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The Woman Who Downed an Entire Bottle of Cognac 'Cos She Couldn't Take It on a Plane Is a Hero for Our Time

Ms Zhao, from Beijing, said "fuck you" to The Man so hard a doctor had to usher her screaming, drunk ass into a special little room.

Cognac, being enjoyed – as is traditional – in a small measurement, out of a glass (Photo via Patrick Nygren)

Cognac news now, and a woman at an airport in Beijing chugged an entire £120 bottle of cognac because security told her she couldn't carry it on a plane, and – scene deleted – was later found rolling around, screaming on the floor of the concourse. This didn't help her chances of boarding, as canny airport staff deemed her to be a flight risk. The unspoken subtext here is that she was drunk.

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The woman – thought to be in her mid-forties, and known only by her surname, "Zhao" – was reported by the Beijing Times to have arrived at Beijing Capitol International Airport ahead of a noon flight transfer to Wenzhou, when she was stopped at security and told she couldn't bring the £120 bottle of Rémy Martin XO Excellence on with her carry-on luggage. So she did the only thing you can do in that situation: she Stuck It To The Fucking Man by going off into a corner and drinking the entire bottle in one go to herself.

Some select quotes, from the Nanfang's account of the ensuing chaos:

"Zhao started acting wildly and yelling incoherently."
"Due to her massive inebriation, when Zhao fell to the floor, that's where she stayed."
"That created a new security problem though, and it had to do with the bottle of cognac that was now inside her."
"Zhao was taken to a convalescence room and was checked out by a doctor."

Eventually, either the pilot or the police (reports vary) decided that, obviously, Zhao was in no state to fly, and she was detained in the convalescence room until 7PM when she abruptly sobered up. Yeah: shits on your lads-on-tour "we had six pints each at the airport Wetherspoons before getting on a flight to Zante" story, doesn't it? Zhao saw The Man, with his Petty Rules and his Security Concerns and his Liquid Carry-On Restrictions, and went: fuck you, The Man. Zhao stared into the white eyes of The Man and said: stick it up your bollocks. Zhao, a 40-year-old drunk woman from Beijing, is arguably the greatest punk who ever lived.


A lot of people ask me, "Joel, tell us about that time a really hard Polish security guard made you throw a bottle of vodka away." Well reader: one time a really hard Polish security guard, dressed in military spats and manning an airport check-in desk, made me throw a bottle of vodka away. And, like the wimpy little bitch boy that I am, I did it. I stared into his flinty, soulless blue eyes, and I plunked the tiny bottle of vodka I was trying to bring home into the designated vodka bin. Am I ashamed of myself? I am, I was, I have been ever since. And that's because I don't even have one fraction of the chutzpah that Ms Zhao had.

You always hear about rappers with their cognac, don't you? They enjoy their expensive brandy from the French region of – hold on, let me google it – from the French region of Cognac. But you never hear about 50 Cent downing one entire bottle of it – in an airport, in less than half an hour – then rolling around screaming and rapping. Has Jay-Z ever decked an entire bottle of Rémy Martin then got so drunk a doctor had to escort him to a small, pale room? No. Fetty Wap and his Remy Boyz, for all their chat: have they ever got so drunk in an airport concourse that police reports have described them as "massively inebriated"? No, no, a thousand times no. But Ms Zhao has.

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Rare we have heroes, these days. Rare we can be truly inspired by our fellow man. But Ms Zhao, whoever you are, however bad your hangover still is, please know this: you are and always will be my hero. Your actions are the actions of a human being, free and unbreakable, toiling against the large fractureless face of corporate hostility, of rules upon rules, against the humourless agents of the government machine. Why can't we take 700ml of cognac onto an aeroplane? Who says we can't scream drunkenly at the police? Here's to feeling good all the time. Here's to drinking so much cognac you're forbidden from leaving the country. Here's to you, Ms Zhao.



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