If you're planning a trip to or from England, take note - hand luggage has been banned! This means that you can't carry even a handbag or purse on the plane and your pockets must be empty. Following security alerts and arrests of 21 people Thursday in the UK, the Department of Transport issued new restrictions. Effective immediately "all cabin baggage must be processed as hold baggage and carried in the hold of passenger aircraft departing UK airports."
In a single plastic carrier bag, passengers can take only the following items:
- Pocket-size wallets and pocket-size purses (containing money, credit cards, identity cards) but not handbags or briefcases.
- Travel documents essential for the journey (for example passports and travel tickets)
- Prescription medicines sufficient for the flight (eg, diabetic kit), except in liquid form unless verified as authentic
- Eyeglasses and sunglasses, without cases
- Contact lens holders, without bottles of solution
- Female sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight, if unboxed (tampons and pads)
- Tissues (unboxed) and/or handkerchiefs
- Keys (no electrical key fobs)
- Passengers travelling with an infant can carry only baby food, milk (the contents of each bottle must be tasted by the accompanying passenger) and sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight (nappies, wipes, creams and nappy disposal bags)
- All electrical or battery-powered items including laptops, mobile phones, iPods and remote controls must be checked in as hold baggage.
- All passengers must be hand searched and their footwear and items they are carrying must be screened.
Pushchairs, strollers and walking aids also must be screened, while only airport-provided wheelchairs may pass through screening points. In addition, all passengers boarding flights to the USA and all items they are carrying - including those acquired after the central screening point - will be subjected to a secondary search at the boarding gate. Any liquids - including water - discovered will be taken from the passenger. British Airways said passengers failing to comply with government restrictions on luggage and other items would not be allowed on its planes.
A Heathrow Airport spokesman said that airport shops remain open and that passengers could still buy duty-free items and take them on board. However, all items carried by passengers on flights to the US will be checked at the boarding gate.