Passengers face chaos as cabin baggage rules are changed yet again

Passengers face more airport chaos next week when cabin baggage rules change yet again. Fluids are to be allowed on flights leaving British airports for the first time in 13 weeks under new Europe-wide rules to take effect next Monday. "Once the official announcement is made, we're expecting bedlam," said a senior airport official.

A total ban on cabin baggage at British airports came into effect on 10 August in response to an alleged terrorist plot to blow up US-bound aircraft. The prohibition placed huge strains on security staff and baggage systems, and led to gridlock at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. Hundreds of flights were cancelled, hundreds of thousands of journeys were delayed or abandoned, and airlines are believed to have lost close to £100m.

Cabin-baggage rules have been gradually relaxed since then, sometimes causing yet more confusion. When the Department for Transport announced early on 13 August that a small bag would be allowed through checkpoints, airports and airlines were taken by surprise. BAA, which operates Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, refused to allow cabin baggage for a further 24 hours.

Uncertainty and disruption continues, with the latest change in rules taking place just 19 days ago. BAA prescribes different maximum dimensions for cabin baggage at different UK airports because, it says, airlines impose their own rules. Over the half-term holiday, Ryanair cancelled some flights to and from Stansted because passengers were stuck in long queues for security.

Staff at the central search area say the main problem is that travellers still turn up with banned items. Rules on the dimensions and contents of cabin baggage have, for BA passengers, changed six times since the end of July.

From 6 November, liquids, pastes and cosmetics will be allowed through the security checkpoints in quantities of up to 100ml (about one-fifth of a pint), providing they are carried in a clear plastic bag with a maximum capacity of one litre.

At present, the UK imposes far stricter rules than countries on the Continent, although there are some absurd local exceptions: German airports currently allow liquids on European flights - except morning departures from Frankfurt. Although the new rules set a minimum standard, individual authorities will have the option to be more restrictive.

The change represents a tightening of rules for every European country except Britain, where it loosens the present no-liquids policy. Airport officials fear two repercussions. This week, some travellers will assume that the relaxed rules are already in effect, and turn up with prohibited fluids. And after Monday, many passengers are expected to carry more through the central search area, which will increase processing times, leading to longer queues and more delayed or missed flights.

What you can take on board

Now

* One item of cabin baggage, with maximum dimensions of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. Musical instruments, pushchairs, wheelchairs and walking aids are permitted, but will be screened.

* Essential medicines for the flight (liquid and solid), so long as they are verified as authentic.

* Baby milk and liquid baby food - contents must be tasted by accompanying passenger.

From 6 November

* Liquids, gels, pastes and aerosols, including water, soft drinks, toiletries and cosmetics, in containers of 100ml or less can be taken on board.

* The containers must be carried in a resealable, transparent plastic bag with a maximum volume of one litre. Passengers are limited to one plastic bag each, and bags must be presented separately during luggage inspection.

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Day In a Page

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

    The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
    Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

    Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

    France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
    Sports Quiz of the Year

    Sports Quiz of the Year

    So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

    From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

    Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect