Posted January 31st, 2009, 11:02 AM
This is not something new, just since the TSA. Restrictions have gotten tighter, but my first trip to Europe in 1987, my Travel Agent advised me to take ANY medication (even aspirin) in it's original bottle. I always buy small bottles and take in it's new unopened sealed container. And if it's a prescription, in the bottle with a label with my name on it.
Since the TSA got involved, all these bottles go into the 1 quart plastic baggie for inspection. The only problem I had was a 2 oz bottle of Tears Naturale eye drops. The agent took it out of the plastic bag and asked what it was. I explained they were eye drops for dry eyes. He asked the agent next to him, and was told it was okay, since it was under 4 oz.
However, I did see one lady in front of me at LAX have her small daily container totally emptied into the trash can. As well as very expensive bottles of perfume. I traveled to Budapest on 10/18/2001 following 9/11 and they were discarding everything. The trash containers were overflowing with discarded items.
On our return from our Med cruise in Oct '08, I'm not sure what triggered security at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, as we made sure not to have any liquids, but they pulled us aside and made us empty every single thing from our carry-ons, and she had a small wipette that she ran over certain items. I'm not even sure if the wipette changes color or was tested or what, but after about 15 minutes, she came back to us and said we could go. But then it took us another 5-10 minutes to repack everything into our carry-on bags. Had we been on a tight schedule, that 30 minute delay could have caused us to miss our flight. Besides the fact that you are in a foreign country, they explain nothing to you, and this is all done in full view of everyone else going through security. We were both shaking from this encounter, as we had no idea what they had seen or was looking for.
On the other side, I understand the folks saying they have never had a problem. My friend and traveling companion takes a ton of medications. She very carefully had her doctor give her small prescription bottles, and she packed in a quart baggie. Going through security, nobody ever even took that baggie out of her carry-on to look at the various medications.
But it doesn't mean they can't, or don't look at those things and why would you want to have your trip start or end on that note? It is very embarassing and scary to be singled out, pulled to the side and searched or frisked. I try to comply to their rules, and even then sometimes it just doesn't work.