Big News . . . in the UK . . . About Carry-Ons

Baggage, Government Regulation

You thought the big news was about a Delta/United merger? Nah, that’s not news . . . yet. Airlines talk about mergers all the time, and until I see an actual proposal, I’m not going to bother worrying about it. So far we have a hedge fund that has money in both airlines and wants to see them combine. They’ll make them a ton of money, and then it will turn into a huge mess for the airlines afterwards. This is all assuming that it actually happens at some point, and I’m far from convinced.

So for now, let’s focus on real news. This is coming from the UK. No, I’m not talking about the BA ghost flights. I’m talking about the end of the one carry-on rule at UK airports!

Now, don’t get too excited just yet. My exclamation point is a bit premature. If you’re flying today, you won’t see a difference, but change is coming. According to the BBC, on January 7 of next year, the requirement that airports only allow one carry-on bag through security will be eliminated. Now sadly that doesn’t mean that you can bring the standard 1+1 (purse, briefcase, etc) that you’re allowed in the rest of the free world right away. Each airport has to work to make the change.

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said, “We are inviting each airport to submit plans to take advantage of new technology, operational innovations, and unexploited capacity in the system to make a real difference to passengers as soon as possible.”

Blah blah. When will it happen?

The assumption is that UK airports will have all applied to do this within a few months, but there’s no indication how long it may take to get it approved. And really, most of the world outside of the UK just wants to know when the London airports (especially Heathrow) will change, since those carry the bulk of passenger traffic. Once that happens, people will have one less reason to avoid flying through London.

UPDATE Nov 19 @ 316p: Musings of The Global Traveller came across an article saying that BAA, which runs many of the UK’s large airports, won’t have the ability to take 2 carry ons per passenger at any airport. They will, however, allow First and Business class passengers to carry on a second bag at Heathrow. That’s it. Booooooooo! No wonder people hate BAA. Keep avoiding LHR for now . . . .

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7 comments on “Big News . . . in the UK . . . About Carry-Ons

  1. any ideas how this will effect parents flying with kids? I know when my kids were little, the sheer amount of stuff for them usually meant we were up to two per person, kids included. Will there be any exceptions made?

    Guess I should look for a really good handbag/laptop carrier/purse/tote bag unit for my next flight….

  2. It’s truly good news, but also disappointing at the same time, that each airport may be different. If they don’t even AIM to be consistent, there’s no hope of any clarity or ease of confusion for passengers.

    But then again, we have the TSA here in the U.S., ’nuff said.

    One-bag rule aside, I think the big reason for people not wanting to transit through UK airports is the hefty taxes that are imposed. The UK gov’t has single-handedly made the likes of BA/VS/BD uncompetitive for connecting traffic, compared to other European hubs like FRA and AMS.

  3. Agree very disappointing. Given BAA’s lack of investment why should we (the customers) have any confidence they will bother applying for 2 carry-ons being allowed? And even in the unlikely event they succumb to pressure, that they will actually pass whatever test the authorities impose?

    It would have been far more customer friendly to put the onus on airports – 2 carry ons will be allowed from x date.

    The longer the current nonsense is allowed to continue, the more UK misses out from aware travellers.

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