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Is the 100ml Liquid Rule for Cabin Luggage Changing in 2024?

Everybody loves packing for a vacation. But let’s be honest, it has never been easy. The worst part is deciding what to pack and what not to, which most of the time, we end up overpacking or underpacking.

Not to mention the 100ml liquid limitation for cabin luggage that makes it even harder when packing toiletries and cosmetics. This rule dictates that you can only pack your liquids and gels in 100ml containers, which then must be placed in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, with a total capacity of no more than one litre

Hectic right?! Imagine how many containers you will have to squeeze in your cabin bag if you are travelling for a long time, or if you are packing for many people.

Fortunately, this has changed and is about to change for you if you will be travelling in 2024 and onwards. Today, we explore where this rule came from, its recent changes, and what that means for you, as a traveller.

Image: A photo of a person packing for a vacation, items including a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and a camera

The Origin of the 100ml Liquid Rule

This rule was not always there. So where did it come from?

The 100ml liquid rule was implemented back in 2006 following safety concerns about liquid bombs used in terrorist activities. It started in Europe and quickly became standard worldwide.

Authorities decided that 100ml was a safe limit for any single container, aiming to prevent large quantities of liquids that could potentially be combined to create explosives from being brought onto planes in hand luggage.

This changed how travellers pack. Mini toiletries became the norm, and airport security checks got a bit longer. However, it was the small price we had to pay to enhance safety in air travel.

Image: A photo of an open toiletry bag with various makeup, creams, and skincare products.

Potential Changes in 2024

Recently, there have been discussions and announcements indicating possible changes to the 100ml liquid rule. This is due to the advancement in technologies at airport security checkpoints.

Thanks to the new 3D scanners, which can produce clearer images of the contents of a bag and even distinguish between types of liquids. This tech will be able to assess the threat level without the need to limit liquid volumes to 100ml.

Several airports, including London’s Heathrow, have been testing advanced CT scanners that allow passengers to leave liquids in their bags during security checks. Eventually, the 3D scanners would modify or even eliminate the 100ml liquid rule if proven effective and can be deployed widely.

Currently, Teesside and London City airports have lifted the 100ml liquid limitations. Other airports in other parts of the world like Shannon and Donegal in Ireland have also scrapped the rule.

The goal is to enhance security while also making the screening process faster and more convenient for passengers.

How 3D Scanners Work

3D scanners work by creating highly detailed three-dimensional images of the contents of a bag or container. They use X-ray technology, similar to medical CT scanners to emit X-rays from various angles as the object passes through the scanner on a conveyor belt.

Inside the scanner, a gantry rotates around the object, capturing hundreds of individual X-ray images from different angles. These images are then compiled and processed using advanced algorithms to create a detailed 3D image of the bag’s contents.

One of the key advantages of CT scanning is that it can differentiate between materials based on their density and atomic number. It can also analyse the 3D images automatically, and flag potentially dangerous items, alerting security staff to inspect the items further.

What This Means for Travellers

Lifting the 100ml liquid rule could be a game changer for travellers. It means;

  • No more tiny bottles, making packing easier, quicker and less stressful.
  • Fewer bags to inspect, which allows security lines to move faster. That also means less time at security and more time relaxing before your flight.
  • Enjoy more shopping options, without worrying about size restrictions.
Image: A photo of a toiletry bag open and filled with a variety of personal care products in different size bottles neatly arranged
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