The UK’s biggest airports won’t be scrapping the 100ml liquids rule this summer

Gatwick and Manchester are among the airports that won’t meet the summer deadline for new scanners

Annie McNamee
Written by
Annie McNamee
Contributor, Time Out London and UK
Airport security
Photograph: Shutterstock

No one likes airports, with their queues and expensive food and uncomfortable chairs. Two years ago it was announced that state-of-the-art scanners would give hope to the weary masses, promising a smoother experience at security where liquids don’t need to be separated and laptops needn’t be removed from the depths of your stuffed-full bag. That hope is now gone – or at least until next summer.

The new tech, which is able to effectively check your bag for prohibited items without you having to remove anything, has already been integrated into London City and Teeside airports, and was hoped to be rolled out into all major UK airports by this summer. The Department for Transport originally set a deadline of 2022, which was universally missed, before pushing it back to June 2024, and now June 2025. Obviously, it’s been a bit of a saga.

The machines are able to do a 3D scan of passengers’ luggage, resulting in clearer images of their contents. This means that the 100ml rule we’ve come to know and curse can be scrapped, allowing you to bring on board anything up to a litre in volume. 

Some airports are on track to have the scanners by June, or sometime soon after. London Luton has begun the transition and is apparently making ‘excellent progress’, and Bristol also claims to be close to meeting the original deadline. Elsewhere, there’s not so much luck.

The rest of the London airports, including Gatwick, Stansted, and Heathrow have all begun the changeover, but it won’t be complete for any of them this side of Christmas. Manchester is also in this boat, and they all say that they’re aiming to have the devices switched by various points next year. Whether they’ll manage to stick to their self-imposed deadlines is another question, but fingers crossed that this time next year getting through airport security will be a breeze. 

Make sure to double check the rules at the airport you’re travelling from, as some smaller airports, such as Donegal in Ireland, are making the change sooner than the larger behemoths of air travel. 

We’ll be keeping an eye on who is and isn’t up to date, so make sure to check back for all the latest on the enthralling world of airport scanning technology.

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