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Comment: Beauty products and airport security


Summer holiday season is fast approaching, and CEO of health & beauty retailer Aaron Chatterley argues that sales of cosmetics products across the UK have been boosted by the tightening of airport security.

Do you remember the days when flying was fun? No, me neither. Every time I have to go abroad there is always some new form of bureaucratic torture to be endured. I am lucky in that I use Jersey Airport – and it is one of the best.

But I suspect most of us have been on the receiving end of the following conversation:

Check-in attendant: “I am sorry sir, that bottle contains 102ml of liquid and you are only allowed to have 100ml in your carry on luggage.”

Passenger: “But the bottle is nearly empty!”

Check-in attendant: “Sorry sir that is the rule. But you can check in your bag if you like.”

Passenger: “OK, I will do that.”

Check-in attendant: “Great. That will be £30.”

Passenger: “What?!”

Check-in attendant: “Yes sir, that is the cost of having a piece of hold luggage.”

Passenger: “OK forget it, I will buy more eau de gentlemen perfume in duty free.”

One on occasion, I fell foul of an Air France check in attendant who, after a prodding of the goats cheese that I had purchased at some expense in a little deli in Paris, insisted that her brethren’s finest fromage was sufficiently ripe to count as a gel and therefore had to be put in my hold luggage. Needless to say that my wardrobe smelled of old socks by the time I got home.

Sometimes I wish I was in the airport retail business. I dread to think how much cosmetics they shift on the back of the 100ml rule.

Are there meetings in smoky rooms between sinister lobbying groups - working on behalf of retailers - and government ministers on the subject?

I think we have a right to know!

For weekend breaks, short business trips and such, it is appropriate only to take a carry-on bag.

It’s for these occasions that you buy your favourite fragrance in a 30ml size. Yes, you could buy 50ml as it would be better value, but there is also the restriction on the size of plastic bag you can use! And dealing with airport check-in officialdom, these things are important considerations!

In this case the fragrance retailer benefits as the customer will buy two sizes, the 30ml travel size and the much better value 100ml size that they’ll use at home.

Atomizers have also seen a resurgence as a result of the travel regulations. Once seen as something only granny would use, they are now an integral item in the short break lovers’ precious plastic bag.

Beauty companies have totally embraced the restrictions by producing a huge variance of travel packs that include skin care, haircare, body care, candles, essential oils and so on.

My little plastic bag is permanently packed and I’m ready to go at a moment’s notice I also buy into promotions that have travel sizes as the gift.

If anything, overall sales of beauty products will have benefited from security restrictions.

But frankly, if the 100ml rule is ever relaxed, I will be the first person to applaud the decision!

Note: The views expressed here are those of Aaron Chatterley and do not necessarily represent the views of Retail Gazette.

Published on Friday 24 June by Editorial Assistant

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