Hand-luggage and liquids: what's changing in Europe and the US?

Britain's government confirmed over the weekend that it was planning to relax some of the regulations on taking liquids on-board an aircraft, although it will only apply to certain flights.

The country's Transport Secretary Philip Hammond suggested to the Sunday Times that the current regulations, which allow passengers only 100 ml bottles of liquids in their hand luggage, could be phased out as early as April 2011.

However, the relaxation of the rules will only apply to certain passengers, it seems.

Specifically, it will affect only passengers flying from outside the European Union who are passing through UK and EU airports en route to another destination, reports the Financial Times.

The ban is set to stay in place within the rest of the European Union until at least April 2013, pending the development of technology that would allow dangerous liquids to be detected wih scanners.

Passengers transferring from non-EU countries will be allowed to take liquids purchased at duty free onto connecting flights within Europe from 2011, so long as they are packed in a sealed bag with a receipt.

In September, the US said that it was too early to set a date for ending the ban, responding to comments from the UN International Civil Aviation Organization which suggested that improved security equipment meant that it could be lifted by 2012.

The US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano described the ICAO's suggestion as "premature".

The ban on liquids was introduced by the US and UK in 2006 following a foiled attack using liquids on a transatlantic flight and quickly became the standard for global aviation.

Exceptions are normally made for items for young children (baby food, milk etc) and medications.

What are the rules?

US - "3-1-1 for carry-ons" = 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin.
http://www.tsa.gov/311/311-carry-ons.shtm

Europe - liquids (including creams, gels, toothpaste, sprays, perfume) must be in individual containers with a maximum capacity of 100ml. They must be packed into one transparent, re-sealable plastic bag of not more than one litre capacity.
http://europa.eu/travel/gettingthere/

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