Duty Free Shopping and Air Travel Safety Questions

I’ve always wondered about the safety issues of buying duty free items after clearing security and passport control at some airports. This all done after checked luggage has already been shipped away to be security scanned and ready to be loaded onto the plane.

So the question is; why are we allowed to carry alcohol, perfumes and other flammable liquids on board the aircraft and why aren’t these items banned from the cabin?

The solution would be to only be able to purchase duty free alcohol, perfumes etc., before luggage is checked-in. Correct?

In fact no. Reason is that it is best to have anything flammable in the cabin where it can be put out by the crew. In the cargo hold these items may come into contact with other hazardous materials. One example are lithium-ion batteries which should never be in checked luggage. If they are damaged they can overheat and ignite. The high heat generated by the battery fire could crack bottles, ignite the alcohol and burn luggage through the compartment. A catastrophic situation.

A counter issue with taking alcohol and other duty free items into the cabin is their weight. This is all excess weight that is not weighed at check-in that ends up in the overhead bins. Usually only a small number of people tend to buy duty free so it’s not a major problem. If everyone did so (250-320 passengers) it would add plenty of weight and this could affect the trim of the plane at take off. Luckily it doesn’t happen and the pilots take this into consideration when calculating take-off weight.

I’ve been guilty in the past of buying alcohol too. Mind you I only did it because I had a few Changi Dollars to dispose of at Singapore’s Changi Airport or else I probably would have not bought any. I’m not a drinker and if I do, I have one or two only in the presence of the right company.

I think I’ll abstain (no pun intended) from buying any duty free alcohol before flying in future.

Are there any other items that could be bought at duty free that could cause safety and security issues onboard?

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