Liquids in hand luggage, new rules for air travellers

High-tech 3D scanners are being trialled in the UK that provide a clearer picture of the contents of a bag

Liquids and laptops in hand luggage, the rules for air travelers are about to change. At least for the United Kingdom, where these restrictions could be lifted within two years thanks to high-tech 3D scanners, according to the BBC. Indeed, the government is considering introducing these more advanced scanners by mid-2024, although the final decision has not yet been made. The equipment, similar to that used for computed tomography in hospitals, provides a clearer picture of the contents of a bag. The introduction of the new tools has been postponed due to the covid pandemic.

Passengers carrying liquids in hand luggage are currently limited to containers no larger than 100ml. The containers must be shown to the security personnel in a single transparent and resealable plastic bag, which does not collect more than a liter of substances in total and measures approximately 20cm by 20cm. These limits have been in place since November 2006. Their introduction ended a ban on carrying liquids in the cabin imposed three months earlier, when British police said they had foiled a plot to blow up as many as 10 planes through the use of hidden explosives in beverage bottles.

The new technology would allow staff to zoom in on images of a bag’s contents and rotate images for inspection. 3D scanners have been trialled at London’s Heathrow Airport since 2017. Chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, told The Times newspaper: ‘We are introducing them slowly.’ This technology has already been in use for several years at US airports, such as Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson and Chicago’s O’Hare.