Airport security – the hand luggage and screening checks you do each time you fly – is changing.  UK airports are working to introduce new generation scanners, which will change the rules around hand luggage, meaning you would no longer need to remove liquids and electronic devices (laptops, tablets etc) from your hand luggage, and you could carry liquids in quantities larger than 100ml. 

However, many UK airports will not be fully up and running with the new security scanners for travel this summer, which is why ABTA is advising travellers to continue to follow the existing rules around liquids and removing electronic devices when preparing for their trips. Travellers can also check with their airport in advance to see what rules will be in place.    

June 2024 update: The Government has advised that from Sunday 9 June 2024,100ml restrictions on liquids will temporarily be reintroduced for passengers travelling from six UK regional airports where the new security scanners are in place. So travellers should not look to take liquids larger than 100ml in their hand luggage.

It is also important to remember that even if the UK airport you are travelling from has the new generation scanners and security screening rules in place, the destination airport you are returning from may not. So you will need to follow their guidance and should be particularly mindful of the 100ml liquid rule.

How to prepare for your travels this summer

For now, the best advice is to stick to the current hand luggage rules around liquids and electronic devices, which are:

  • Liquids can be no more than 100ml.
  • Liquids are taken out of your bag when going through security, and are put in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, with just one bag per person.
  • Electronic devices, such as laptops and tablets, are removed from hand luggage when you go through the security screening process.

Sticking to the current rules will help you avoid being caught out with a larger amount of liquids in your hand luggage than may be allowed through your departure or return airport. It will also mean that you are ready to remove your liquids and devices should airport security require it, avoiding any unnecessary delays to yourself and other passengers. 

As some UK airports are operating under the new rules, you can plan in advance by checking with the airport. You must make sure you check the rules for the specific terminal you are travelling from, as the rules could vary between terminals in the same airport. You should also check the rules for your return airport.  

Timescale for new security processes

While the UK Government had set a deadline of 1 June 2024 for airports to have the new generation equipment installed and rules regarding passing through security in place, many UK airports – including some of the largest – have said they will not be ready by the deadline.

The Government has since granted airports extensions of up to a year to have the new security systems and processes in place. Information about the airports granted these extensions has not been published by the Government for security reasons.

If you are travelling this summer, the new security screening rules will not be in place consistently across the UK. 

It is highly likely that UK airports, where the new system is not fully operational, will continue to enforce the current rules around 100 mil liquids and removing electronic devices from hand luggage when passing through security.