Flush of Luxury – liquid products bought in Budapest’s Airport forbidden on US-bound flights.

The paranoia that has gripped European airports continues to outgrow all bounds.

Last week, we bought six bottles of prime Hungarian pálinka (apricot brandy) at the Budapest Airport Duty Free shop, on our way to New York. The gifts were sealed by duty free agents into clear plastic bags, along with a receipt inside.

Unfortunately, all of the pálinka was confiscated and liquidated, when our travel itinerary changed due to bad weather, and we were forced to fly through Amsterdam. There, the security agents told us that we’d only be able to bring it with us if it were bought in Amsterdam’s Duty Free shops. When we appealed, the security supervisor said “it’s the law”, and that eariler that day he had to flush down a $900 bottle of wine. (Our pálinka only set us back about $80.)

It appears that the Budapest Duty Free routinely sells liquid products to US-bound passengers, perfectly knowing that they will have problems. The “new security rules” posted on the Airport’s website make no mention of US-bound flights, citing only that “passengers transferring in some EU airports cannot take liquids through the transfer airport”.

Who’s at fault? Where to appeal? Isn’t Hungary part of the EU? If so, why are liquid items from Amsterdam fine, but not from Budapest? Nobody had the answers, and we were suggested to write a letter to the Budapest Duty Free.

The situation seems confusing, sad, wasteful, and probably repeats itself several times every day. Until there are clear signs on all liquid products – IN ENGLISH – at the Budapest Duty Free, there are bound to be hundreds of disappointed passengers.

Please help spread the word.

–Inna Barmash and Lev Zhurbin

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