Liquid, gel ban lifted

TUESDAY, SEPT. 26, 2006

Liquids and gels, you’re welcome to board the aircraft.

Starting today, U.S. passengers can once again bring toothpaste, mouthwash and other liquid items onto planes in carry-on bags, ending a universal ban on all liquids and gels that took effect Aug. 10. That’s when a plot to use liquid explosives to bomb jets flying from Britain into the United States was foiled.

The lowdown: You can now take liquids and gels onto airliners as long as they were bought from secure airport stores. Small, travel-size toiletries brought from home are also permitted.

In other words: You can take that mocha latte or bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper with you onto the plane. This excites the folks over at Starbucks, which has about 200 airport locations.

“We’re delighted to see that our customers can continue their Starbucks experience on the plane,” Seattle-based company spokeswoman Valerie O’Neil said on Monday.

If all the security switches have you confused, don’t worry. You’re not the only one. Here are the many rule changes in both Britain and the U.S. since the plot was first uncovered:

Aug. 10: Carry-ons in Britain are limited to clear plastic bags. Books, newspapers, magazines and all things electrical or battery-powered are prohibited. All liquids and gels are prohibited. Items that are allowed include passports, tickets, medicine, glasses, baby items and keys.

United States: All liquids and gels are banned from carry-on luggage, including beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, toothpaste, hair gel and other items of similar consistency. Drinks purchased in the airport can’t be carried aboard. Baby formula and medications are allowed but have to be inspected.

Aug. 12: United States, mascara is added to the list of banned items.

Aug. 13: United States, permission is given for passengers to take aboard 4 ounces of liquid nonprescription medicine and glucose gel treatments for diabetics. Passengers are instructed to remove their shoes during security checks and put gel sole inserts in checked baggage.

Aug. 15: In Britain, rules are relaxed a bit. One item of hand luggage about the size of a computer laptop bag is allowed. Mobile phones and laptops are permitted, but cosmetics, gels, toothpaste, liquids and sharp objects are still forbidden.

Sept. 8: United States: Now permitted are solid cosmetics and personal hygiene items such as lipstick, lip balm and similar solids – but not lip gels such as Carmex or Blistex, or liquid lip glosses. Liquid mascara remains banned. Beverages, food, toothpaste, shampoo and hair conditioner still not allowed.

Sept. 22: In Britain, musical instruments and larger bags are now allowed aboard aircraft. Specifically: One carry-on bag is allowed, with a new maximum size of 22 inches by 18 inches by 10 inches. (The previous maximum size: about 18 inches by 14 inches by 6 inches.) Restrictions on liquids remain in place. Passengers may carry only essential medicines in quantities needed for the flight, and baby milk or formula must be tasted by an adult in the presence of security workers.


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