Missed Dore Alley Because of Poppers

This is a message that I received from a guy who tried to travel on a commercial airline within the United States and carry poppers (Isopropyl Nitrite) in his checked luggage. He gave me permission to reproduce this message on my blog:

Hey BHD,

I found your guide to traveling with leather fetish gear when I was looking for information about whether I can bring poppers [ed.: Isopropyl Nitrate] with me on a flight when I was going to Dore Alley in San Francisco. [ed.: a gay fetish event called the “Up Your Alley Fair” and usually referred to as “Dore Alley”. It was held July 31, 2011.]

You said that people shouldn’t bring poppers with them in either checked luggage or a carry-on. You said that drug-sniffing equipment or dogs are used at airports to detect chemicals in luggage.

I found other information on the internet where guys were suggesting ways that you could carry poppers in your luggage if you sealed them tightly in a plastic bag, and used wax to cover the bottle. I didn’t want to believe you. A few other websites said that the chances of the poppers being caught are remote, because they can’t possibly check every suitcase — especially at a small airport where my flight was leaving from.

I sealed up a small bottle of poppers, buried it in a sweaty gym sock, and put it in a pair of sneakers inside my suitcase. When I got to my airport, I checked the suitcase and went through security to wait for my flight. So far, so good.

I was waiting for my flight at the airport when a guy from the TSA came to the gate and the agent called my name. I went up to the desk and asked what was going on. The TSA guy asked me to go with him.

We went into a room and a sheriff deputy was there. He pointed to my suitcase and asked, “is that yours?” I said to myself — oh shit! Why is my suitcase here???

I told the deputy “yes.” He asked me for ID. I pulled out my driver’s license. He then said, “what’s this?” and held up my bottle of poppers.

I told him that it was video head cleaning fluid. He asked me where my VCR was. He knew what it was. Oh shit! He told me that poppers are illegal, and that I was attempting to carry an illegal substance that is not allowed to be carried on an airplane.

I was taken to the sheriff station and asked a lot of questions. I was given a citation, and then released hours later.

I called a friend to pick me up. While I was waiting for my friend to come get me, I called the airline to rearrange the flight that I missed. The airline told me that because it was my fault that I missed my flight, I would have to buy another ticket to San Francisco for $750 more, and the next available flight was 2 days later. I told them to forget it.

When my friend arrived to get me, I asked him to take me back to the airport so I could get my car and then I drove home. Never made it to Dore Alley.

Now I will have a police record and have to pay a fine. I just got a new job, too, and I’m afraid if they find out about it, I’ll be shit-canned. They have fired people who have drug offenses on their record. Shit! All for a little bottle of poppers. Shit!

I’ve learned my lesson. I hope other guys do, too. Don’t try to travel with that stuff. Hell, if you really want it, you can buy it when you get where you’re going. But don’t try to bring it with you!

Man, I’m sorry this happened, and I appreciate your candor in describing what happened. I am rather conservative and don’t use drugs, but I know (unfortunately) that there are many gay men who do — especially drugs in the “gray area” of legality like poppers. I hope this matter doesn’t affect your employment. Good luck.