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These airports are lifting restrictions on liquids in hand luggage


Liquid check at the airport

Plastic bags for liquids in hand luggage could soon be a thing of the past at some airports as new security scanners make the restrictions obsolete at a growing number of European airports.


Mini shampoo bottles, tiny tubes of sunscreen and toothpaste – passengers who wish to travel with hand luggage at European airports must adhere to certain regulations, including those governing the carriage of liquids.


Since 2006, liquid containers in hand luggage may not hold more than 100 milliliters, as stipulated in the EU's anti-terrorism regulation. These containers must also be kept in a transparent plastic bag that holds a maximum of one liter and is resealable. Travelers must show this bag separately at the security check. But thanks to new technologies such as special scanners that can detect liquids, the days of mini shampoo bottles on vacation could soon be over.


At some European airports, the rule for 100-milliliter liquids has already been lifted. This should not take long at some German airports either, as corresponding tests have already been carried out for some time.


Faster processing thanks to CT scanner


The new scanners at the airport use computer tomography (CT) technology, which is familiar from medical practice. This enables a reliable and quick detection of a wide variety of materials and objects during airport security checks. This makes the security process much easier for air travelers, as liquids, smartphones and other electronic devices can be left in hand luggage at the new security checks. In addition, the three-dimensional view of the control images also makes work processes easier for the staff at the checkpoints.


There is no longer a 100-milliliter liquid rule at these airports


While the abolition of the 100-milliliter liquid rule is not imminent in Germany, other countries are already further along. At Shannon International Airport in western Ireland, for example, mini shampoo bottles and similar products have been history since March 2022. Instead, "liquids, gels, pastes, lotions and cosmetics in containers of any size" are allowed through security. However, they must be shown to security officers upon request and should therefore be kept to hand, the airport informs.


Travelers passing through the airport in the Finnish capital Helsinki have been allowed to take up to two liters per person through security checks since June 28, 2023. Thanks to new screening devices, both liquids and electronic devices are allowed to remain in hand luggage, according to the operating company Finavia.


London City Airport was the first major airport in the UK to introduce these new devices, abolishing the 100-millilitre rule for the Easter holidays in 2023. Teeside International and Jersey airports have also since abolished the 100-millilitre rule.


Abolition is planned here


The British government had set a deadline for airports to install new CT X-ray scanners. Originally, the plan was to raise the limit for liquid containers from 100 milliliters to two liters nationwide by June 2024, as summarized by "Luggageguide" among others. However, due to delays in the provision of the scanners, the deadline for introducing the new technology was extended to June 2025, as the British newspaper " The Independent " reported in early April.


London Heathrow expects the new scanners to be introduced at all security checkpoints by the summer. According to The Independent, Gatwick plans to complete the program by the end of March 2025. The Manchester Airports Group, which includes Manchester, East Midlands and Stansted airports, told the British newspaper that its scanners will not be fully introduced until 2025.


At Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, thanks to the CT scanners used there, travelers are allowed to take a full plastic water bottle through the security gate. This rule does not apply to metal bottles, as the material does not allow the liquid to be scanned. However, metal bottles can be carried empty, the airport informs. In addition to the drinking bottle, the 100-milliliter rule for carrying liquids in hand luggage still applies. The plastic bag containing liquids can remain in the bag, just like the plastic drinking bottle.


At El Prat Airport in Barcelona, liquids and electronic devices can also be left in hand luggage since the beginning of 2024 thanks to new X-ray scanners, as the Spanish newspaper " La Vanguardia " reported.


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