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Duty Free alcohol confiscated on arrival at Heathrow

Oxfordshire, UK
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Duty Free alcohol confiscated on arrival at Heathrow

Hello all. I am hoping that someone can shed some light on what happened here as I'm quite confused by my elderly dad's account.

He bought two bottles of ice wine at the Duty Free shop at Vancouver airport. On arriving at Heathrow (terminal 2) these were confiscated. He said that there was some screening process on disembarking the plane (this is where I am confused as the last time I flew into Heathrow (not T2) there was no such thing). He was asked if he had any liquids and showed them the two bottles, which were promptly confiscated owing to the Vancouver Duty Free shop not having put them in a sealed bag. He was not in transit, but arriving into the UK.

I asked him various questions about this, but am more confused than ever by his account. Is there now security screening on landing in the UK? And surely the time for asking about liquids in hand luggage is on boarding the plane, not disembarking?

Wiltshire, United...
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1. Re: Duty Free alcohol confiscated on arrival at Heathrow

Sadly I have to agree, his story as currently outlined makes no sense, it is as you say security before boarding only. Even if he attracted a customs officer in Heathrow he would be allowed 2 bottles of wine.

Lateral thought, did he change planes part way such as in Toronto where lack of non-tamper evident bags would cause confiscation I I think)?

Oxfordshire, UK
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2. Re: Duty Free alcohol confiscated on arrival at Heathrow

Thanks PMQ. No change of flight, it was direct Vancouver to Heathrow. This is all very confusing.

Phoenix, Arizona
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3. Re: Duty Free alcohol confiscated on arrival at Heathrow

Now, it was May, but flew into LHR T2 from SFO. No transit, as we were flying to London.

No such screening for us, at that time. We did UK Passport Control, but then, this could be different, we did “walk-through” UK Customs, as we had nothing to declare.

Was it at UK Customs, where this occurred? If so, I would have *thought* that at the most, your father would have had to pay Duty, if applicable, rather than have the Ive Wine seized.

I think that more details might be required?

Best of luck,

Hunt

Oxfordshire, UK
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4. Re: Duty Free alcohol confiscated on arrival at Heathrow

Thanks Loup. He says it was before customs, as he didn't have his hold luggage. He mentioned having to take his shoes off and being asked about having any liquids. I am starting to wonder if he is a bit confused (he is 80, though he otherwise seems entirely compus mentis) and this actually happened at Vancouver. But he was adamant that it was at Heathrow.

Berkshire, England
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5. Re: Duty Free alcohol confiscated on arrival at Heathrow

It really does sound as if this happened at security in Vancouver but then how did he manage to buy the Duty Free before security? Very confusing as you say.

Edited: 15 October 2017, 16:58
Wales, United...
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for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
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6. Re: Duty Free alcohol confiscated on arrival at Heathrow

I've never experienced, nor heard of, such screening at LHR. What would be the poitn when the flight is over? As PMQ initially said, there would be no problem at all, customs wise, with bringing in two bottles wine.

London, United...
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7. Re: Duty Free alcohol confiscated on arrival at Heathrow

I think you are probably correct, there could be no reason for him to take his shoes off and declare liquids on arrival at Heathrow. Age and jet-lag maybe confused him?

Not sure it was Duty Free if it was not properly packed and sealed, which would account for him having it before he went through Security and it being confiscated.

Having said that, many older people with or without a diagnosis of dementia easily lose track of the sequence of recent events although appearing mentally alert. It may be, sadly, that you need to take this as an early sign that he is perhaps beginning to struggle with his memory

Edited: 15 October 2017, 17:06
Edinburgh, Scotland
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8. Re: Duty Free alcohol confiscated on arrival at Heathrow

>>>He said that there was some screening process on disembarking the plane <<<

Ok, so lets take his word for it, lets say he was right?

There could possibly have been some extra special intelligence led screening between disembarkation and passport control and carousel - surely not impossible, but why take the wine?

There is always the off chance it was a opportunist set up, faking to be formal, and hussling as much drink as they could from vulnerable or elderly passengers. Perhaps standing beside a table calling passers by to the side, asking a few questions, relieve them of their drink, and then proceed merrily on their way . . . . . hmmm sinister, but not impossible ;-)

My next move would be to call Heathrow, all details in hand, relay your fathers tale with complete confidence he is right (adamant if need be) and ask for the details of "who stole the wine" and why?

You'll soon find out if your dads got it wrong, if it was formal or not - and if it was a scammer . . . you've done them a big favour.

Albany, New York
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9. Re: Duty Free alcohol confiscated on arrival at Heathrow

I'm transiting LHR in a few weeks from the USA en route to Greece. From what I gather I'll have to go through security screening which includes the liquids limitations. Maybe somehow he ended up with other passengers going through there? But surely they would check boarding cards?

Travelling The World
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10. Re: Duty Free alcohol confiscated on arrival at Heathrow

Could he have followed Flight Transfers by mistake at LHR?