Airports set to ditch 100ml hand luggage liquid rule

GMB: Simon Calder discusses new airport rules

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Heathrow Airport has said that it has plans to drop the 100ml hand luggage liquid rule. Currently all tourists have to put liquids into a clear plastic bag at airport security.

Liquids must not exceed 100ml and even half-empty containers are not allowed through airport security. The rule could be scrapped when new 3D scanners are deployed across UK airports.

It is thought this will negate the need to separate liquids. John Holland-Kaye, chief executive at Heathrow, told The Times: “We are slowly rolling them (the 3D scanners) out.

“We have just started the expansion of the security area in Terminal 3 which will have more CT scanners and have a deadline of mid-2024 from the Department for Transport. By then the normal passenger experience will be that liquids stay in bags.”

The current liquid rules were introduced in 2006 following an attempted terror plot in the UK which was foiled by police.

The suspects intended to smuggle explosives through airport security using soft drink bottles. This led to the ban on liquids over 100ml.

Originally, tourists were banned from bringing any liquids onboard the plane but this was scrapped after a significant drop in passenger numbers.

Currently passengers who fail to remove larger liquids from their bag are one of the biggest causes of delays at airport security. Many passengers were rusty on the rules following the pandemic which led to even longer queues for British travellers.

Travel insiders have described the rule change as a “game-changer” and it could make airport security a much simpler experience.

3D Baggage screening equipment is reportedly being tested at Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham Airports. The new technology will enable staff to zoom in on a bag’s contents and rotate the images for further inspection.

It is already in use at some airports in the US including Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson and Chicago O’Hare Airport. Other restrictions on hand luggage, including on bringing sharp objects, are expected to remain in place after the change.

Travel expert Simon Calder, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “When you ask people what’s the worst part of the holiday, generally they will say going through airport security checks. 

“All the palaver, including having to have your clear plastic resealable bag with stuff that isn’t bigger than 100ml.

“It’s been 16 years now and this was only supposed to be a temporary measure.” 

Paul Charles, a travel expert, tweeted: “A more seamless security experience always exists at London City Airport which has the CT scanner in place, making it easy to go through security lanes without removing liquids. Heathrow Airport remains some way behind other airports.” 

British travellers will still need to follow the current guidelines on liquids in hand luggage until the rules are changed. 

This means that all liquids will need to be sealed in a clear plastic bag and each traveller may only have one plastic bag.

Current liquid guidelines ( 

Liquids include:

  • all drinks, including water

  • liquid or semi-liquid foods, for example soup, jam, honey and syrups

  • cosmetics and toiletries, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lip gloss

  • sprays, including shaving foam, hairspray and spray deodorants

  • pastes, including toothpaste

  • gels, including hair and shower gel

  • contact lens solution

  • any other solutions and items of similar consistency

If you do take liquids in your hand luggage:

  • containers must hold no more than 100ml

  • containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm

  • contents must fit comfortably inside the bag so it can be sealed

  • the bag must not be knotted or tied at the top

  • you’re limited to one plastic bag per person

  • you must show the bag at the airport security point

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