The foiled liquid bomb plot uncovered in 2006, which planned to bomb planes between the UK and North America, led to the banning of liquids over 100ml in hand luggage. It was thought that this rule would be a temporary one, but it hasn’t been eased over its 12-year lifetime and recent events could mean we’re even more restricted on what we can pack in our hand luggage. We’ve all grown used to the liquids ban and unless you’re a very infrequent flyer, most people come prepared to airport security. But new rules could be coming into play that could increase waiting times at airport security considerably.
Why is the rule being introduced?
Following a thwarted bomb plot in Sydney last year, Australia and the US imposed sanctions on the transportation of powders in hand luggage. Similar to the restriction of liquids, they state that powders cannot exceed 350ml or 350g in weight – this is total packaged weight so passengers cannot decant into smaller containers. Travellers in US and Australian airports are required to separate their powders as they do their liquids in a clear bag for security checks.
Which powders does it include?
So, what type of powders do these rules relate to? Well, Australians differentiate between organic and inorganic powders with each category being subject to difference rules. Inorganic powders such as talcum powders, foot powder, and some powdered cleaning products are subject to the volume restrictions. Whilst organic powders such as cosmetics, baby formula and coffee are not restricted but must still be presented to security staff.
Protein powder and some cosmetics could be banned under the new rules
How does this affect UK travellers?
It is not known when and how these new security checks will be introduced in the UK, but a spokesperson for the Department of Transport told the Telegraph “It is for each country to determine its own security measures based on its own assessments. We work closely with all our international partners to keep aviation security under constant review.”
With some ambiguity around when this new rule could come into play, passengers who are travelling in the coming months are advised to check with their specific airline the restrictions on hand luggage.
For example, flights to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt or Saudi Arabia forbid electronic items larger than a phone being taken in hand luggage. All flights do not allow mobile phones that have not been charged from being brought on board either.
What security checks can I expect?
If you struggle to find any information prior to your flight, the advice is that powders won’t necessarily be confiscated at this point but subject to extra checks. And if you do find that powders are banned by your airline, rest assured that baby formula, medicine and cremated human remains are exempt from the rule.