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


* 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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific