The six weeks when we were reduced to a nation of people who smuggled toothpaste aboard aircraft is over.
As of this week, the Transportation Security Administration is allowing airline passengers to once again board their flights with toiletries — shampoo, shaving cream, mouthwash — in their carry-on bags — as long as they are in containers of three ounces or less, four ounces or less for eye drops, nonprescription medicines and “personal lubricants,” which, the AP noted with an arched eyebrow, “were not defined.”
And they must be carried in that newest piece of indispensable travel luggage, the one-quart, sealable clear plastic bag.
The stand down is from a complete ban imposed Aug. 10, following discovery of a bomb plot in England that appears to have involved more enthusiasm for jihad than a working knowledge of chemistry. The experts have determined that liquids in three and four-ounce amounts are not enough to damage an airliner.
Like so many security crackdowns on things rather than persons, the ban resulted in massive inconvenience, the wholesale junking of perfectly good products and more grief for the airlines. The amount of checked baggage went up 20 percent as hygiene- and appearance-conscious travelers crammed their after shave, deodorant and hair gels into their large suitcases.
The TSA will again allow drinks on board, as long as they are purchased from airport shops in the secure area. The time has come for the less forward-looking airports to allow the sale of carry-on martinis, a clear drink in a clear container — and how dangerous could an olive be? The passengers have earned one.