Check it!

Adam Griffiths

New rules for travelers leave hand luggage lighter than ever

Almost five years after Sept. 11 brought stringent restrictions on what could and could not be taken on board, commercial airline travelers are now dealing with even more rules regarding carry-on luggage.

On Aug. 10, British authorities announced they had halted a terrorist plot to attack airplanes between the United States and Britain. The plot involved using liquids in drink bottles smuggled onto commercial flights in carry-on luggage and combining them to create an explosive mix that could be triggered by the spark caused by a handheld device, like a cell phone, according to the New York Times.

Following this announcement, the Transportation Security Administration installed new restrictions as to what those traveling on U.S.-originating flights could bring on board in their hand luggage, banning virtually all liquids, gels and lotions. Images of mass quantities of discarded cosmetics and toiletries were shown on TV networks.

According to Fred Klum, airport director at the Akron Canton Regional airport, once the early shock of the news faded, passengers were inclined to more easily submit to the new restrictions.

“People very early on were upset,” Klum said. “They didn’t know what was going on, but as information came out, it got a lot smoother.”

That sentiment seemed to ring true throughout the airline industry, despite reports of serious delays and issues with angry passengers. According to a press release issued by Delta airlines one week after the terrorist plot was foiled, security lines had normalized in most airports across the country.

“Because people are checking more luggage, wait times have gone down because people have less to deal with at security,” Klum said.

Freshman marketing major Tiffany Mitchell, who flew from Dallas International Airport to Chicago O’Hare Airport and on to Akron Canton Regional Airport in coming to Kent State, echoed this idea. Mitchell, who had flown before the new rules were in effect, said the new travel restrictions are not as bothersome as some may expect.

“I had a cup in my bag and they thought it might have a liquid in it, so they had to dig it out and look at it,” Mitchell said.

Security also looked at the rhinestones on the belt she was wearing, Mitchell said. The entire check, including the time she spent in line, took 20 minutes. She said she was also checked again at the gate when boarding her flight and was told that she had to finish a drink that she had purchased or throw it away.

Despite numerous media reports, however, many are still unaware what exactly the new restrictions entail, Klum said. The restrictions are posted on the TSA’s Web site for easy access. He suggests that travelers check them if they have any questions before calling their local airport.

“People are calling and asking whether or not they can take a cell phone,” he said, “and they’re still coming up to security with liquids.”

Mitchell said, however, that the inconvenience is worth the wait.

“There’s always going to be someone that tries to get something through, but they know what they’re doing,” she said. “If it keeps us safe, it’s worth a few more minutes in line.”

Contact features reporter Adam Griffiths at [email protected].


The following items are permitted aboard aircraft “to ensure the health and welfare of certain air travelers.”

• Small amounts of baby formula and breast milk

• Liquid prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger’s ticket

• Up to 5 oz. of liquid or gel low-blood sugar treatment

• Up to 4 oz. of essential non-prescription liquid medications including saline solution, eye care products and KY jelly