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New carry-on rules for Europe flights

The European Union (EU) has adopted strict new rules for carry-on baggage on Europe flights. According to a report in The Seattle Times, the 25-nation EU, along with Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland, began enforcing the new rules this week. The rules will be put into place across the remainder of Europe next spring.

Here's what to expect the next time you fly to or within the European Union:

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  • You may carry a small amount of liquid (including creams, lotions, toothpaste, gels, and perfumes) as long as they are in individual containers that do not exceed 3.3 ounces each. The total amount of liquid you bring in your carry-on must not exceed one liter (slightly more than a quart).
  • Baby food and essential medications may be permitted in larger quantities.
  • Your liquid contents must be packed in a clear plastic bag no larger than eight inches by eight inches (small enough to fit into your carry-on bag).
  • Liquids purchased inside the secure parts of the airport are permitted on the plane.

This is a reduction in the amount of liquids allowed in every country except Britain, which in adopting these new rules is actually allowing you to take more onto the plane than has been allowed since the alleged terrorist plot was revealed in August.

Be aware that the rules for the size of checked bags will change next year. Beginning April 17, 2007, the EU will reduce the size of permitted carry-ons to 22-by-17-by-10 inches. Britain is already enforcing these size restrictions.

All in all, this is probably a good thing, even though it sets in stone more restrictive measures. The policies adopted by the EU are very similar to those currently in effect in the U.S., so at the very least this essentially standardizes the rules for transatlantic travel.

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