New scanner technology may spell the end of the tiny bottles of soap and toothpaste you need to take on international flights.
If you’re a frequent flyer, then you already have a small, plastic, transparent bag that you can take all your liquid toiletries in. Not a single bottle or container can be larger than 100 ml, and if it is, then you need to take whatever soap or detergent or deodorant out of the bottle and put it inside an even smaller bottle.
For the infrequent flyer, this process can seem both expensive and utterly maddening. You finally have time to go on a family vacation, and now most of that time off has to be spent preparing your luggage in just the right way to prevent you from being arrested. Or worse.
Well, those days may finally be coming to a close. New luggage scanners are being deployed at Heathrow International Airport that will be able to scan for explosives even in liquid containers.
We don’t know a whole lot about the scanners (keeping that technology under wraps being integral to security), but we do know they use x-rays to make a 3D model of whatever luggage is inside the scanner and then uses some sort of computerized wizardry to determine whether that something is an explosive or not.
The scanners will be tested for a period of 6 to 12 months and their use will be completely random. So that means people will randomly be selected to have their luggage scanned at an unknown terminal. They might even move the scanner around so that you don’t know which terminal it will be at on any given day.
These scanners are already being tested in New York and Amsterdam, so if you’re in either international hub you could already have used the new scanner.
The hope is to roll out these new scanners at international locations around the world so we can finally do away with the 100 ml (3.4 fluid ounces) restriction on air travel. In the meantime, keep packing those plastic bags and putting your liquid bath soap into those tiny bottles.