Liquids soon to be allowed back on planes

It looks like beer runs to Istanbul may be back on the table again, as the feds are reconsidering the ban on liquids greater than 3oz. According to the folks with the Associated Free Press, bigwigs at the International Civil Aviation Organization meeting in Montreal have been hinting that new technology in the baggage scanning world will soon be able to detect malicious liquids at security checkpoints. The technology could be widespread and integrated into airports by 2012.

This means that cases of wine from Argentina, packs of beer from Minneapolis and, well, large bottles of toothpaste and contact lens solution may soon once more be allowed to fly with their owners in the cabins of passengers jets. Of course this also means that that battle for overhead bins may begin once more, with desperate passengers trying to cram a weeks worth of luggage into an microscopic rollaboard. Still, the benefits will still outweigh the costs.

What will truly be interesting to see is how the airlines react to reduced to income from checked baggage fees. It wouldn’t surprise us at Gadling Labs if they either secretly try to block the ease on liquids restrictions or incorporate some hardcore checked baggage policies in the future.

[flickr image via bark]

Is the liquids ban no more?

It’s hard to remember a time when liquids were openly allowed on a plane, when wine runs to Paris were plausible and when bringing a full water bottle past security wasn’t considered a shame-worthy sin. For several years now the TSA has ardently enforced a 3-1-1 rule, effectively restricting anyone from carrying liquids in containers over 100mL onto an airplane.

As time and tempers have faded, however, so has enforcement. Now when marching through the security line it seems that a few containers over 100mL can slip through the X-ray and that few are asked to remove and display their liquids. Our old friend Chris Elliott writes up a few first hand accounts over at MSNBC, where from his perspective it almost appears that the ban is no longer.

Needless to say, take Mr. Elliott’s experiences with a grain of salt. Officially, the 3-1-1 policy is still in place, and anyone bringing an egregious amount of liquid or citing his article is surely going to get rebuffed. For now, count your blessings that the TSA might be looking the other way and cross your fingers that the policy soon becomes permanent.

Fill your bottles before going to UK … because you can

The British government is planning to ease its ban on the amount of liquid you can take into and out of the country. Currently, passengers are only allowed to carry 100 ml bottles. Improved airport X-ray machines are expected to render that limit unnecessary. If all goes well – based on secret technology being tested by German scientists – the ban could be lifted by the end of the year.

Originally, the prohibition on fluids was enacted as a response to summer 2006 terror attacks. This new technology would improve the ability of security personnel to identify nefarious liquids. So, if all goes well, it will have taken us 3 ½ years to get back to the 2006 norm. Finally, a return to the days of easy duty free liquor!

London Airports Still Slow

Beware that London airport security is still very tight.

I was flying back from a weekend trip in London today and waited in line–or should I say “queue”–for almost 2 hours. (In a situation like this, one really appreciates the ability of the British to form lines and wait patiently). Flying into London was fine, but any flights from London are closely monitored.

In terms of the current security measures in the UK, people are now allowed to bring on one carry-on, but a very small one (e.g. one woman’s purse, computer bag or small backpack), definitely not the typical wheeled carry-on suitcase. I learned the hard way – they sent me back from security back to check-in, which meant…another line.

I saw a women cry because she really wanted to bring all her cosmetics on board, but the security personnel were less than understanding. They confiscated her perfume, her lipstick, her lip gloss and her hair gel. Which made me realize that this regulation could mean a lot more uglier, smellier, bad-hairdo women roaming around airports.

Thank goodness for those Duty Free shops! Now that travelers can’t really bring on board anything they buy there, at least they can use their make up samples for free. Too bad they don’t do the same with liquor.