The Lono Travel Thai-aries ® – Drinking on the plane

Ed note: I recently returned from a two week trip to Asia.  It was fodder for a LOT of material. I kept a notebook with me everywhere and jotted down ideas as they occurred to me.  over the next few months, they will be posted sporadically as I put them together.  This is the first in the series.

*** First, start here, please.***

*** update 12.26.16 below

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step… drink.  This piece is quite specifically about sneaking booze onto a plane.  I am not a drunk, nor an alcoholic.  I used to drink a lot, not any more. I can prove it!  I left Denver for two weeks in Asia.  I had only a single bottle with me of tiny Jim Beam.  It was just leftover, I spaced going on a booze run for the flights.  Anyhow, that tiny one ounce bottle of bourbon never got used.  It ended up coming home with me.  I guess the first thing you need to know is this; outside the states, and especially on international flights… the booze is free and unlimited.

Here is what I have learned.  It is too expensive to drink on a plane… even for a sip.  They charge $6 for a tiny bottle of booze.  Plus, the payment thing is a pain in the ass.  Some airlines only take cash.  Some only take credit.  It’s all a pain in the ass.  AND>.. these days they don’t even give you the little booze bottle (which for me made 2 decent drinks).  They mix it for you.

What I want you to do is sneak hard alcohol onto the plane.  It is easy, satisfying, and fully legal (not fully moral, mind you.  Just legal).  Let’s break it down:

There are two very specific and very separate things you are dealing with when bringing booze on a plane:  security, and the plane.  It is important to understand how very separate these things are.  Your first challenge is security.  They do not care if you have booze.  They only care that the booze is under 3 ounces and is displayed in a little ziplock baggie.  Go to the liquor store before your trip and buy a ‘sleeve’ of little booze bottles.  These are the exact same thing they give you on a plane, but only cost $1 on the ground.  A sleeve is $10 and has ten simply adorable little booze bottles.   As long as you don’t touch this during your trip (the part where you are on the earth) that should be plenty for your whole flight there and back.

As long as your booze isn’t shaped like a gun, they don’t care.  Their job isn’t to make you pay full retail for the booze.  They don’t care about the airlines.  They care only about safety.  This is a good thing.

After security, put them away in your backpack/purse/carry on.

You are through with the legalities, and now there is the gray area.  The airline wants to sell you booze.  Just as the concert venue doesn’t want you bringing in outside beer, neither does the airline.  So, when they come around – get your free soda.  When they are gone, dump your tiny adorable bottle of booze in.  Just be discreet.  I have talked to people in the airline business, and they don’t want to bother you anymore than you want to be bothered.  It is truly a don’t ask/ don’t tell.  Its’ like having a joint at a Grateful Dead show.  No one cares, but be discreet.  You don’t walk up to a cop and light a joint, do you?***

How not to smuggle booze onto a plane, with a squirt gun.

I have been doing this for years, and it always works.  It’s not about the short game, of getting as drunk as you can on the plane.  Jesus, grow up man.  Flying tires you and dehydrates… so its the worse place to get drunk.  Plus, unlike on the Earth, getting drunk in space is a Federal Offense.  Just saying having a drink or two to take the edge off and get you vacation ready.

*** up ahead, morally and legally questionable angles.  So, stop reading now.

When you put your bag through security, it is looking for metal.  Only metal. It’s all they care about: knives and guns and bombs and the like.  If you want to bring booze and not be hassled with the plastic bag business, do this:  buy mini Jim Beam bottles.  They (and only they) have plastic tops.  There is no metal to be found anywhere in the product.  This is just me being lazy because I resent everything about how the TSA conducts their business.  If security does find your plastic bottles of booze that you were too goddamn lazy to put into a ziplock, simply say “oh, crap.  that’s right.  I am SO sorry about that’.  Then, they will give you a plastic baggy for your bottles and say “next time, sir…. “.  The worst thing that can happen is they throw them out.  As a matter of childish principles, I do this every time, and only get caught about 10%.

Now, don’t break the law.  Even if it is as simple as bringing something over three ounces to sneak on the plane… don’t do it.  Those TSA people are assholes with chips on their shoulders.  They have a taste of power and make $6 an hour.  So, there is nothing more they would like than to fuck with you. Don’t give them ammunition a good reason.  Be polite and respectful, ALWAYS in life, and you’ll get through just fine.
These little bottles are actually called ‘airplane bottles’.  That isn’t slang, it is the actual product name.  So, pay $6 up there, or a $1 on the ground, your call.  Frankly it is a moral imperative.

This is what your package should look like for the TSA.  Once you are on the plane, these bottles aren’t the airlines business.  Maybe you are bringing them with you because you can’t stand your family… that you are about to spend a week with.  You are simply taking them to your final destination. They (the airlines) only care if you crack these open on the plane… in front of them.  Again… just be discreet, man.

Lastly > is this a heroic thing to do?  Are sticking it to ’the Man’ in a robin hood like gesture.  No.  This is stealing – plain and simple.  Don’t rationalize it, you are a thief now.  Me?  I rationalize it.  If we pay $1 on the ground per bottle, I would imagine the airlines pay about 50 cents.  So, I am not down with a 1200% mark up.  It’s not competitive, and since you are stuck in the air with them, they have a monopoly.  This is simply anti-American.  That is how I rationalize it.  I am simply being cheap.  You, though, are just a dirty thieving drunk.

Safe travels!

*** post script.  I hate the TSA.  Maybe this should be its own piece.  They are all dicks, and make you feel like a criminal every time.  Every other airport in every other country was a delight.  The security in other countries want to help you, and they do.  They also smile.  Also, Asia doesn’t give a shit about your shoes or your tiny liquids.  One last thing, off all the stupid consumer restrictions in place, nothing we have would have stopped 9/11.  It wasn’t knives or bombs or guns they had.  It was ceramic knives.  Basically, it was pottery.  You can still get that through today.

As much as I absolutely love to fly, I dread everything about the airport experience.  It was quite sad to see the nice Korean people getting off the plane with us in Seattle (from Seoul).  The airport and TSA and customs people were all YELLING at us.  Not because d did anything wrong, it is just their shitty faux military delivery. SIR, I NEED YOU OVER HERE.  NO NO NO.  DID YOU NOT HEAR ME, I SAID OVER HERE SIR.

They thought they had done something wrong.  I had to explain ‘its ok, you didn’t do anything wrong.  They are all just dicks’.

**** udpate 12.26.16

I was flying yesterday, and I PAID for a drink!  Well, not money… I had a drink coupon.  You don’t get a little bottle anymore.  You used to get an adorable little booze bottle.


this meant you could make your own drinks.  You could also control how strong the drinks were.  For me, i always got two drinks out of each adorable bottle.  Well, now… they just pre-mix it for you.  Same price, but less booze and less control.  No wonder why we sneak booze on the plane.  We are being undermined!














5 thoughts on “The Lono Travel Thai-aries ® – Drinking on the plane

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