Hand Luggage & Liquids – Aerosols – Gels.

Liquids in hand luggageFollowing the 10 August 2006 terrorist plot in the UK, airports have brought in strict new security rules regarding the carrying of liquids/gels/pastes in hand-luggage.Whilst new rules for duty-free liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) may become effective for European Union flights on 31st January 2014 allowing passenger to board with their duty free liquids purchased at airports, the following rules still apply.

LAGs stands for Liquids, Aerosols and Gels.
If you can POUR it, PUMP it, SQUEEZE it, SPREAD it, SMEAR it, SPRAY it or SPILL it, it is considered a LAG.So, if you are flying from the UK to Sydney to visit Aunt Marge and are planning on taking her a bottle of your home-made elderberry wine, make sure you wrap it up well and check it in. You won’t be able to stick it in your hand-luggage. If you think on a long haul flight that you can’t be without the 200ml bottle of Chanel you got at Christmas well, you’ll have to be (even if it’s half empty).

The norm now is that passengers will not be allowed to get onto a plane with more than 100ml of any single liquid or gel, which must be presented at security in a sealable transparent bag. That final security check may be after check-in, or may not be until you reach the gate…but it will happen. Anything above that 100ml will be confiscated.

This does not mean that you can’t buy duty-free, but be VERY careful. If you are travelling internationally and have purchased duty free at your departure point, but your first airport stop is not your final destination (eg you have flown from Johannesburg to Paris and are then travelling to London, your duty free will be confiscated (as will any fragrances over 100ml). It doesn’t matter if it’s the most expensive and exclusive Cognac, it will be taken away. It won’t matter how much you scream and shout.

If you are transiting within the EU (along with Norway, Iceland and Switzerland) then you are OK. Additionally, if you are travelling into the EU from Singapore, Croatia or • very recently • the USA and South Korea, then you will be able to transfer without losing your duty-free. However, if you are flying into the USA, the same rules do not apply from EU (or non EU) countries. So, if you were travelling to the US from, say, India – transiting through London and then flying onto the US, you would also have any duty free purchased at your departure airport confiscated in London. If you were flying from London to Newark and then flying down to Orlando, again, any duty free ‘LAGS’ not checked into your baggage would be confiscated.

As mentioned, transferring within the EU is ok (eg if you were flying from London to Paris and then on to Hamburg) It’s all based on the security bags that the duty free goods are placed in – called STEBS and how secure they are deemed to be. The EU is working hard to approve applying third countries, but not all are interested in complying with EU wishes. And there are other rules between other countries; Australia is being particularly strict. It’s extremely complicated and confusing.So the advice is: pack as many essential liquids as you are going to need on your travels and check them in – or buy them once you get there. Check before you buy any duty free, especially if you are transiting either within a country or to fly to a third country. Currently there are still thousands of litres of booze being confiscated daily, which is no fun for anyone.

There may be exemptions if you have to carry essential medical supplies. Again, the best advice is to check with your airline before you go again, especially if you will be transiting.

There are associations working very hard to try and alleviate these problems for travellers (and the suppliers of the goods being confiscated), so the best thing is to check and double check before you lose goods and money. The 100ml rule, however, is not likely to change in the foreseeable future….liquid explosives just pose too big a threat.

Can you still buy duty-free items?Yes, you may; duty-free items will be given to you in a specially sealed bag. Duty-free shoppers can rest assured that they can still buy duty-free items at the airport but must be mindful of the fact that the transfer and termination regulations pertaining to duty-free LAGs purchases differ globally.Passengers are thus encouraged to contact the airline they will be travelling with well in advance to establish the latest duty-free LAGs regulations in effect in the country they will be transferring through, and ultimately terminating their journey in.

Duty-free shoppers are reminded that their LAGs purchases must be kept sealed in the special plastic bag, given at the point of purchase, until they reach their final destination