Is this the beginning of the end of the war on water bottles? London City Airport (LCY) has become the second UK airport behind Teesside (MME) to scrap the dreaded 100ml liquid rule after fully implementing its C3-compliant CT scanners at its security checkpoint.
C3-complaint scanners are by no means a new form of technology as they have been in testing for at least a year at various airports worldwide. However London City has decided to pull the plug and drop the liquid rule entirely for all outbound flights. These new scanners are able to take advanced 3D photos of items in a passenger’s bag, meaning that there is no need for them to remove items such as liquids and electronics.
Prior to this, passengers were required to place liquids in containers no bigger than 3.4oz/100ml, and had to fit them in a quart sized/1 liter clear plastic bag. Passengers were also only allowed one bag per ticket holder, making it a challenge for those traveling with carry-on bags only.
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With the liquid rule dropped, this brings about a host of positive changes. For starters, passengers will now be allowed to pack a total of 2 liters of liquid (about 2 quarts) in their bags, and will not be required to package them separately. They are also no longer limited to packaging them in 100ml bottles, so if you want to bring a 2 liter bottle of water, that will be allowed.
Additionally, passengers will no longer need to take out larger electronic items, so your laptops and other devices can stay in your carry-on during the scan.
I have not had the opportunity to try these new scanners just yet, but the feedback is while it takes longer for items to be scanned, overall security line transit times have drastically reduced as passengers no longer have to spend time unpacking their bags in the line. London City’s Chief Operating Officer Alison FitzGerald said that the new scanners have increased security throughput by as much as 30%.
Passengers flying out London City to other UK or European destinations will benefit from this new rule change, but travelers should still carry smaller containers as they will not have the same privilege when returning from their destination airport.
Unless you’re traveling one way, this means that you’ll still be required to be cognizant of the amount of fluid you plan to bring back in your carry-on.
Passengers taking a connecting flight MAY also be required to give up their liquids if they have to pass through a security checkpoint at their connecting airport. London City’s new rule change obviously does not have a huge benefit just yet, but it’s a start.
Besides London City and Teesside, London Gatwick has also started trialing the new 3D scanners. London Heathrow also trialed such technologies in 2017, but felt the implementation could be challenging and time consuming. Nonetheless, the UK government has mandated that all airports under its jurisdiction implement these new scanners by June 2024 in order to meet the rule change. This should bring huge benefits for those traveling on domestic flights.
The ban on larger liquid volumes came about after a 2006 UK terrorist plot was foiled involving passengers trying to detonate liquid explosives hidden in soft drink bottles on various US and Canadian-bound flights.
Update: April 7, 2023 – An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated that London City Airport was the first to drop this liquid rule. This information has since been updated as Teesside International Airport in Darlington was the first to do so in March 2023.
[Featured Photo: Dave Barker/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)]