For many years, air travellers have faced strict restrictions on the amount and types of liquids they can carry on board a plane. These restrictions were put in place in response to concerns about the threat of liquid explosives. However, as technology has advanced and security measures have improved, these restrictions are slowly starting to be relaxed. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the changes that are happening with liquids at airports, and when you can expect to see them.
The history of liquid restrictions at airports
The restrictions on liquids at airports were first introduced in 2006, following a foiled terrorist plot to detonate liquid explosives on board multiple transatlantic flights. The plot involved liquid explosives being smuggled on board in containers disguised as drinks, and the restrictions were quickly introduced in response. The restrictions prohibited passengers from carrying any liquids in containers larger than 100ml (3.4 ounces) in their hand luggage. These restrictions were intended to prevent liquid explosives from being carried on board, as it was believed that small amounts of liquid explosives could still be used to cause significant damage.
The restrictions caused widespread disruption and inconvenience for travellers, as many were forced to discard expensive toiletries and cosmetics that they could not take on board. However, they were seen as a necessary measure to protect against the threat of terrorism. In the years since they were introduced, there have been few changes to the restrictions, aside from a relaxation of the rules around baby milk and medication.
Changes to liquid restrictions
However, in recent years, there have been some changes to the liquid restrictions at airports. In 2017, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced that it would be lifting the restrictions on liquids for passengers flying from countries outside the European Union, provided that the airport had certain security measures in place. This meant that passengers could carry liquids in containers larger than 100ml if they had been purchased from duty-free shops at the airport, and were presented in a sealed, tamper-evident bag. However, this change only applied to passengers flying from countries outside the European Union and did not apply to passengers flying within the EU.
In 2021, the European Union announced that it would be lifting the restrictions on liquids for passengers flying within the EU from January 2022. This means that passengers will be able to carry liquids in containers larger than 100ml, provided that they are purchased from airport shops or other shops located after security checks. These liquids will also need to be presented in a sealed, tamper-evident bag, which will be provided by the retailer at the point of sale.
It is important to note that these changes do not apply to liquids carried in hand luggage on flights to the United States. Passengers flying to the US will still be subject to the 100ml liquid restriction, regardless of where they purchased the liquids.
When will the changes take effect?
The changes to the liquid restrictions for passengers flying within the EU will take effect from January 31, 2022. This means that from that date, passengers will be able to carry liquids in containers larger than 100ml, provided that they are purchased from airport shops or other shops located after security checks, and are presented in a sealed, tamper-evident bag.
The changes to the liquid restrictions at airports are a welcome development for air travellers, who have long been frustrated by the inconvenience of the 100ml liquid restriction. However, it is important to note that the changes only apply to passengers flying within the EU and do not apply to passengers flying to the US. Passengers should also be aware that the restrictions may be subject to change in response to changing security threats, and should always check the latest guidance from their airline before travelling.