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Singapore Sets Up In-Airport Mailing Service to Save Confiscated Items

June 15, 2010 at 5:00 PM | by | ()

We've long since given up any hope that TSA will adjust their seemingly arbitrary and often moronic carry-on confiscation rules. You'd think that the knowledge that they're uselessly defending us tomorrow from yesterday's attack, coupled with the realization that scrutinizing lotion bottles is causing them to sometimes miss upwards of 90% of hidden weapons, would change their focus.

Instead they just announced that summer travel is going to be hell because they don't have enough staff to juggle all their new useless scanners and all of the bags that need to be hand-search for orange juice or whatever.

Which brings us to the experiment being run at Singapore's Terminal 1. SIN and the Singapore Post have launched a two-month pilot project to deliver potentially confiscated goods back to people's homes or ahead to their destinations. Dubbed Speedpost@Changi, the joint service is targeted at people who unknowingly try to carry valuable contraband items through checkpoints.

The items targeted are those like expensive cosmetics, mementos like lighters and custom matchboxes, or grooming kits with banned sharp and pointy things. The program is the first of its kind in Asia, and if there's demand for it—and if the logistics don't bring the airport to a grinding halt—they'll expand it to the rest of the airport.

At SIN they've set up dedicated counters in the Terminal 1 holdrooms to make this work. Inside you can get barcode-stamped envelopes, fill out the addresses, and make your payments. But we're not sure how that model would get imported into the United States, just based on airport design and how TSA runs things.

Let's take a totally random hypothetical. Let's say that you're at PHL on your way to LAX, having originated at LHR the day before and having stayed at a hotel overnight. You put your bag through the x-ray machine, you walk through the metal detector, and you're pulled aside because something in your bag tripped an alarm. Now let's say that a random TSA official decides that the 3.4oz bottle of $135 perfume you bought in Europe—the one in a glass bottle that literally has "100ml" engraved on the bottom—looks to her like it's closer to 4oz. She demands that you give it up.

Now how would mailing the perfume ahead to LAX via a Speedpost-style service work?

Would there be a counter on your side of the checkpoint where you get escorted, and then a TSA agent would monitor you while you waited in line? That seems inefficient. Would you have to walk out of the terminal, then stand in a Speedpost line, then go back through the checkpoint? That seems like something most people wouldn't have the time to do. Does someone run up, take your information, accept your perfume, write down your credit card info, and then scurry away? Unlikely, right?

So we're not sure how they'd work out the logistics if Speedpost is introduced to US airports. But we desperately do want them to work out the logistics. Confused travelers of the world need this in this day and age.

[Photo: dyobmit / Flickr]

Related Stories:
· Speedpost@Changi Airport in Singapore [Asia Travel Tips]
· Airport Security [Jaunted]
· Security [Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

I love it

What a great idea! On a recent trip, I tried to bring some aerosol sunscreen with me in my carry-on luggage but, unfortunately, security/TSA took both (2) FULL and SEALED sunscreens away from me. (Apparently aerosols have never been allowed(?)....I didn't know.) Unfortunately, my departing airport didn't have any place for me to mail them back to myself...would have used the service if there was one. --Meliha http://www.desiblonde.com/