Airport blames hand-luggage confusion for security delays

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Airport blames hand-luggage confusion for security delays

Birmingham Airport is urging passengers to check the latest hand luggage rules as it revealed that 15% of carry-on bags are being rejected, causing queues to build up at security.

The airport said each ‘non-compliant’ bag adds an average of 10 minutes to a passenger’s screening time.

A Birmingham Airport spokesperson said that the number of rejected bags has increased since UK airports began installing new 3D scanners, that will allow passengers to carry up to two litres of liquids in their hand luggage.

The Government initially gave airports a deadline of 1 June 2024 to install the new scanners, but it has since pushed this back to 2025.

So far, only London City and Teesside airports are using the new technology to process every passenger, while bigger airports like Heathrow and Gatwick are using the scanners on some – but not all – security lanes.

Birmingham Airport announced earlier this year that it will be the first major UK airport to fully install the 3D scanners by 1 June, but it said some passengers think the 100ml liquid rule has already been ditched.

“We wish to remind our customers that existing security restrictions remain in place,” said the spokesperson. “This can be confusing to our customers and on average 15% of bags are rejected as they are not compliant with current security restrictions.  For each customer, a non-compliant bag adds 10 minutes on top of their security search time.”

They said the following rules are still in force at Birmingham: 

  • Liquids, pastes and gels, up to 100ml, in 20 x 20cm in resealable bags should be taken out of bags and placed in the security scanning tray
  • All electricals are to be removed from their cases and placed separately in the security scanning tray

Security queues at Birmingham have caused some passengers to miss flights, and yesterday a technical fault in one of the lanes caused even longer delays.

The spokesperson added: “We saw a usual busy Monday morning at Birmingham Airport with customers queuing downstairs, which is the new normal, as the upstairs queuing area has been taken out of service as we construct our new security area.

“We encountered a technical issue with our security lanes, which compounded the peak departure schedule and hindered our operation. We sincerely apologise to our customers for the level of service that they received, this is not what we aim to deliver here at Birmingham Airport.”

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