TSA Liquid Ban On Its Way Out

Government Regulation, Safety/Security

How did I miss this news earlier this month? I suppose it did coincide with my wedding, but still . . . . There is now hope that the liquid ban will disappear in the not-too-distant future.

Kip Hawley, head of the TSA, said that he expects the liquid ban to be lifted by next year at this time. Hello? Are you ok? Don’t forget to breathe. Ok, try to compose yourself after hearing such shocking news, and let’s talk more about it.

To be precise, Mr Hawley said, “I think realistically in one year we, the TSA and foreign colleagues, will be [in] a position to relax liquids restrictions.” Why? Apparently, the technology for liquid detection is getting better. They are rolling out the x-ray machines they need to make this happen as we speak, and now all they have to do is make sure the software works.

Is anyone else concerned that we’re throwing a bunch of expensive machines out there before we know if they’ll work? Hmm, let’s just forget about that and focus on the positive. The liquid ban might actually be gone soon. Let’s talk again in a year and see if this actually happens. In fact, let’s throw a poll out there right now.

Will the TSA liquid ban actually be lifted by October 20, 2009?

View Results

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[Edited 10/29 @ 952p to remove extra “my” and add “will disappear” in first paragraph]

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16 comments on “TSA Liquid Ban On Its Way Out

  1. I won’t be at the gala tonight, but I will be at the press conference during the day. If you’re there, come by and say hello.

  2. I think there’s some regime change coming in Washington, which will probably lead to a sensible person being in the top spot at DHS and a better person at the top of TSA. With better leadership, comes better regulations (in theory… this is my theory based on a couple of policy turns at DOL, where we have better leadership than DHS… but really, a headless chicken frequently seems to have better leadership than DHS), better regulations rationalize things for people, and one of the most visible pieces of annoying travel safety that isn’t tied to anything could be a casualty.

    Now, if they could only ban matches and lighters. Why do people on a plane need a way to start a fire when you can’t smoke on the plane and the first attempt at any shenanigans after 9/11 was a guy trying to start a fire in coach? Puzzling.

  3. For the sake of on-board baggage, I’d really rather they keep the liquid ban. I realize a lot of travelers are in a Catch-22 situation right now – They can’t carry on because of the liquid ban, but they don’t want to pay fees for 1 checked bag. However, for those frequent travelers who *hate* checking bags and who can fly within the TSA liquid guidelines, it’s great having overhead space and not worrying about a dearth of carry-on luggage.

    Especially with airlines charging for the 1st checked bag, if TSA removes the ban there will be absolutely *zero* overhead space on flights. When Delta starts calling for Zone 3, they’ll also have to say, “Please be aware that our overhead bins are full. If your bag can’t fit under your seat it will be checked.”


  4. So they need to roll out new xray machines at all airports? How long is that going to take? (and what is it going to cost) And will that lead to a situation where in airport XYZ the ban is lifted because of the new machines, and in airport ABC the old rules still apply because they haven’t phased in the new machines there? Given that many travelers are apparently unable to read/comprehend signage, I’d anticipate chaos and confusion.

  5. I had to vote NO since I’ve been conditioned to never expect more when it comes to air travel.

    Michael does bring up some good points. If the liquid ban goes away you’ll have leisure travelers trying to carry-on everything. That would be hell. Many business travelers are bad enough with giant roller luggage. The airlines need to enforce the carry on limits. If it doesn’t fit in that box – yes, that’s half of you people with roller luggage – it gets checked. Would be nice to ditch the tiny bottles of everything though.

  6. When I few from Narita several years back, they put my bottle of soda on a fluid scanner of some sort and said it was “OK.” Wonder what this machine was? It shot beams through it.

  7. Oh no. Will this ban mean that you will not be having a writing contest for best water ban slogan next year?

  8. We don’t need the machines nor the ban. The likelihood of anyone pulling off this sort of thing is on the level of San Marino winning the World Cup.

    As for issues of carry on luggage, the airlines need to start to enforce their own rules. They need to take the laptop bag clause out. The same with enforcing that the bag needs to be able to fit under the seat. It should be no surprise that the folks carrying on their gym bag (HELLO!) also are the ones in a hurry to get on and get their bag in the bins overhead because they know it’s too big). Whatever the case, we shouldn’t piss away tens of millions of dollars on “security” to limit liquid sizes whether it’s to encourage a few folks to check in their bags nor in the same of increased safety. It doesn’t make us any more safe and it’s costing us a lot of money.

  9. The Atlantic had an article about the farce that is the TSA and how they easily circumvented the law. Just load what you want in a plastic bottle and call it Saline.


    I liked the part where TSA takes his stuff out, he unfurls a flag of Hezzbollah and tells the TSA droid what it is, and she can’t put 2+2 together.

    TSA is just another crappy federal job for formerly career McDonalds workers, and all their functionally illiterate friends.

    As for laptop, I jam the laptop backpack into my carry on, so I don’t get dinged. Next month, I am travelling US on a real tix rather than non-rev’ing, I wonder if they will waive my $15 bag fee?

  10. I wanted to talk about the problem of airport security and the TSA.

    About a year ago, my family took a vacation to Las Vegas and flew America West Airlines, now U.S. Airways. The flight over to McCarran Airport was unremarkable, we had a nice time in Vegas, we lost our collective shirts but had a good time.

    Our problem started once we tried to leave McCarran. We arrived at McCarran early, our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until 10 p.m. We hung out in the terminal tried to check our bags early, that was our first mistake.

    Seems checked baggage wouldn’t be available until an hour prior to departure, so we had to lug our luggage all over the terminal.

    Once our flight appeared on the departure board, we checked our baggage. Then we were allowed to got through the TSA screening to our terminal…the TSA was polite and courteous, not like they are portrayed.

    Once we got into the departure terminal we waited, waited and waited. Finally, after it got to be around 9 p.m., someone from U.S. Airways informed us that our flight as well as the flights to twelve other destinations served by U.S. Airways were cancelled due to zero visibility. The destinations were from LAX in the south, to Seattle-Tacoma in the north.

    We were told that we could take a chance on a flight to Santa Barbara; however, we’d still need to find our own way home to San Luis Obispo. We declined the offer, instead choosing to take a rescue flight the next morning from McCarran to LAX, then from LAX to San Luis Obispo, getting us home at 3 p.m.

    We were scheduled with United, they at least were friendly to our situation. We later found out that because of U.S. Airway’s screw up their operators who normally handled overseas connection had to come out and try to rebook 3,000+ passengers on other connecting airlines.

    We then had to encounter the indiginity of camping out overnight at McCarran, seems that U.S. Airways doesn’t give hotel vouchers if they have to cancel flights. To say that the furniture wasn’t comfortable is an understatement, second mistake!

    Once we made it threw the night, somehow, we had to experience the indignity of going threw another TSA screening. Never mind the fact that I was crankier than a bear, the TSA agents assigned to United were beyond rude. They pulled my mother and I out of line, rummaged through our luggage, and when I asked why, a guard shoved me against the glass partition and said if I moved a muscle they’d shoot me!

    Once they had me down to my pants, shoes removed, no shirt on, and my belt and my change in my pockets spilled out on a tray, they informed me I could get redressed, they stopped us because we were acted unusual; not getting any more than 4 hours sleep will make you act funny!

    As a result of our expriences, I refuse to fly anywhere anymore, add to that the experiences of overly rude flight attendants who have a God complex, is it any wonder people want to see the airlines fail?

  11. Many of you act like all travelers want to take on several gallons of liquid. The 50% of travelers who would carry on liquid, would like to carry on a soda or 20-24 oz bottle of water, with the women carrying on a few larger containers of gels/makeup. Most all of which would go in the existing bags that are already going on. (2) bags, that have additional bottle of water, and a little more facial creme is not going to change anything. (2) bags that fit! end of conversation!

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