View Full Version : US DHS eases liquid/gel carry-on restrictions

26th Sep 2006, 06:43
From the Washington Post - Tuesday 26 Sep 2006

Passengers on commercial airplanes will be allowed to travel with small amounts of liquids and gels in their carry-on luggage starting this morning -- the first major revision of a ban enacted last month in reaction to an alleged transatlantic bomb plot.

Drinks purchased inside secure areas also will be permitted on board.

Top U.S. aviation security officials, under pressure from airline and passenger groups, announced the easing of restrictions yesterday after, they said, they carefully studied the threat posed by liquid bombs. The restrictions, which went into effect on Aug. 10, disrupted travel for many passengers. Travelers complained about long lines to check in luggage, lengthy waits at the baggage carousels and the lack of bottled water on planes. Many took calculated risks and sneaked small amounts of hair gel and toothpaste through security.

Starting at 4 a.m. today, passengers will be allowed to bring on board containers holding three ounces or less of toiletries, such as lip gloss, hair spray, toothpaste and shaving cream. The products must fit "comfortably" inside a single, one-quart clear plastic bag that zips closed, officials said. The bag will be examined by X-ray machines and screeners.

Larger bottles of liquids and gels must be placed in checked bags or left at home, officials said.

After passing through security, passengers will be permitted to buy bottled water and other drinks in "sterile" gate areas and carry them onto planes. Authorities said they made that change because products inside the sterile areas have been screened by security officers and do not pose a threat.

"What you see here today is the prudent balancing of the work that we need to do to protect security and common sense," said Michael P. Jackson, deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department, at a news conference yesterday at Reagan National Airport.

Airline and passenger groups had been privately pushing authorities to alter the bans, which were implemented after British authorities said they discovered a plot to bring down transatlantic flights with liquid explosives.

Trade groups reacted enthusiastically to the revisions, saying business travelers welcomed the chance to resume carrying on their luggage rather than checking most everything. The volume of checked bags rose 20 percent after the ban was enacted. "It's a really positive change for business travelers . . . because they normally wouldn't have to check their bags to get their toiletries on board," said Caleb Tiller, spokesman for the National Business Travel Association. "This is a very good change. People are pretty pleased."

James C. May, president of the Air Transport Association, a trade group that represents major U.S. airlines, said the changes "put into place a security regimen that is consistent with the threat."

Top aviation security officials said researchers have studied how liquid explosives can damage aircraft. The tests and the analysis of bomb threats led officials to change the ban, they said.

"We now know enough to say that a total ban is no longer needed from a security point of view," said Kip Hawley, the head of the Transportation Security Administration, which provides security at more than 400 U.S. airports.

Hawley added that the changes made sense because he did not want screeners "fishing around for lip gloss -- there are a whole lot of other things we want our [officers] looking for."

The new policies will be "in place for an indefinite period of time," or until new security procedures or technologies emerge to combat the threat of liquid explosives, Hawley said.

Researchers in New Mexico are testing devices designed to detect liquid explosives. Further tests on more advanced devices are planned for coming months. TSA officials are also considering the purchase of upgraded X-ray machines and more sophisticated screening devices to help them find containers of liquid explosives and other bombs at checkpoints.

Several outside security experts, who had been critical of the TSA, said they generally supported the decision to ease the bans.

Bob Hesselbein, a pilot and the chairman of the Airline Pilots Association's national security committee, said the TSA was "moving in the right direction."

"It's a sensible step on the road to revising the screening to make better sense and be more efficient," Hesselbein said.

Hesselbein and other security experts said, however, that the TSA needs to focus more on people who pose a threat and devote less time to trying to find items. "We are concerned that a great deal of time is going to be spent on whether a liquid or gel is 2 1/2 ounces or 3 ounces," Hesselbein said. "We want to make sure that our security officers are focused on the hard-to-find explosives, and we don't want to see our security diluted."

Mike Boyd, a security consultant, said the new rules were a "knee-jerk" reaction to complaints from travel groups. Boyd said the TSA has been forced to shift tactics because it has not spent enough time or money developing countermeasures. "This ban shouldn't have been in effect at all," he said.

26th Sep 2006, 08:09
Now let us just hope that the British authorities follow suit.

3fl oz isn't a huge amount, but it's a step in the righ direction and at least you can now buy liquids airside. Hooray for common sense.

28th Sep 2006, 20:50
Well they were still plundering our luggage for anything remotely wet at Dulles yesterday afternoon. Lots of people had read the headlines in USA today before they had set off for the airport. This resulted in loads of stuff being 'confiscated' Very impressed when the guy in front had his bag searched because Security, on Xray, had found his toothpaste in it.


28th Sep 2006, 22:27
Liquid restrictions brought in with less than 24 hr notice, relaxation takes 35 days to implement (Nov) EU limit 100ml container in clear sealable bag.
What if I don't want to mix nitroglycerin (medicine) with my perfume & toothpaste?
Does the relaxation delay apply to flight & cabin crew?