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Airport security is about to become less stressful as the liquids ban is lifted at Heathrow

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Megan Murray
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Heathrow Airport has announced it will be doing away with the liquids ban, meaning no need for those pesky plastic bags from 2020. 

Some snaps are in order (as Elle Woods would say) for Heathrow Airport, which just became our favourite place to jet off from after announcing that over the next 24 months it will be working to improve its security system.

You see, we love going on our jollies. With so much fantastic travel inspiration around (like boutique shopping in Amsterdam, beachfront villas in Vietnam and exploring in Iceland, for example) it’s hard not to have a touch of wanderlust. 

But when we’re all packed up (we’ll be taking that cotton ASOS maxi and the must-have sellout Topshop sandals, by the way), the only thing that can get us down is sorting out our hand luggage, squishing all our beauty products into a tiny plastic bag and then getting it all through security – hands down the worst part of the airport experience. 

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Sure, the queues are boring. The worst part is that sudden spark of panic when we realise we’ve forgotten to bring a plastic bag for our liquids and left them scattered throughout our hand luggage (which a queue of irritated people will now have to watch us sort through). Plus, there’s the dread that we may have accidentally brought along a full-size bottle of our nicest perfume… and that won’t make it through the other side of security with us.

Cue us squatting on the airport floor, contents of said hand luggage strewn around us, and attempting to bribe the person we’re travelling with so that they might take some of our precious lotions and potions into their own (undoubtedly) well-organised plastic bag.

This has pretty much always been our reality… until now, that is.

Heathrow Airport has announced a new security system
Heathrow Airport has announced a new security system 

That’s right: Heathrow Airport has announced plans to do away with not only the fiddly plastic bag situation, but potentially the 100ml liquid rule altogether. How? Well, the airport is planning on investing £50m in CT scanners for its four terminals to make the security process easier, which are predicted to be in action by 2022 (if the term CT scanners rings a bell, it’s because this type of equipment – also known as computed tomography scanners – are already used in hospitals to scan patients).

Used on hand luggage, these CT devices will produce a far more detailed scan, which will allow security staff to check bags without the need for the removal of liquids or electronic devices (you will be able to leave your laptop in your bag, too).

Without the need for plastic bags (and potentially at some point decanters) the airport will be contributing to cut down in plastic, making the decision an eco-friendly one. 

Speaking about the advancements, the aviation minister, Baroness Vere, said: “Passenger safety remains our top priority and this programme clearly shows the huge importance we place on security.

“This innovative new equipment will ensure Heathrow continues to provide a safe and smooth travel experience for passengers, as we look to roll out this new screening technology at airports across the country.”

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Heathrow’s chief operations officer, Chris Garton added to BBC News: “This cutting-edge equipment 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 spend less time preparing for security screening.”

Right now Heathrow is the only airport in the UK planning on implementing the technology, but there are several airports in Europe that have been using it for a while, including Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. And members of the Stylist.co.uk team who have been through the Dutch security systems there can attest that the airport experience is darn better for it. 

Hopefully the rest of the UK will follow suit, but for now we’ll be trying these ways to make our holidays more environmentally conscious

Images: Getty 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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