The EU will today take a first step towards removing liquid restrictions for air passengers.


As of 31st January 2014, new rules will enter into force allowing passengers to carry certain liquids onto connecting flights at EU airports. Up until now, duty-free liquids purchased at non-EU airports or on board a non-EU carrier were confiscated when the passenger connected onto another flight within the EU. Today’s rule change means that such liquids – provided they are packed in the security bag issued at the time of purchase – can be screened at passenger security checkpoints and brought onto a connecting flight.


For example, under previous rules, a passenger travelling from Hong Kong to Dublin via London would have had any duty-free liquids purchased in Hong Kong airport confiscated upon landing in London. These measures were originally put in place as the EU could not verify that the liquids had come from a secure source.


The new rules mark a crucial first step towards easing stringent restrictions on air passengers. In the example above, the passenger would be permitted to keep any duty-free liquids purchased in Hong Kong and have them screened at security checkpoints in the London airport for their connecting flight.


This change is anticipated to affect only a small number of passengers, thereby minimising any potential disruption. Depending on its success, the EU hopes that it will be the first in a series of measures designed to eliminate all liquid restrictions by 2016.


For more information on air passenger rights, please see our guide here.