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New Airline Restrictions Q & A

August 11, 2006

New Airline Restrictions Q & A
New Airline Restrictions Q & A


Q: What can I NOT take in my carry-on bag?


A: Nearly all liquids and gels are banned past the screening checkpoint or on board, with a few exceptions. Under the new rules as of Aug. 13, travelers can take up to four ounces of non-prescription medicine, glucose gel for diabetics, solid lipstick and baby food.

While baby formula, breast milk, and certain medications will be permitted past the screening checkpoint and on board, please be aware that these items will be subject to physical inspection. You will not be required to taste these liquids in the presence of a security officer.

TSA is encouraging you to pack all liquids and gels – including shampoo, toothpaste, perfume, hair gel, suntan lotion and all other items with similar consistency in your checked baggage to minimize any delays at the screening checkpoint.

Some solid or powdered cosmetics items are permitted past the checkpoint; however, this is left to the discretion of the Security Officer. To minimize delays and hassle, we recommend that you pack all cosmetics in your checked baggage.

Laptop computers, cellular phones, iPods, and other portable electronic devices are still allowed on board an aircraft. These items must still be screened at the security checkpoint.

TSA also now requires all passengers to remove their shoes so they may be x-rayed with their carry-on bags.


Q: If I forget to remove liquids or gels from my bags before I get to the security checkpoint, what will happen?


A: Screeners will ask you to put them in a checked bag or give them to someone who isn’t traveling. Otherwise they will be confiscated.


Q: Am I allowed to purchase toothpaste, drinks or other liquids after I get through security and then take them aboard the flight?


A: No. You are not allowed to carry aboard any liquid, no matter when or where you purchased it.


Q: Are the rules different in the United Kingdom?


A: There are more restrictions if you’re on a flight leaving the United Kingdom. As of Aug. 14, passengers are permitted one carry-on. The dimensions of this item must not exceed a maximum length of 17.7"×13.7"×6.2" approx (including wheels, handles, side pockets etc. Other bags, such as handbags, may be carried within the single item of cabin baggage. All items carried by passengers will be x-ray screened.

No liquids of any type are permitted through the airport security search point, other than the following items:

  • Essential medicines in liquid form sufficient and essential for the flight (e.g. diabetic kit), as long as verified as authentic
  • Baby milk and liquid baby food (the contents of each bottle or jar must be tasted by the accompanying passenger).
  • The definition of liquids includes gels, pastes, lotions, liquid/solid mixtures and the contents of pressurized containers, e.g. toothpaste, hair gel, drinks, soups, syrups, perfume, deodorant, shaving foam, aerosols, etc.


All laptops and large electrical items (e.g. large hairdryer) must be removed from the bag and placed in a tray so that such items neither obscure nor are obscured by the bag.

On flights to the United States, passengers will be searched again at the gate before they board. All passengers must be hand searched, and their footwear and all the items they are carrying must be x-rayed.


Q: Do the stricter rules in the UK also apply to flights from the United States to the UK?


A: No, only to flights leaving from the UK. However, passengers connecting through the UK should remember that the stricter rules will apply to their flights leaving the UK.


Q: Are other countries or airlines banning liquids in carry-on luggage?


A: Yes. Canada has banned gels and liquids from carry-on bags on all flights. The new restrictions also apply to all flights entering the United States and to flights from France to the UK, the United States and Israel.


Q: Since I can’t take a carry-on bag from the UK, will I have to pay to check excess luggage?


A. Most airlines are waiving the fees for excess baggage. For example, American now allows up to two excess pieces.


Q: Besides the ban on liquids and gels, what else will be different about security?


A: The TSA said screeners will be checking passengers more thoroughly at checkpoints, including inspecting more bags by hand. They also will be searching some passengers a second time immediately before boarding.


Q: Should I arrive at the airport earlier than usual?


A: The government generally advises that you get to the airport at least two hours before your flight. Due to the tougher searches, authorities say you should check with your airline. United and Continental, for example, are advising passengers to arrive three hours ahead for both domestic and international flights.


Q: How long will these new rules last?


A: That’s not clear. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the rules would be "constantly evaluated and updated when circumstances warrant."


Q: What if I have an airline ticket and I want to cancel?


A: Most European and U.S. airlines are letting travelers postpone or cancel flights over the next few days, waiving penalty fees for changes and easing restrictions on what otherwise would be nonrefundable tickets.


  • United is allowing passengers who are traveling between the UK and the United States to make one change to their itineraries without any fees. The revised policies apply to people who fly between Aug. 10 and Sept. 1, with tickets purchased on or before Aug. 10. Click here to see a statement from NTA Preferred Provider United Airlines.


  • American is allowing those traveling within/between the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to change travel dates up until Sept. 1 or get a refund in the form of a travel voucher. Fliers going to, from or through the UK have similar options with a bit more flexibility.


  • Delta is allowing a one-time ticket change without a fee for passengers scheduled to travel to, from or through Aberdeen or Edinburgh, Scotland, and London, Manchester, Newcastle and Southampton, England. The policy applies to travel dates from Aug. 10-Sept. 1; tickets must be reissued by Aug. 13 and travel completed by Sept. 1.


  • Northwest advises domestic travelers to consider checking all of their luggage and will waive normal change fees for passengers ticketed to, from or through the UK through Aug. 20. They can postpone travel for up to one year from the date their tickets were issued, as long as they rebook by Oct. 31.


  • Continental says passengers mid-trip and in Europe are being allowed to extend or cut short their trip without penalty. This includes changes to an alternative airport.


  • US Airways will allow passengers already ticketed on flights from Aug. 10 to Sept. 1, to London, Manchester or Glasgow to cancel, change or get refunds without penalty.


  • Southwest passengers holding reservations for travel through Aug. 14 can rebook for travel within 14 days or fly standby without paying any additional charge.


  • British Airways says only passengers due to fly to or from the UK Aug. 10 and 11 can rebook or get refunds without penalty.


Q: Is there anything else I should know?


A: Remember to be patient. It is important we understand that these delays are the result of heightened screening requirements that will allow us to travel with confidence.


How every passenger can assist in security:

  • Pack lightly, without clutter to facilitate easier screening


  • Arrive at least two hours early at the airport


  • Cooperate with TSA personnel at checkpoints and at all gates


  • Be attentive and vigilant to any suspicious activity and report it to authorities


  • TSA Contact Center Phone 866.289.9673 or e-mail

Some of this information was complied from USAToday.

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