UK airport passengers can soon leave laptops, liquids in bags

LONDON – Airports in Britain are working on introducing next-generation baggage scanners that will allow passengers to leave laptops and liquids in their bags, in the hope that they would overcome bottlenecks at check-in lines.

The new system – slated to be in place by 2024 at major British airports – seeks to cut through the cumbersome wait for passengers clumsily placing their bottles and electronic devices into plastic trays.

But one rule would likely not change anytime soon: the restriction on liquid sizes limiting containers to 100ml.

The requirement – which has been in place since 2006 – remains in place even as some airports are already testing the new scanner system, said Britain’s Department for Transport.

The Times reported earlier on Friday that alongside the new rules about removing laptops from hand luggage, the restriction to only take aboard liquids under 100ml would also go within two years.

Britain aims to have new scanners in place by 2024, two years later than previously planned due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is not the first country to introduce the new scanning technology.

Airports including Amsterdam’s Schiphol and Helsinki, as well as in several airports in the United States, have computed tomography (CT) baggage scanners which generate a 3-D image that can be viewed and rotated on three axes.

The requirement for laptops to be removed from bags allows airport security staff to check and ensure that no prohibited or dangerous items are hidden in the devices and smuggled onto the plane.

Meanwhile, the restrictions on liquids were introduced following the discovery of a plot in 2006 where improvised explosive devices would be carried onboard several transatlantic flights and detonated during the flights.

The plot involved using hydrogen peroxide as an explosive, to be placed inside standard drinks containers and then assembled into an explosive device onboard. BLOOMBERG