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U.K. Officially Scraps 100ml Liquid Rule Across Airports

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After months of speculation and several consecutive trials in select hubs, airports across the United Kingdom are finally set to scrap the dreaded 100ml liquid rule, allowing passengers to travel with non-solid products in larger containers.

Traveler Putting Liquids Into A Plastic Bag Ahead Of Going Through Security At Airport, Air Travel

The liquid limit was introduced back in 2006 following a terrorist threat involving liquid explosives. Since then, passengers have been required to restrict the amount of liquid items they carry onto planes, as well as screening them separately.

Now, the U.K. could be the first nation to do away with the restriction:

No More Liquid Limits Flying In The U.K. By 2024

British Airways Aircraft Taking Off From Airport In London City Airport, England, United Kingdom

You read that right. Airports in the U.K. will soon enough no longer enforce liquid limits, but unlike what's been reported in the media these last couple of days, it will be a gradual change. Teesside International Airport, in Northeastern England, has been the first to follow the new protocol.

Flying out of Teesside (MME), passengers can now carry individual containers of up to two liters each. The next airport to join the restriction-free club is London City Airport (LCY), which serves East and Central London, making it the first London airport to reinstate pre-2006 luggage regulations.

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Liquids Under 100ml On Top Of A Bag

The move has been made possible following the introduction of new high-tech CT scanners, the same technology available in hospitals.

The machines are able to identify the contents inside a passenger's bag by analyzing their molecular structure, making them highly accurate and safe to use.

By presenting security staff with a three-dimensional image of the contents, they help lines move faster, having the potential to ease congestion at peak times and speed up screening.

Last year, delays in security were one of the many causes for travel disruption.

A Long Queue Of Travelers Waiting To Undergo Border Check Arriving At A Foreign Country, International Travel

The CT scanners can also establish whether electronic devices, such as laptops, e-readers, and smartphones, are dangerous objects without the need to remove them from bags.

At present, it is mandatory to screen these items in separate trays in most airports.

In sum, flying from Teesside or London City, travelers can just breeze past security without unpacking their luggage in search of liquids and electronics.

CT scanning was first rolled out in Shannon Airport, in the West of Ireland, and no incidents have been reported in over a year since its debut.

Luggage getting x-rayed at the airport

Shannon passengers are allowed to bring ‘liquids, gels, pastes, lotions, and cosmetics in containers of any size' onboard flights, setting a precedence for other European airports. Being Ireland's neighbor, it was only natural that the U.K. would follow suit.

A Gradual Change

Kevin Riordan, global leader in CT technology, stated in May 2022 that these changes ‘will not come fast', feeling instead like a ‘changing landscape'.

The U.K. has set August 2024 as the deadline for the universalization of the technology: until then, airport authorities may set their own introduction dates.

woman at airport

London Heathrow (LHR), the busiest airport serving the country and the main entry point for Americans visiting England, is set to lift the ban on liquids as early as this year, though, like other U.K. hubs, Heathrow has until June 2024 to install the equipment.

According to Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary, ‘the tiny toiletry has become a staple of airport security checkpoints, but that's all set to change.‘ He then added they are ‘streamlining' cabin bag rules while enhancing security.

Liquids in Bag at Airport Security

‘Of course, this won't happen straight away, Harper conceded. ‘This is going to take two years to be fully implemented. Until then, passengers must continue following the existing rules and check before traveling‘. Unless, naturally, they are flying from departure points where the ban has been lifted already.

Due to security reasons, the Transport Secretary has not revealed which airports will be next, though ‘most major airports' will be joining Teesside and London City soon.

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The top 10 busiest in the U.K. based on 2019 figures include Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Stansted, Luton, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Glasgow, Bristol, and Belfast International.

A representative for Gatwick has already confirmed the airport is trialing the new technology and should meet the summer 2024 deadline.

Can We Expect The U.S. To Drop The Liquid Rule Soon?

It is important to note that this is a U.K.-wide measure only, and the Transportation Security Administration in the United States continues to enforce the 100ml liquid rule. So far, the U.S. Government has given no indication as to when they might loosen it, as their Irish and British partners did.

TSA officer searching someone's luggage at the airport

Over in Europe, rules vary as well, with Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport allowing laptops and electronic devices to be screened inside bags but not having lifted liquid rules just yet. A majority of other European airports continue to follow the old regulations.

The U.K. as a whole scrapping liquid limits is a watershed moment, though, and could influence other countries to lift their curbs in the near future.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Thursday 6th of April 2023

I am going to U.K in August does this mean I can bring a 750ml bottle of whiskey in my carry on?


Thursday 6th of April 2023

All of these rules are BS that do nothing to improve safety.