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(11:30 a.m.) -- For travelers flying between the U.S. and U.K. -- not to mention onward throughout Europe from Heathrow or Gatwick, two of England's major London airports -- both governments are announcing changes to various policies.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is announcing that it now will permit "small does of non-prescription liquid medications," low blood-sugar treatments, including glucose gel for diabetics, solid lipstick and baby food.
Also now permitted: artificial tears, nasal sprays and saline solution (four ounces or less).
The "option" to remove shoes while traveling through security checkpoints is now a requirement.
The threat level has been lowered to high, or orange, for commercial flights originating in the U.K., bound for the U.S. All domestic U.S. flights remain at high, or orange.
Otherwise, bans on carry-on bags remain the same as announced late last week.
In England, the situation continues to wreak havoc, not just on trans-Atlantic flights, but also on connecting flights throughout Europe. Sunday, some one third of scheduled flights were canceled from Heathrow as a result of the now-lengthy security screening process. Today, British Airways says it has complied with a directive from the British Airports Authority to cancel 20 percent of its shorthaul flights "as a result of continuing congestion at the airport." There will be five return long-haul cancellations.
Carry-on baggage rules and regulations are still tightly enforced through today; beginning tomorrow for flights from Heathrow and Gatwick, the rules will loosen up somewhat, becoming more in line with those implemented in the U.K.'s other airports (see next item). There's one exception: The strict carry-on regulations continue for all flights to the U.S.
According to British Airways, other United Kingdom airports have relaxed their carry-on baggage policies. This impacts those traveling today from Aberdeen, Bristol, Isle of Man, London City, Newcastle, Belfast, Edinburgh, Inverness, Luton, Southampton, Birmingham, Glasgow, Jersey and Manchester. Cabin baggage must not contain cosmetics, toiletries, liquids and drinks, but can contain the following: electronic equipment such as laptops, mobile phones, DVD players and portable music players; prescribed medicines in liquid form; baby milk and liquid baby food (though a parent must taste each one at security).
This one's interesting: once in the departure lounge, customers at these airports may purchase "any item in any store and take it onto the aircraft as normal unless you are traveling to the U.S.A."
As always, folks who are flying to the U.K. (or through the U.K., connecting for points beyond) should stay in touch with their airlines for up to the minute changes. We'll keep you posted on changing rules and regulations.