Saturday evening, Gatwick Airport, my first
flight since the security scare in the summer. The easyJet
queues are enormous, but there are only one or two in the
hand-luggage-only line. We’re asked if we have anything
liquid in our bags, and my companion Suzie admits to three
hotel-sized plastic shampoo bottles, which she leaves at the
desk. As we walk away she remembers that she also has some
roll-on deodorant in her bag.
We decide to risk it.
She goes through the security check before me. She isn’t
stopped. I empty my pockets into a plastic tray before going
through. Keys, phone, fags, wallet, pen, four pairs of disposable
contact lenses. “What are those?” asks the woman, fingering the
tiny plastic bubbles with foil on the top containing the lenses
in a drop of solution. “Contact lenses. Daily disposables.”
“You can’t take them on board.”
“How will I be able to see over the weekend?”
“Go back to check-in and put them in the hold.”
“But I haven’t any luggage in the hold.”
“You’ll have to check them in, or leave them here.”
I don’t lose my temper, but it’s close. It shows.
“You can keep one pair, for the journey,” she
“Can I keep two pairs? Please?”
“OK,” she says, snapping off two pairs and giving
them back to me. She throws the others into a big bucket.
Half an hour later, I’m loading Suzie’s bag in
the overhead rack on the plane. A small item falls out of
the pocket, and onto the floor. It’s a dolphin-shaped
sachet of shampoo. “I forgot about that,” says Suzie. I scoop it
up quickly and put it back in the bag. Passengers
stare at me suspiciously. We are living in strange times.
Enjoy the week.