Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Bringing Home The Wine

Having been to Bordeaux I had to bring at least one bottle of red wine home with me. Unfortunately that turned out to be a lot harder than I expected.

Given the number of security restrictions in place when flying I knew that I wouldn't be able to buy wine in Bordeaux and then safely bring it home. I couldn't put it in my case for fear of it breaking and I wouldn't be allowed it in my hand luggage as it would definitely be more than 100ml in volume. So I decided to risk there being good wine to buy in Bordeaux airport after having passed through security.

Fortunately there was a shop after security with a pretty decent choice of French wine from the Bordeaux region. After quite a while I settled on the bottle in the picture. Paying for it, however, was where the trouble started.

I handed over cash and in return was given my wine in a carrier bag to make it easier to carry onto the flight. To me this all seemed reasonable. An hour or so later we arrived in Gatwick where we were due to change onto an internal flight to Manchester. This is where a problem quickly became apparent. To transfer from an international flight with BA to a national flight with BA you have to leave through passport control and security and then re-enter the airport as if you have just arrived at the airport by any other means of transport. This of course means that you have to go back through security and passport control where you cannot take a wine bottle. It turns out that in Bordeaux they should have placed my wine bottle in a clear plastic bag with the receipt clearly visible and then heat sealed the bag with security tape. If they had done that then I could have taken it onboard as hand luggage without a problem.

Fortunately BA were happy to put the wine in the hold so all I (and my boss who had bought two bottles) had to do was securely wrap it. So we traipsed across the check-in area to buy some bubble wrap at the luggage office then back across to check the wine into the hold and then back across again to the slow luggage belt where it was marked as fragile before being entrusted to the baggage system.

Fortunately it survived the short journey to Manchester without incident and was thoroughly enjoyed (with Venison steak) on Sunday evening.

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