze in all my clothing for a week. Feeling all happy, I suddenly realized that my Polo Sport is 125 ml. Being an experience traveler, I knew this would some what create a problem for me.
Security in the airport has been really tight and any liquid container that is more than 100 ml will not be allowed to be carry on board. I was hoping to find a zip lock plastic bag within my minimal possessions of things but to my disappointment I have none. Since I have to go to the airport within 30 minutes ( I am guilty of being a late packer! ), I decided to just bring my Polo Sport with me. I remembered seeing someone being given a zip lock plastic bag by the airport securities for containers with liquid that are over the allowed limit of 100 ml. With this in my mind, I was hoping to be given a plastic bag and board on the plane without any fuss.
As I arrived at the airport, I went to the check in counter to get my boarding pass. Got my boarding pass and went straight to the immigration counter to get my stamp of leaving Thailand. Walked a bit more and finally reached the airport securities area. This is the part of traveling by air I hated the most. Every country has different rules when it comes to airport securities. Some countries requires you to take off your shoes and some don’t.
By now I know the routine pretty well. Took off my belt, took out my laptop and put on a tray that is provided by the airport security and put my backpack on the scanning machine. Walk passed the metal detector without any problem but as I wanted to collect my backpack, one of the male airport security dude requested that I opened my bag. He then saw my Polo Sport and asked me to take it out and show it to him. He told me my Polo Sport is over 125 ml and I cannot bring it on board. I then asked him if there’s any zip lock bag provided by them so that I could bring my 2,200 BHT perfume with me. He said the airport does not provide any zip lock plastic bag. He gave me two options, either I leave my Polo Sport behind or I could check in with my luggage. I told him I do not have any check in luggage. His face reaction was really cold and at one point I swore he has the expression of, “I will be using Polo Sport perfume for the next few months” look.
I began to feel really annoyed and desperate at the same time. So I decided to go to the begging and pleading route, to get sympathy from this airport security guy. It didn’t work! And I started to get annoyed even more when he told me if I was carrying this Polo Sport in a duty free plastic bag, he would allow me to bring it on board. The problem with Survanabumi airport is, the duty free shops are only available after you pass the airport security. I then asked him if he could allow me to pass the airport security and head on to the duty free shop and buy something and put my Polo Sport in it as well. The answer was still a NO go.
He then suggested I go check in my Polo Sport at the check in counter which annoyed me even more. To me the idea seems so silly and I hate the idea of going back to the check in counter again. I was faced with a dilemma of either leaving my almost brand new Polo Sport or pay a certain amount of money to check it in. After deciding for a good 1 minute, I decided to go to the check in counter downstairs. As I was walking, my head was thinking all sort of ideas just to avoid checking in the tiny bottle of perfume. I told myself, maybe there would be some nice folks who are checking in their luggage and my Polo Sport could tag along. I just have to put on a sympathetic face and ask nicely, I convinced myself to do just that.
The check in counter staff was surprised to see me again as I was approaching her. I told her my woes but she told me that there’s nothing she could do. She seem more sympathetic towards me compared to the airport security dude. I asked her how much to check in my Polo Sport and she told me is 750 BHT. That’s like more than a quarter of the price that I paid for my perfume! I then asked her if she could keep it for me and I will get it from her once I return to Bangkok. She brushed off the idea politely by saying I might not be able to see her again that easy. I bet if I look like Mario Maurer she would just give me her phone number and keep my Polo Sport right away. Too bad I don’t even look remotely close to Mario, even when he is hit by a truck!
As I was deciding whether to check in my Polo Sport or not, I decided to try my luck in approaching passengers who might sympathize with me. I then saw two young couple of Chinese descent walking towards the check in counter. They look like nice people and I approached the Chinese guy and told him my situation. He wasn’t really interested in listening to my woes and before I could end my story, he just told me sorry and NO. Being human, I was kinda annoyed at the way he said no but at the same time, I can’t really be mad at him because of all the crazy tales we hear about airport scams. He is most likely playing it safe and not wanting to carry something for a stranger.
Feeling defeated, I decided to check in my backpack together with my perfume and paid the 750 BHT fee. Feeling really annoyed and pissy, I walked pass the airport security once again. Scanned my laptop, walked pass the metal detector once again. The process amplified my annoyance even more but I just kept calm. I didn’t even want to make eye contact with the airport security dude, just to avoid having to see him making a smug face or grinning with satisfaction. When you are annoyed, everyone will look like bad person to you.
Sitting in the boarding area, I still couldn’t let the incident die off. It has nothing to do with me being a stingy bastard but I wasn’t really sure who and why I am so pissy. I tried not to blame the airport security dude, as he was just doing his job. I tried not to be angry at the couple who refused to help me out as it is not normal to carry things for strangers in the airport. As I started to cool down, I saw some people carrying duty free bags with alcohol in it. This rules just doesn’t make any sense! Just because the alcohol were bought in the duty free area, this is allowed. He could be an expert bomber and has one whole bottle of Johnny Walker Black to create a bomb and blast all of us to kingdom come!
Finally it was time to board the plane, still feeling defeated and annoyed, I felt like telling everyone I see about how silly the airport security rules really are. I sat next to a guy who sat next to the window. He has earphones plugged to his ears, lucky him, he doesn’t have to listen to my rant. I was given the middle seat and hoping someone without earphones would take the aisle seat. Finally a familiar face was taking the aisle seat. This couldn’t be happening! It was the guy from the couple who didn’t wanna help me taking the aisle seat next to me. I can’t be ranting to him about what humanity has become with all these paranoia of awful airport tales.
As he took his seat, he asked me nicely in Mandarin if I want to take the front seat where the girlfriend or wife would be seating. He made it out to be like he is doing me a favor by offering me his partners front seat to me, which is like a few seats away from us. This is a budget airlines, and the front seat is not a first class seat like what he is making it out to be. I then calmly told him that I will take the front seat not because I wanted to sit in front but rather to HELP him with the sitting arrangement. I did emphasize on the word “HELP” to send my message across. I know it was not right to do that but some how it made me felt better as I took the front seat.
Note : Picture of my Polo Sport in a zip lock bag was taken when I flew back from Singapore to Bangkok. No problem with Singapore airport securities.