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Liquid restrictions 'to remain in force' despite new scanner technology

Published: 07/05/2014 - Filed under: News »

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Heathrow and Gatwick have played down suggestions that new technology currently being tested will mean rules on liquids in hand luggage can be relaxed soon.

Both airports are taking part in trials of new scanning machines that can detect potentially harmful liquids using laser technology. The Insight100 machines, around the size of a microwave, take five seconds to fire a beam and measure the response. The way the light is refracted signifies the contents of the bottle and whether it is harmless or not.

A Heathrow spokeswoman said: “The new liquid screening technology is certainly a positive development and will reduce confiscations of liquids, but it needs to get faster and easier to use before we can dispense with the wider restrictions. The 100ml restriction and clear bags will be with us for the time being.”

She declined to disclose how long the trial period will last or if the machines would be introduced permanently.

The new scanners are also being trialled at Gatwick now. A spokeswoman said the majority of passengers would “not notice a huge difference at the moment”.

She added: “The main positive changes will be that parents won’t have to taste baby milk anymore when they go through security as the new technology takes away the requirement to do this.”

Gary Noakes

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COMMENTS » 

MarcusUK - 07/05/2014 22:29

LHR should consult Schiphol, that have the scanners widely in use now in all terminals. they take 5 seconds to complete the task and you are out. Security staff at LHR appear to make much more of a fuss of this and unsure how to read them, and it takes longer for their machines to make a conclusion on screen, as you stand there waiting after you have stepped out.

I came through LHR 4 days ago, and the mother in front of me was having her sterile baby milk tested with a sample stick for analysis, which would then Not allow the food to remain sterile! So the statement given by the "LHR spokesperson", is not in touch with the reality of what goes on at the Customer contact point.
No surprises there!

Arcanum - 16/05/2014 13:16

I went through Heathrow for the first time in several years last week, and I have to say that their approach to screening is downright draconian. On this latest trip, I flew through 14 airports in 8 countries on 4 continents (including several airports in the US), and LHR was the only one where I had to take out my iPad and liquids for screening.

I routinely leave my (100 mL or less) liquids in my carry-on bags and never have an issue, even when going through American airports, but the LHR staff insisted on emptying my bag and scanning it 3 times to find the small tubes of lip balm and hand cream that had fallen to the bottom (and I was just transiting, having been screened at 3 other major airports en route).

Between the screening, the ATC delay, and the ridiculous terminal transfer process, I now understand why so many of my colleagues actively avoid LHR.

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