The Severe Australian Custom Regulations according to the Qatar check in person.
I knew instantly and instinctively that the check in process with the Qatar clerk was heading towards a mildly irritating interaction. Given I am flying Business Class there was minimal queue – I approached carrying my rucksack in front and luggage on my back (backpack style and about 15kg). Curtly she requested that she needed my passport and please put my luggage on the weigh belt.
Now that is a quite reasonable request but it was asked abruptly and in such a manner as to imply that both tasks needed to done not only rapidly but simultaneously. Such a feat wouid be impossible even for the winner of the Gold medal in the clean snatch and grab event at Sydney olympics – a weight lifting event which has nothing to do with what ever else you may be thinking!
Having completed the process and confirming that my luggage had been booked through to Adelaide, she then said “Sir, I must warn you that due to Australian Border and Custom Regulations any duty free goods that you purchase in Frankfurt will be confiscated in Doha as you are not permitted to take them through to Australia “.
I was totally dumbfounded. Not that I had any intention of buying duty free goods anyway! Was this, I pondered, the influence of bloody Barnaby Joyce. For final good measure she clarified the ruling by emphasising that any expensive perfumes would not only be confiscated but she said breathlessly, destroyed! So it seemed that any Chanel No 5 I might purchase would be drained away into the Suez Canal.
The statement was delivered with a complex combination of severity and schadenfreude: don’t blame me or Qatar, blame Australia. She saw my quivering bottom lip, how could any country that has just voted back in Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister, be so authoritarian! Then perhaps realising that she had been rostered on the Businesses Class check in desk this morning rather than Economy, she back tracked a little and reassured me that of course nothing would stop me from buying a couple of hundred dollars of duty free chocolates…. So long as I ate them before landing in Doha.
She was I am convinced a retrenched member of the former East German STASI police force.
In a brain fog I rambled through the avenues of duty free shops with the realisation that like Johnny Deep’s dogs, I had been effectively neutered. Bugger Barnaby Joyce I seethed! I shall buy clothing – wear it on and off the plane AND a bottle of a 100ml bottle of Tom Forde Neroli at $289… Which I shall drink before landing! Skip the Moet.