web Musings of The Global Traveller

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Carry on restrictions spread

As feared the carry-on restrictions are spreading - this time throughout European Union (EU).

From 6 November there will be restrictions on liquids to almost match the US requirements I previously reported on. I say almost match because of course the US requirement is 3oz containers in a quart ziplock bag, while the EU requirement is 100ml containers in a litre ziplock bag. Hopefully common sense will prevail that the same bags and containers are good for EU and US.

This is not an unexpected development with several countries already having adopted restrictions on liquids (including some unofficially - yes Germany that means you!).

But wait, there is more. By 17 April 2007, the EU will be adopting the UK's restrictions on carry-ons, both size and quantity. Namely a carry on must be no bigger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm - in the UK these figures are inclusive of handles, wheels etc. It remains to be seen whether the EU will interpret the same way or allow slightly bigger carry-ons (ie the body of the bag has those size limits).

And, worst of all, the EU has agreed to adopt the only 1 carry-on item rule of the UK. This is terrible for business travellers who will be forced to check in bags for short business trips since the one item of carry-on is a laptop bag which cannot fit all they need.

These changes are a major backward step for traveller convenience without necessarily improving security. For example why would an unopened bottle of duty free bought at one airport suddenly become dangerous at the next airport on the itinerary? And with the EU requirements becoming more closely aligned to the US there is that much less pressure to relax them.

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