Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester Delay Liquids Limit Increase

Interior view of Heathrow Airport terminal.
Photo Credit: Heathrow Airport

Passengers travelling from major UK airports will face continued limits on the amount of liquids they can bring in carry-on baggage. Due to issues with installation of necessary scanning devices, these airports have delayed the end of the 100ml limit.

Major UK airports London Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester have announced delays in implementing the planned increase.

The removal of the 100ml limit of liquids carried onboard was set to be removed from June 1st, 2024. Some smaller airports have already implemented the necessary changes.

Delay of Restriction Removal

For many travelers, packing for a flight often involves a meticulous dance with the dreaded 100ml liquid restriction.

But anticipation for smoother security checks with larger liquids in carry-on bags has been met with disappointment.

Previously scheduled for June 1st, 2024, the relaxation of liquid restrictions hinged on the installation of advanced security scanners.

These scanners boast the ability to produce detailed images, allowing for the safe passage of containers holding up to two liters of liquid in hand luggage.

Unfortunately, these three major airports haven’t been able to meet the deadline. They’ve successfully applied for extensions from the Department for Transport, citing genuine reasons for the delay.

Interior view of Gatwick Airport

Current Requirements Remain in Place

This means passengers flying out of Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester can expect the 100ml limit and the familiar routine of separating liquids for screening to remain in effect for some time to come. According to a BBC report, this delay may continue for the next year.

The new deadline for these airports to implement the scanners is uncertain, with estimates ranging up to June 2025. This delay has caused frustration amongst travelers who were looking forward to a streamlined security experience.

Long queues due to passengers scrambling to meet the 100ml limit and separate liquids from their belongings are a common pain point.

The new scanners promised to alleviate this congestion by allowing larger containers to pass through without individual screening.

A Teesside Airport security check-in area.
Photo Credit: Teesside Airport

Smaller UK Airports Given Green Light

However, there’s a silver lining for those flying out of smaller UK airports. Locations like Teesside, London City, and Birmingham have already installed the new scanners and are expected to lift the liquid restrictions on schedule.

This means passengers departing from these airports can pack their toiletries and essentials with greater ease.

The Department for Transport has acknowledged the delays at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester, and maintains that they are due to genuine reasons.

Future Penalties for Installation Delays

However, they’ve also emphasized that airports that continue to miss deadlines for installing the scanners will face financial penalties. This serves as an incentive for airports to expedite the implementation process.

While the reasons behind the delays haven’t been publicly disclosed, several factors could be at play. Complexities in integrating the new technology with existing security infrastructure, potential challenges in staff training, and unforeseen logistical hurdles are all possibilities.

The delay also raises questions about the future of security protocols at these major airports. The current 100ml limit was implemented in 2006 due to security concerns surrounding potential liquid explosives.

With advancements in technology, the new scanners offer a potential solution for balancing security with a smoother passenger experience.

Passengers in the terminal hall of an airport.
Photo Credit: Connecting Flights Guide via Pexels


The situation highlights the ongoing challenge of striking a balance between robust security measures and passenger convenience. While the delay is frustrating, it’s crucial to remember that the ultimate goal is to ensure the safety of travelers and crew.

In the meantime, passengers flying out of Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester are advised to remain vigilant about the current 100ml liquid restrictions.

Carefully packing liquids in accordance with the rules will help ensure a smooth security check experience.

Travelers can find detailed information about the liquid restrictions on the websites of the UK government and individual airports.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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