New government rulings on the amount of hand luggage we can take on planes will come into effect from the 7th January 08. This change means that passengers on flights to or from one of 22 UK airports are permitted to carry on more than one item of hand luggage per person.
The one item rule has been in place since August 2006, amidst many terror threats at UK airports the government put in place many restrictions on what passengers could carry on to a plane. These restrictions brought about the one item per person rule but also the kind of item you can safely carry with you, which remains in effect.
This dictated that at one point you were not allowed to bring any liquids onto a flight. Mainly because there were fears that terrorists could bring the necessary components to assemble a bomb/weapon and assemble it in-flight.
Whilst it managed to eliminate this threat there were other groups that were affected, parents bringing small children on board were not allowed to bring pre-made drinks/food on all flights, this was a shock to parents who would be forced to pour away the bottles they had prepared for a long flight and now had no food for junior!
This ruling was relaxed slightly later on with a limit being put in place rather than an outright ban on liquids, the official limit for these items is now 100ml of each of gels, pastes, food stuffs etc.
But this change is not being rolled out at all UK airports, currently 22 UK airports will be permitting multiple hand luggage items, but some others, notably, London's Gatwick Airport will not be changing on 7/1/08 due to issues with the Department of Transport.
The Department of Transport has surveyed airports to see if they can handle the added hand luggage whilst maintaining the current added security, without adding to queues. Those that have not been able to meet this requirement, like Gatwick, require additional staff and equipment and will be delaying the introduction of this new ruling.
The airlines themselves are split over this decision though, British Airways is to permit two items of hand luggage per person, Virgin Atlantic is sticking with the policy it has had since before the August ‘06 changes; one item for economy and Economy Plus passengers, with allowances for laptops and handbags as well but two items of hand luggage for First Class customers.
Cheap Flights operator EasyJet has been reluctant to change their one item policy since there is potential for confusion to the customer as not all airports are supported under this new ruling, EasyJet operates out of 14 UK airports but only 7 have been approved by the Department of Transport.
The main point that the BAA is enforcing is to check with your flights company before leaving to ensure you know what is and isn't permitted for your journey. At least with this change it's going to make flying simpler and not having to worry about almost every aspect of flying, making for, hopefully, a relaxing flight to your holiday destination!
There are many cheap flights available nowadays and more companies offering them than ever, however if you are unsure about whether your flights affected by the new change then check with your airline company and airport as there is still some differances between the flights companies as shown in this article