Early last week a United Airlines passenger received their checked luggage only to find that their unopened $100 Glenmorangie single malt was returned one-third empty. The passenger blamed United baggage handlers, but I found the situation curious.
- It’s not only the airline with access to the bag. For instance, TSA opens bags.
- Surely the bottle must have spilled? The passenger insists it did not.
- If someone was going to steal it, why not just take the whole bottle?
Hey @united – bottle of expensive scotch in checked bag. Arrived opened and a third gone. No leakage. It was sealed new when packed and seal broken by opening. Your baggage handlers are thieves. pic.twitter.com/UHzTLzF4Eu
— Though it be not written down, I am an ass. (@TheDogberry) March 28, 2023
The passenger whose bottle of ‘A Taste Of Cake’, aged in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in a Tokaji dessert wine cask, found my post and shared that there was “no TSA slip” and the bottle had been “sealed” when it was packed, yet “It arrived..cap opened and seal broken. There is NO WAY it leaked….the box was dry. The cap was replaced.”
And now I also have the rest of the story. The bottle was a gift for Christopher Ambler, who posted the photo of one-third of its contents having gone missing. It was actually transported to Las Vegas by James Glendening who also found his way to the comments here. He’s in the wine and spirits industry, and had traveled to Vegas for the Bar & Restaurant Expo. And he knows how to protect a good bottle of whiskey.
I use a hardhsell Samsonite suitcase with combo locks, and I use specially made 2 part bottle carry bags with an inner sleeve of bubble wrap style material & an outer sleeve of heavy plastic that has 2 spaced rows of Ziploc style seals and then an additional velcro closure to contain leaks in case of breakage.
The Glenmorangie comes in a box, I had to remove it from the box and pack it in the sleeve so it was visibly full and with an unbroken seal when packed. When I got to Vegas and took it out of the bag to show Christopher, it was removed from the protective sleeve and the seal was broken. There was no leakage in the luggage, and pressure couldn’t have opened it and then put the cork back in, much less removed it from the protective sleeve.
The seal on the scotch was “obviously cut.” Sadly they poured the remaining two thirds of the bottle down the drain, no longer knowing or trusting what was inside.
One reader suspects that whomever opened the back poured a third of the bottle into another container. And that’s how much fit. They wouldn’t have wanted to get caught with a stolen bottle, or even a bottle of whiskey on the job. This gave them a taste.
We don’t actually know whether this was a United Airlines employee, a TSA employee, or someone else working at the airport. But it does seem like one-third of the bottle was taken, not just spilled. And United has provided $200 travel credit as an apology.