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Person removing clear bag of liquid bottles from carry on luggage and placing them in security bin
Chalabala | Adobe Stock

UK to Drop 3-1-1 Liquids Rule for Flights, Will US Follow?

SmarterTravel

Sales of tiny travel sized bottles may plummet in the United Kingdom, as the British government recently announced plans to loosen security checks at airports. By utilizing new technology at security checkpoints, flyers at airports across the UK will soon be allowed to bring liquids in containers of up to two liters in airplane cabins, and will also be able to leave larger electronics (like laptops) in carry-on bags during screenings. 

The new scanners will utilize advanced X-rays to create 3D images of the contents inside passengers’ luggage that will make security screenings more accurate. 

Aerial view of mostly empty suitcase, with a few clothes and TSA-approved liquid bottles in a clear bag.
faithie | Adobe Stock

 When Will the Rule Change?

The new security technology will slowly roll out at airports across the UK, and all airports must upgrade their screenings by June 2024. Until then, flyers should check with their departure airport to see which screenings and rules are in place before packing larger liquids. 

“The tiny toiletry has become a staple of airport security checkpoints, but that’s all set to change,” said Transport Secretary Mark Harper. “By 2024, major airports across the UK will have the latest security tech installed, reducing queuing times, improving the passenger experience, and most importantly detecting potential threats.”

At airports where the technology is not yet in place, passengers will still need to limit liquids in carry-on bags to 100 ml and continue to remove tablets, laptops, and liquids for screening. 

Will the US Follow Suit?

Unfortunately, travelers flying in the US will still need to abide by the 3-1-1 for the foreseeable future, which limits liquids in carry-ons to 3.4 ounces. Although similar 3D screening technology to what the UK will be using has been rolled out in certain American airports, the US won’t be allowing larger liquids onboard flights any time soon.

A spokesperson for the TSA told SmarterTravel, “While we have them deployed at more checkpoints, we are years away from announcing a change to the current liquids rule.”

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