Flyers can soon leave liquids, laptops in carry-ons at London Heathrow security

Dec 7, 2019

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information on when this new tech will roll out. It was originally published on June 11, 2019.

Forbes is reporting the government of the United Kingdom has instructed all major British airports to install new technology by 2022 allowing passengers to leave liquids in their bags during security screenings.

The Points Guy previously reported that London Heathrow Airport is investing £50 million in new CT baggage scanners to make the security checkpoint much easier.

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Forbes that this means “no more pulling out your socks and your underwear, and having to separate your liquids and take your laptops out.”

The new machines, similar to CT scanners used for medical imaging, provide more detailed and accurate images than current X-ray devices. Heathrow (LHR) officials have said that, once widely implemented, the scanners will allow passengers to leave their laptops and liquids in their bags during security.

Heathrow Terminal 5. (Photo by BrasilNut1 / Getty Images)
Heathrow Terminal 5. (Photo by BrasilNut1 / Getty Images)

London Heathrow will be the first airport in the UK to roll out these machines before security lanes around the country are upgraded gradually over the next few years, according to the BBC.

CT security equipment is already in use at numerous American airports, including Chicago O’Hare, New York-JFK and Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta. The Transportation Security Administration began testing the equipment in 2017 and started rolling out the scanners to multiple airports last year to streamline security screenings. The CT scanners are now in at least 15 US airports, and TSA says that by the end of the fiscal year 2019, more than 145 of the devices will be in airports across the US.

At Heathrow, however, passengers will have to wait until these machines are more widely implemented in the UK before the security process changes. Still, with the upgraded security devices and clearer images, officials say that passengers’ scramble to remove their liquids and laptops will soon be over.

Security at London City Airport in London.
Security at London City Airport in London.

“This cutting-edge kit will not only keep the airport safe with the latest technology, but will mean that our future passengers can keep their focus on getting on with their journeys and less time preparing for security screening,” Chris Garton, Heathrow’s chief operating officer, said in a statement announcing the plans for the scanners.

Officials say the CT machines will be fully implemented at LHR by 2022, with other UK airports expected to announce similar equipment upgrades soon. The new mandate from the government should speed things up even further.

Additional reporting by Clint Henderson.

Featured photo of a CT scanner at Miami International Airport by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

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