Feds Ease Air Carry-On Rules

Washington -- Airline passengers may carry aboard planes small amounts of liquid and gel toiletries along with beverages they purchase in secure areas of airports, beginning tomorrow, the federal government announced today.

The government instituted the ban on carry-on liquids and gels after the British government last month foiled a plot to blow up airplanes headed for the United States using liquid explosives carried aboard flights.

Kip Hawley, head of the federal Transportation Security Administration, called the new rules a "common sense" approach to airline security during a news conference at Reagan National Airport here.

"We now know enough to say that a total ban is no longer needed from a security point of view," said Hawley.

Under the new rules, passengers may carry through security checkpoints travel-size toiletries of three ounces or less per container in one, quart-size, clear plastic, zip-top bag. The containers must fit comfortably in the bag so that screeners can easily see each item.

Larger amounts of prescription liquid medications, baby formula, and diabetic glucose treatments must be declared at checkpoints for additional screening.

Passengers can also bring aboard beverages and other liquid and gel items they buy in the secure boarding area of airports.

In its announcement today, the government said it will unlikely further ease the policy on carry-on liquids and gels any time soon.

The security policy applies to all domestic and international flights departing U.S. airports. The government advised travelers to check on the security policies in other countries for flights originating at non-U.S. airports.