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New rules for hand luggage at all EU airports in effect

Schiphol implements changes

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

SCHIPHOL - New rules for hand luggage have been in effect at all EU airports since November 6. Liquids, gels and aerosols only are allowed in hand luggage in small quantities, if correctly packaged. These rules apply to all passengers departing from or changing planes at EU airports.

The new rules cover liquids such as water and other beverages, gels, pastes, lotions and aerosol cans. Toiletries such as toothpaste, shaving cream, hair gel, lip gloss and creams also fall under these rules.

Travelers only may take in their hand luggage on board the aircraft liquids and gels in containers of no more than 100 millilitres. These containers must be carried in transparent plastic bags, currently provided free of charge at Schiphol Airport, or provided by the passengers themselves. There is a limit of one transparent plastic bag per person, and the volume of the transparent plastic bag may not be greater than 1 liter.

There are two exceptions to these rules: baby food and/or medication needed during the flight.

Duty-free shopping

Travelers leaving EU airports, such as Schiphol Amsterdam Airports, still may make purchases, including duty-free purchases, after ticket and/or passport control and on board European airline flights. Liquids (such as spirits and liqueurs, and perfumes) and gels that are bought after ticket and/or passport control or on board will be packed and sealed as necessary by the shop or cabin personnel. The seal is valid for one day. If the traveler must change planes within the EU, the seal may not be broken until the final destination is reached.


The new rules for hand luggage were introduced after the arrest of suspected terrorists in Britain in August 2006. The suspects were thought to be involved in a plot to destroy aircraft using liquid explosives. Liquids in hand luggage are now subjected to greater restrictions and stricter controls to reduce the chance of such an attack. For this reason, passengers may no longer carry large amounts of liquids in their hand luggage.

If a traveler packs loose containers of liquids and gels in hand luggage anyway, these may be confiscated at the security checkpoint.


If a passenger buys liquids or gels at a non-European airport - for example Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle or Atlanta - and changes planes at a European airport, they risk confiscation at security checkpoints. This also could happen with purchases made on board an aircraft operated by an airline from a non-EU country, such as Air Canada or American Airlines.

If a traveler to the U.S. buys liquids or gels at a European airport and change planes at another European airport (for example Schiphol), they risk confiscation at the security checkpoints as well. This also can happen with purchases made on board an aircraft operated by an airline from an EU country.

The same rules apply at all airports in all 25 EU countries. These rules therefore will apply whenever one is departing from or changing planes in the EU. Similar rules for hand luggage apply in the U.S. and Canada.