Skip to main content
By The Way
Detours with locals. Travel tips you can trust.
The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

U.K. airports will phase out tiny liquids by 2024

High-tech scanning machines will allow travelers to bring up to two liters at a time

(iStock/Washington Post Illustration)
2 min

The United Kingdom government has set a June 2024 deadline for most major airports to install high-tech screening machines, which means travelers will no longer have to restrict their liquids to tiny bottles or remove their electronics at security checkpoints.

U.K. officials announced the news Thursday in a release that characterizes the changes as “the biggest shake-up of airport security rules in decades.”

Since 2006 — the year British officials thwarted a terrorist plot to sneak liquid explosives onto flights to Washington, New York and California — passengers have been limited to 100 milliliters (or 3.4 ounces) of liquids in a quart-size plastic bag. With the new CT scanners, travelers can bring two liters (about 67 ounces) through security checkpoints at many U.K. airports.

For context, a growler of beer is 64 ounces and a bottle of Mane ’n Tail contains 32 ounces of shampoo or conditioner. In addition, travelers will not have to remove their larger electronics but can keep them tucked inside their carry-on bag.

“The tiny toiletry has become a staple of airport security checkpoints, but that’s all set to change,” U.K. Transport Secretary Mark Harper said in a statement. “I’m streamlining cabin bag rules at airports while enhancing security.”

Tiny toiletries forever? The future of TSA, from liquids to shoes.

The government had set an earlier deadline for the end of this year but pushed the date back when the pandemic hit.

“We think this is a huge step forward in terms of security,” Lauren Beyer, vice president of security and facilitation with Airlines for America, said of the development, “and it also comes with efficiency and customer facilitation benefits.”

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Transportation Security Administration has been acquiring and installing CT scanners in airports around the country. The 3D machines, which are commonly used in hospitals, display a more complete and comprehensive image of the scanned objects. Security officers can also closely inspect individual items and skip the manual bag search, expediting the security queue.

Why you still can’t use your laptop during takeoff and landing

At this time, the TSA does not plan to increase the amount of liquids allowed on airplanes departing from the United States.

“We are supportive of getting liquids back in bags as long as TSA has completed all of its testing,” Beyer said.

Passengers in the United States can leave their quart-sized bag of liquids and their gadgets in their bags as long as they are in a security lane with a CT scanner. TSA urges travelers to look for signage at security checkpoints and listen to the officers’ instructions.