STEB – I didn’t Know about it !

Malati and I have been veteran tourists and have traversed across many countries in the world. We are not much fans of duty free shopping and my duty free shopping has always been limited  to whiskey of a Johnny Walker kind  which is  easily available at Indian duty free shops on arrival. And so we  pick up two bottles each (max permitted by Indian customs) on arrival in India. Saves us the hassle of lugging it around.

This time however on a request from my daughter I bought a bottle of Roku Gin from Narita Airport Duty free. I was on a Cathay flight to Hong Kong and onwards to Hyderabad with  a short layover in Hong Kong. The kindly lady  at the counter sealed the duty free bag with the  bottle inside and repeatedly gave me  specific instructions  not to open the sealed package till my final destination.

Along with this briefing she handed me a leaflet-the contents of which is what I wanted to share with my readers. I was not fully aware of this and I am not sure how many of  my readers are. Had I lost a bottle or two at any of the transit airports I would perhaps gotten wiser earlier. Nowhere in my travels has any one so explicitly explained the whole theory of STEB as clearly as this notice – A typical example of Japanese thoroughness. An STEB is an acronym for Security Tamper Evident Bag.  The detailed  specifications for this bag are laid down by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for carriage of Liquids Aerosols and Gels (LAG in airline parlance) which explains why duty free bags look identical across different duty free shops.

Here are some instruction from the leaflet in English and Japanese.Do go through.Would perhaps save you a bottle or two of your favourite brew!







  1. That is very educative. A hint from me to save a few bucks at the Indian Duty Free shops. During your out bound leg of the journey buy the desired duty free items. Tell them you will collect wnen you return from abroad. You get a special discount of 10% for the purchase and your shopping can be collected on return after you collect your checkin baggage at the arrival lounge.


  2. I tried this one on one of my business trips many years ago only to find that the duty free shop was shut on my return to bombay.
    Never tried it again but then that was years ago Maybe should try again
    It s a good idea !


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