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  • MAP Asia Pacific Ltd

Business travel will not recover any time soon, but so what?

He was on the shortish side, probably in his forties, with pale hair, eyes of ice and the steely voice of a remorselessly officious prig.

“All your liquids have to go into one plastic bag no larger than 20 by 20 centimetres,” he said flatly, as I stood in the security line at Stansted airport last weekend.

I had two bags, both the wrong size, and inside one was an item the man declared he would be confiscating forthwith: roll-on mosquito repellent.

“But I’ve flown with this stuff for years!” I whined. “And where’s the rule that says a bag has to be 20 by 20 centimetres?” Behind me in the queue, I felt eyes starting to roll as people realised they were in the presence of the worst type of traveller: the idiot kind.

The security man was quite correct. The bag size rule has been around since at least 2006, a Google search later showed, and though the insect repellent rules are less clear, I should have known better.

Not having been inside an airport for nearly 18 months was no real excuse. Nor was the unsettling dread that another official was about to pounce on an error lurking in the fat binders of Covid paperwork needed to get on the plane. Nor the fear that, if I ever managed to board the rammed Ryanair flight to Spain, I would be lucky to exit uninfected.


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