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Corkscrews and Security
Copyright 2001 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved. Originally printed September 21, 2001. For more information go to

As a wine enthusiast and frequent traveler, I routinely carry a couple of corkscrews in my travel kit. You never know when you're going to encounter a bottle of wine that needs to be opened, and I figure it's better to be safe than sorry!

But in the aftermath of last week's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, it appears that "safe" has been redefined: According to news accounts about heightened airport security measures, the humble corkscrew is now considered a potential weapon for terrorists.

A Florida senator recently got headlines when he succeeded in carrying a pocket knife, scissors, files and tweezers and a corkscrew onto an airliner without being questioned. A Northwest Airlines flight crew scolded security guards for allowing them to board with a pocket knife and a corkscrew. And an Associated Press photo in today's newspapers showed a pile of items confiscated from passengers at Boston's Logan Airport that included such dangerous items as manicure scissors, a dinner fork ... and a variety of corkscrews.

Confiscation? That's a little strong. They'll have to fight me for my rosewood-handle French Laguiole. But I get the message: Next flight, I'll pack the thing in checked baggage, or more likely I won't bring it at all.

There are effective ways to increase airline security. I'm not convinced that confiscating corkscrews is one of them. But the message to wine lovers is clear enough: Avoid hassles. For the duration, at least, leave your corkscrew home.


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