Babymilk under scrutiny as airport controls are tightened
London- The draconian security measures introduced at
British airports in the wake of the foiled terrorist plot could be a
taste of what is to come for the 21st century global traveller.
For the first time ever in modern aviation history, the
authorities imposed a ban on hand luggage being taken aboard.
The few items allowed - such as travel documents, wallets, baby
food and nappies - must be carried in a transparent plastic bag.
Baby milk was being "tested" by staff at the security gate, while
cleansing solution for contact lenses had to be placed in check-in
No duty-free drinks or perfumes were allowed on US-bound flights.
The measures would stay in force for the next few days, including
the weekend, the British Airport Authority said, advising passengers
to arrive in good time.
Air-safety expert Chris Yates, of Jane's Airport Review, said
banning hand baggage was a "measure of last resort" - and
unprecedented in his experience.
Obliging passengers to check luggage into the hold means every
item must pass through highly accurate machines which check for
noxious substances, explosives and timing devices.
In theory, it also prevents passengers taking on the constituent
components of an explosive device to assemble on the plane.
The new ban on taking liquids and gels onto flights in the UK and
US suggested security forces feared explosive liquids could be used.
In London Thursday, all passengers were hand-searched as their
shoes were checked for suspicious substances.
In future, airlines were likely to demand longer check-in times
and tighten further the restrictions on what passengers could carry
on board, experts said.
Sharp objects such as penknives, scissors and even tweezers
already have to be checked into the hold.
In 2004, the EU extended the ban to cover potential weapons such
as ice skates, fishing rods and skateboards, while the US last year
decided to ban cigarette lighters from hand luggage.
© 2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agenteur