The Reasons Behind Hand Luggage Restrictions And Security Rules

Getting through airport security is an important step in international travel and one that can be tedious and frustrating. In fact, there are many items that you are not allowed to take on board as carry-on baggage, and there are also many rules to follow when going through security. But these rules are there for a reason and are important to ensure that terrorist attacks like 9/11 or the 2006 transatlantic plane plot never happen again. So if you’ve ever wondered why certain rules apply, in this article we’ll explain the reasons behind common airport security rules.

A man is waiting for his plane
Traveling with hand luggage | © JEShoots via Unsplash

Reasons for hand luggage restrictions

First, there are restrictions on the size of luggage you can take with you in the cabin. Carry-on baggage restrictions are usually based on dimensions rather than weight, although some airlines also have a weight limit. These limits are to ensure that the aircraft does not exceed its maximum takeoff weight and to ensure that bags can be stowed in overhead bins so they do not get in the way in the event of an evacuation.

Many items are not allowed as carry-on baggage. This includes firearms and ammunition, blowtorches and flammable objects such as ethanol, and any sharp or blunt object, whether it be work tools, sports equipment or other objects. The reason for this is self-explanatory: anything that can be used as a weapon or otherwise pose a danger to passengers is not allowed in the cabin.

Also Read :  I finally understood my late father on a holiday tinged with regret

Finally, one of the most notorious carry-on baggage restrictions is that you can’t take more than 100ml of liquid, and these liquids must be placed in a small zip-lock plastic bag that is presented separately at security. This seemingly arbitrary restriction has left many first-time travelers at a loss.

It has its origins in the 2006 transatlantic plane conspiracy, in which terrorists attempted to blow up several planes en route from the United Kingdom to the United States using liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks carried in their carry-on luggage. The UK and US initially banned passengers from carrying liquids in hand luggage before relaxing the limit to just 100ml per person. These restrictions were then implemented worldwide and are still in place today to prevent similar incidents.

Security/check-in lines at Gatwick Airport
In May, travelers reported long queues at check-in and security at London Gatwick Airport. | ©PA

Airport security: what do you need to take off and why?

Aside from the restrictions on what is allowed in the cabin, there is also a strict security process that every passenger must go through before they can enter the terminals and board the aircraft. This process can be slow and tedious, but is necessary to ensure no dangerous items are brought on board the aircraft. Airport security used to be less stringent, but after 9/11, full-body scans and checking baggage for explosives have become the norm around the world.

Also Read :  Promising research on synthetic corneas from London university

Each passenger must go through a metal detector to ensure they are not carrying any dangerous objects such as weapons or sharp objects hidden in their clothing. This also means that you have to take off any metallic objects like belts, watches or other things in your pockets when going through the detector as they would trigger it which can slow down the queue or get you in trouble.

Most airports will also ask you to remove your shoes before going through the detector. This is because some shoes have metallic elements that can trigger the detector, such as B. metallic shoelace tips, but also because some detectors can be unreliable in detecting metals in the lower part of the body, making it easy to hide objects in shoes.

The security concourse at East Midlands Airport (EMA), UK.
Security hall at EMA | © Derbyshire Live

What do you need to remove from your bag and why?

Meanwhile, your bag will run through an X-ray machine to detect any possible weapons or explosives inside. However, some things need to be taken out of the bag and scanned separately. These include the aforementioned plastic bags with liquids, large electronic devices such as laptops or tablets, and certain foods. This is because these items are too dense, which can obstruct the X-rays and hide what’s behind.

Also Read :  Travel to the UK during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

In addition to this, you also need to make sure your electronic devices are charged as airport security will sometimes ask you to turn them on and may confiscate them if they are not working. The reason for this is to ensure that the gadgets are not makeshift bombs, as a gadget that has been turned into a bomb will most likely not function properly.

However, some of these rules are being phased out at some airports due to improved technology. These include the use of backscatter X-ray scanners, which can detect metals on passengers without having to remove their shoes, or computer tomographs, which are in use at some American airports and create 3-D images of luggage, allowing bags to pass without remove laptops from them. These two rules should therefore no longer play a role in a few years.

These are the reasons for the rules regarding hand luggage and airport security. Did you know all this? Let us know below!