The U.K. Is Removing Its Restrictions For 100ml Liquids In Hand Luggage: Will U.S. Be Next?
Travelers going through U.K airports will soon no longer be required to limit their liquids to 100ml, as the U.K. has decided to remove its restrictions by 2024, according to The Times. As more people choose to carry-on luggage than check their bags, travelers have faced inconvenient restrictions to downsize their toiletries like face creams, deodorants, shampoos, and more when saving costs on carry-on luggage for trips.
These items over 100mls have either been forfeited for travel-sized alternatives or separated from their original containers and placed into airport-friendly containers. No matter what your process is, carry-on baggage comes with some planning.
According to The Times, U.K. airports will allow passengers to carry liquids of any size in their hand luggage, and passengers will no longer need to remove their laptops for security. Currently, in the U.K, liquids must be less than 100ml and be placed in a clear plastic bag and removed separately for security.
Why Are Airports Considering Removing The 100ml Restriction?
This move is a result of new technology that will drastically reduce queues and decrease the use of plastic that is required at certain airports. The technology is currently being tested at selected airports around the world, and the U.K. is using the technology at Heathrow and Gatwick airports. The country hopes to roll out the new technology at other major U.K. by mid-2024.
The new CT scanner technology produces a 3D scan in high resolution, which allows security to look for contents at every angle, as opposed to the current 2D image of older machines. Shannon Airport in Ireland was one of the first airports to remove restrictions on 100ml liquids with the technology and has said the move has “halved the time our passengers spend going through security screening,” according to The Times.
“From a security point of view, they’re able to make very accurate decisions about what the materials are in your bag: Is it a likely threat material or is it benign? That’s better security, better decisions,” said the head of checkpoint solutions at Smiths Detection, Kevin Riordan.
One of the biggest causes of long wait times at airport security is people removing these items from their bags or forgetting to remove them and having bags manually searched. This move will significantly reduce the time it takes passengers to move through security.
Will The U.S. Be Next?
The U.S. has already been testing CT scanners since 2018 at airports across the country, including Los Angeles International Airport, New York John F. Kennedy International, Oakland International, San Diego International, Nevada’s Harry Reid International, and Chicago O’Hare International.
In March this year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it was spending over $780 million on hundreds of CT scanners that would allow you to leave your laptops, liquids, and other devices in your carry-on bag.
The TSA installed 38 scanners this summer in locations across the U.S. and has plans for the full 938 scanners to be installed over the next few years, with the goal of these scanners to create a smoother airport process.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement in March 2022 that the scanners “provide our dedicated frontline officers with one of the best tools available to screen passenger carry-on items and also improves the passenger experience by allowing passengers to keep more items in their carry-on bags during the screening process.”
There is currently no set date on when the U.S. will follow suit and implement the no-liquid restriction, but the U.S. will be under pressure as other countries roll out the technology and more airports lift the ban.
Meanwhile, certain U.S. airports have decided to relax airport restrictions in other ways. More than 20 years after September 11, six airports have decided to allow visitors to accompany ticket travelers to their gates, even if they don’t have a ticket.
Ticketed-only passengers was a rule that was first introduced following September 11, and even though the process is not simple (companions must produce a government-issued identification and pass a background check), it is still a step in the direction of relaxing certain restrictions that were first implemented as a temporary measure.
Why Was There A Liquid Ban?
The 100ml rule was implemented at the time as a temporary measure following a transatlantic terror plot in 2006, where terrorists had planned to bring down seven flights departing from Heathrow with liquid explosives that had been disguised as soft drinks.
The new CT technology will use advanced algorithms to detect explosives, including liquid explosives and other threat items. According to Security Magazine, “the system applies algorithms for the detection of explosives by creating a 3D image that can be viewed and rotated 360 degrees on three axes for thorough visual image analysis by a transportation security officer. This technology creates a clear image of a bag’s contents, allowing the system to automatically detect explosives, including liquids, by shooting hundreds of images with an X-ray camera spinning around the conveyor belt”.