Air travelers may again carry lotions and gels onto planes after a six-week ban — but only in tiny containers of 3 ounces or less, and bundled in a single clear, quart-size zip-top plastic bag. That’s
somewhat good news for the country’s 452 airports.
Passengers can also buy drinks or other liquids at shops inside airport security checkpoints and carry them on board under partially relaxed anti-terror rules.
The ban, ordered in August, has been relaxed as the FBI as their laboratories tested a variety of explosives and found that tiny amounts of substances — small enough to fit in a quart-size plastic bag — can’t blow up an airliner.
Up to 4 ounces of certain items are also permitted in carry-on bags: eye drops, saline solution, nonprescription medicine and personal lubricants. Passengers will have to take out the plastic bag to be checked separately by the X-ray machine. Though the machines can’t identify whether a substance is an explosive, they can pick out visual anomalies that indicate a substance is intended for use in a bomb.
Larger bottles of liquids and gels from outside — including shampoo, suntan lotion, creams and toothpaste – are allowed only in checked baggage.
The TSA is currently testing new equipment that will detect explosive substances.
Hotels make up for airline security restrictions on liquids
One unexpected perk from airline restrictions on liquids in carry-ons: more and better products at hotels.
Many large chain hotels have expanded their sink-side offerings of shampoo, soap and lotion, offering products such as lens solution, hair spray and Static Guard at the front desk, expanding the hours at lobby shops and even providing lockers for frequent guests to store grooming kits between stays. Caryn Kboudi of Omni Hotels, said that Omni managers sent associates to makeup counters, drugstores and salons for familiar brands.
“We made a list of certain brands like Clinique cosmetics, Kiehl’s skin care, Aveda and Origins products and Paul Mitchell hair care,” Kboudi said. The items are available free at Omni Hotel front desks.
Wyndham Hotels, like others, already kept stocks of toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, ear swabs and nail polish remover pads at the front desk, but added liquid items such as contact lens solution, hair spray and gel.
The InterContinental Buckhead in Atlanta now keeps its lobby shops open around the clock.
Rental car companies have stepped into to do their part. Those renting vehicles from Avis at the country’s 25 busiest airports will find a Crest Smile Pack in the car, with full-size toothpaste, mouthwash and dental floss.