Nearly two years ago, I bemoaned the fact that Japan was installing liquid testing devices at its airports, but the U.S. and Europe weren’t. It’s 2008, and not much has changed.

What’s perhaps even more frustrating is that this isn’t new technology: Osaka Kansai Airport started testing passenger liquids with a microwave tester nearly four years ago. By December 2006, the machines were installed across Japan.

I haven’t seen these machines in action myself, but the perpetually mobile Tyler Brûlé has helpfully published a photo of a liquid tester on the Monocle website. See below for a peek of what the rest of the world might get its hands on someday.

The bigger question remains: Why is this device good enough for Japan, but not the United States or Europe? There’s money to burn for backscatter x-ray machines and puffer-machines that scan for explosives, but a customer-friendly device like a liquid tester is out of bounds. Priorities.

japan liquid tester Two years later, and still no liquid bomb detectors in US or EU airports

Plastic? Check.
Aluminum? Carry on!
Glass? What are you, a terrorist?


pixel Two years later, and still no liquid bomb detectors in US or EU airports
Categorized in: airport security, liquids

5 Responses to “Two years later, and still no liquid bomb detectors in US or EU airports”

  1. Andy Says:

    It seems that if you’re a trusted vendor you can now showcase it to TSA. See

  2. Snarki, child of Loki Says:

    And whenever I fly from Japan back to the US, during the security screeing they don’t require me to take off my shoes.

    Which is really weird, because in Japan you have to take off your shoes damn-near everywhere.

  3. Liquids aren’t a threat to air safety after all… in Mexico | Upgrade: Travel Better Says:

    [...] to which Mexico is indeed a party. And no, in case you were wondering, there aren’t any liquid scanners on site. Categorized in: Coffee and travel, airport security No CommentsSHARETHIS.addEntry({ [...]

  4. Is the end of the liquids ban in sight? | Upgrade: Travel Better Says:

    [...] It feels like we’ve made so little progress in the world since 2006. Back in 2008, there were liquid bomb testers in Japanese airports, and we still don’t see them in the US or [...]

  5. HOW TO: bring wine onboard a plane | Dr Vino's wine blog Says:

    [...] happen is a foreign country. Japan has allowed liquids on planes (for domestic flights only) since introducing liquid bomb detectors in 2006 (!). Mark Ashley says that another country that allows liquids on board domestic flights is [...]

Leave a Reply