No liquids above 3 ounce portions can accompany passengers on all flights to the United States. This is a law that has been in place for over a year, apparently. It seems simple enough. So when we checked in at the Cathay Pacific counters in Manila there was a notice and it seemed to refer mostly to cosmetics, bottled water, etc. I didnâ€™t notice if Duty Free Liquor is included in the ban. I wanted to bring two bottles of good vodka to the U.S. and I decided to ask at the Duty Free liquor shop if they knew what the rules were. The cashier gingerly answered that he thought it was prohibited â€œbawalâ€ to the U.S., so I returned the liquor to the shelves but another employee very confidently spoke up that it was okay, as long as the bottles were still sealed and the two bottles would be further encased in a plastic bag that would be heat sealed with the receipt stuffed inside. I asked again if he was sure, and he seemed confident. I was skeptical, but I was a moron and forgot to get the guyâ€™s nameâ€¦ I wonder if I could pick him out of a line-up of folks so that I can wring his neck until he begs to drink two bottles of good vodka in less than 2 minutes as his punishment for outright ignorance, or worse, a desire to sell the Vodka at any costâ€¦
After a brief stopover in Hong Kong, we boarded our flight and I was stopped on the airbridge because I was obviously carrying a duty free bag with liquor in it. I explained it was sealed and with original packaging but they didnâ€™t seem to speak English. Bizarre, for a previous English colony. I noted that other passengers who may have stuffed the bottles into their handcarried bags would have not been stopped and could easily have boarded with gallons of liquid, albeit illegally. There was no bag check per passenger and it is LEGAL to bring liquor to other destinations. After a fifteen minute wait and practically the last passenger to board, I was told that I could not bring the bottles on board. I didnâ€™t argue, it wasnâ€™t worth the $40 and the risk of missing my flight, but I was really quite outraged. And they never even allowed me to take the receipt out of the bag. They just took the liquor, probably to be resold or for a Friday night airport employee party of mammoth proportions. I actually wanted to open the bottles and lick them but that seemed a tad crass. So lesson learned. Do not bring any liquor or liquid if you are flying to the U.S. Do not, under any circumstances, believe the employees of the Duty Free Shop in Manila as they are obviously poorly informed about the rules and to that guy at the Duty Free Shop, you better hope my memory of your face fades faster than the interval to my next international trip as I will surely hunt you down and give you a piece of my Vodka free mindâ€¦ Thank God it wasnâ€™t two bottles of fine brandy in the bags… Gosh, worldwide duty free liquor sales must be plunging to new lows.