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Liquid restrictions for all major UK airports this summer including Cardiff, Swansea and Bristol

Liquid restrictions for all major UK airports this summer including Cardiff, Swansea and Bristol

Hopes of being able to take more liquids on board this summer have been dashed as a strict travel rule was reimposed at all UK airports.

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced over the weekend that 100ml restrictions on liquids will be reintroduced immediately. The announcement comes as many UK airports are in the process of installing new, state-of-the-art 3D scanners that would ease restrictions and speed up the security process.

The liquids limit is a confusing blow to passengers flying from London City, Newcastle, Leeds Bradford, Aberdeen, Southend and Teesside airports, where the new machines have already been rolled out and are in use. Major airports including London Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Liverpool and Manchester have yet to upgrade their security scanners, so the rules remain unchanged.

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The sophisticated new scanners produce detailed 3D images of liquids up to two liters, as well as electronic equipment. When working successfully, they will help speed up long queues at security counters as passengers will no longer need to remove items from their carry-on bags.

What are the restrictions for liquids?

Passengers are currently allowed to carry up to 1 liter of liquids, aerosols or gels (LAGs) divided into containers of no more than 100 ml each. Travel-size containers must be placed in a clear, resealable plastic bag measuring approximately 20 cm x 20 cm, and passengers must remove this bag from their carry-on baggage for separate screening at airport security.

The strict liquids rules were implemented in 2006 and have remained in place despite being announced as a temporary measure. Plans have been in the works since 2019 to ease the requirement, but this latest announcement shows that airports are not yet ready.

Which liquids are subject to restrictions?

We’ve all seen bins full of disposable drinks bottles and oversized sunscreens at security, left behind by passengers who didn’t follow the strict LAG policy.

According to the GOV.UK website, the exact items you can carry in your clear plastic bag this summer include:

  • all drinks including water

  • liquid or semi-liquid foods, for example, soup, jelly, honey and syrups

  • cosmetics and personal care products, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lip gloss

  • sprays, including shaving foam, hair spray and spray deodorants

  • pastes, including toothpaste

  • gels, including hair gel and shower gel

  • Contact lenses solution

  • any other solutions and items of similar consistency

After all, are the rules likely to be relaxed this summer?

As frustrating as it may be, passengers will have to stick to the existing 100ml rule for the foreseeable future. With Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports already being given an extension until 2025 to implement their updated security systems, the rules relating to liquids seem unlikely to change again in time for the holiday season.