From 7 January 2008, airports in the UK are expected to begin easing the "one bag rule" for hand luggage taken on flights.
Restrictions on the carrying of liquids will remain in place, as will limits on the size of hand luggage.
The tighter hand luggage restrictions were originally introduced in August 2006 following what officials described as a threat from liquid explosives.
Passengers boarding planes in EU countries are allowed to carry liquids in containers no more than 100ml in capacity brought to the airport contained in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag - itself no more than a litre in capacity.
The definition of liquids includes:
- Gels, pastes, lotions, liquid/solid mixtures
- The contents of pressurised containers, eg toothpaste, hair gel, drinks, soups, syrups, perfume, deodorant, shaving foam, aerosols, etc
The following liquids are also permitted through the airport security search point:
- Prescription medicines in liquid form sufficient and essential for the flight (eg diabetic kit), as long as verified as authentic
- Baby milk and liquid baby food (the contents of each bottle or jar must be tasted by the accompanying passenger)
Once through security, passengers can buy items in the departures lounge and take them on board.
To help with the security process, passengers are also encouraged not to include items which could contain liquids (eg bottles, flasks, tubes, cans, plastic containers etc) in their cabin baggage.
The dimensions of hand luggage must not exceed 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (22in x 17.7in x 9.8in approx), including wheels, handles and side pockets. This is equivalent to the size of a small roller suitcase.
Currently, other bags - such as handbags - must be carried within the single item of cabin baggage, but it is thought that from January this will be relaxed to allow them to be taken on separately.
All items carried by passengers will be screened by X-ray.
All laptops and large electrical items (such as hairdryers) must be taken out of the bag and placed in a tray to be scanned separately from the other items in the bag.
Musical instruments are allowed. However, they have to be screened separately.
Pushchairs and walking aids must be X-ray screened. Wheelchairs are allowed on board, but must be thoroughly searched.
If passengers have any questions on their travel arrangements or security in place at airports, they are advised to contact the airport they are using or their airline.