Scanning our hand-luggage

By | Category: Travel news

Last June I asked why it should take so long for Heathrow to introduce new scanning equipment meaning that we wouldn’t have to remove liquids from our hand luggage.

New scanners by 2022 mean liquids can stay in your hand-baggage.

Nothing has changed at Heathrow where it will still a few years before the kit is place.

What has happened is that the government has told all major airports that it should have the new technology in place by the end of 2022.

The 3-D scanners enable security staff to examine your luggage more efficiently than today in that they can rotate the images to get a better idea of what the contents of your bags are.

According to Grant Shapps, the new transport boss, you won’t have to take laptops and liquids from your bags. Mind you, he is also quoted by many media as saying that it also mean “no more pulling out your socks and your underwear,” although – thankfully – I haven’t been around when this has had to be done!

What is unclear about the government announcement – welcome as it is – is what constitutes a “major” airport? Are we talking of just the big seven, those airports that carry more than ten million passengers each year which are Birmingham, Edinburgh Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Manchester, and Stansted? Does the government mean all airports with international flights in  which case the number rises to about thirty or so?

If some airports will have the new equipment but others won’t, will it not be tempting for passengers to use those airports with the new kit as it means it should be faster to get through the controls and certainly it will be much less hassle?

The other question is who will pay for the technology which certainly isn’t cheap. Heathrow is estimating £50 million but that is split between all their terminals. Will passengers face higher charges elsewhere like on parking, drop-off, baggage drop or a new security charge to pay for it?

Airports have milked passengers for years. They won’t be happy to face more charges which many see as part of what an airport must do as part of its mainstream business.

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