Why do they sell alcoholic beverages inside of airports? Since it is flammable, it could be possible that someone buys some bottles (I believe up to 5L per person), and could decide to start a fire on board. Isn't this very dangerous?

PS: you can also buy lighters in the airport! How is it possible?

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    $\begingroup$ I heard that they also allow you to wear clothing (flammable!) and even hair (highly flammable!), which I find way more dangerous! $\endgroup$ – Jörg W Mittag Nov 14 '16 at 8:22
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    $\begingroup$ To put @JörgWMittag's comment more politely, because there's compromise in everything. People are willing to take the risks you outline so they can enjoy a drink themselves. $\endgroup$ – Notts90 is off to codidact.org Nov 14 '16 at 9:02
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    $\begingroup$ @FedericoGentile because there's no good reason for you to have gasoline, there are many good reasons for alcohol. $\endgroup$ – Notts90 is off to codidact.org Nov 14 '16 at 12:29
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    $\begingroup$ This is really difficult to answer because there are so many possibilities and so many of them are theoretical. For example, why burn the alcohol - with very little control over the results - when you can just smash the bottle and use the sharp glass as a weapon to threaten the crew? Why not buy a pencil and use it like a dagger? Why not buy a belt and use it as a garrote? Etc. Open-ended security questions are rarely useful because almost anything can be presented as a 'threat'. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Nov 14 '16 at 13:42
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on Travel.se instead. $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Nov 14 '16 at 14:08

Most alcoholic drinks are, in fact, nonflammable because they're mostly water.

The original definition of "proof" was that 100-proof was the minimum alcohol content required for a pellet of gunpowder soaked in the drink to still be able to burn. That corresponds to about 57% ABV, which is considerably stronger than most spirits. (The current definition of proof used in the US is that 100-proof means 50% ABV; the rest of the world, as far as I'm aware, has discarded proof and just uses ABV.) So, unless your alcohol is extremely strong, you can't even burn gunpowder in it. Beer would be about as good as water for putting out fires; probably wine, too.

You're probably thinking that alcoholic drinks are flammable because of their use in cooking. However, the reason you see impressive sheets of flame when a chef pours alcohol into a pan is that the pan is very hot. The heat instantly boils the alcohol and the chef then sets fire to the vapour above the pan. If, instead, they allowed the dish to cool to room temperature, then added the alcohol and dropped a match in the pan, the match would go out.

The real danger of selling alcohol in airports is people getting drunk. People do get obnoxiously drunk in airports and on flights and it relatively often causes problems – every few weeks you hear about a flight being diverted to deal with a violently drunk passenger. But, at the moment, it's felt that it's not a big enough problem to come close to banning the sale of alcohol.

You can buy lighters in airports because you're already allowed to carry them with you through security. Most things on a plane are reasonably well fire-proofed so somebody setting fire to their clothes or something like that can probably be dealt with by dumping a fire-extinguisher on then, before the fire spreads. And anybody lighting a lighter on a plane will attract immediate attention from everybody around them, followed by the cabin crew, followed by the police after landing.


Why do they sell alcoholic beverages inside of airports

Because they can!! Simple as that. Most countries has no regulation against selling alcohol to adults as long as they are not clearly intoxicated. If you appear intoxicated at any point of journey you may not be allowed to continue your flight though.

United Airline's website states the amount of alcoholic beverage that can be carried on board. With a note that the bottle cannot be open in flight.

So basicly if a passenger opens a bottle and try to set aircraft on fire, the passenger is treated as unruly and dealt with accordingly.


You can even buy Swiss pocket knifes in Geneva. Of course they are sealed in a plastic bag.

Nowadays airport security is beyond reason, and what you can take through and what not has only little to do with security.

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    $\begingroup$ indeed, ever more I've the feeling it has more to do with providing business for the shops in the departure lounge. Confiscate your bottled water so you're forced to pay 5 Euro+ for one after you clear security, with the airport no doubt getting a cut... $\endgroup$ – jwenting Nov 15 '16 at 7:17
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    $\begingroup$ @jwenting It's not the airport that decided you can't take liquids through security. And the cut of the shops profits that the airport takes is called "rent", just like everywhere else. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Nov 15 '16 at 14:25

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