Shots on a Plane

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26th of September 2017.

Wherever I go, coffee goes too.

When I go to the office, I take my little glass and chrome French press in my handbag. When I go travelling, I pack my sturdy little moka pot in my backpack. If I’m looking to impress on the road, I’ll pack my Aeropress in there too. I’m well used to carrying my own coffee maker and my own grinds to ensure location doesn’t impact my beloved morning ritual and my addiction to short, sharp coffee. (See my previous article, Other People’s Coffee for more details)


But this week I took it one step further when I travelled on a flight between Glasgow and Barcelona with quite an extraordinary hand luggage. It only just met the strict cabin bag restrictions: weight, ten kilograms. Size, too big and too hard to be squeezed under the seat in front, that’s for sure.

I was worried it wouldn’t get through security, pleaded with my mother to stay in the airport car park until I’d confirmed I’d passed the scanner. Worst case scenario, she’d come back inside and take my hand luggage home. So what was inside, swaddled in bubble-wrap and a bright green puffer jacket?

My espresso machine, of course.

I did my research before the flight, trawled the internet for advice on how best to transport my beloved machine at 35,000 feet. I couldn’t find any evidence that espresso machines were prohibited as part of hand luggage, but given the tightened security measures across Europe, I wasn’t convinced.

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I was nervous when I reached security but smiled at the guard as I heaved my machine onto the little plastic tray and watched it trundle down the conveyer belt towards the scanner. Once inside, the belt stopped. The security officer pulled his chair closer to the table, pressed his face closer to the screen.

A colleague leaned down, squinted over his shoulder.

Then they both looked up, gave me a quizzical look. One of them nodded to me, then the screen, then looked back to me. “I was just thinking I needed a coffee”, he said, and then, thankfully, he smiled.

We were through.

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It was VIP treatment from then on, with airline staff giving my machine its own seat, at no extra price. And so the flight was a success – but will my espresso machine become a frequent flyer? No chance.

Home is where the shots are.


Pics by Annie Spratt and Michal Parzuchowski