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05.03.2014
All UK airports have now relaxed the restrictions on hand luggage introduced in the wake of Thursday's alert over a possible terror plot. The new guidelines - which allow one item of hand luggage the size of a laptop computer bag - were delayed until Tuesday at Heathrow and Gatwick. Most airports have reported business as usual, while 45 flights were cancelled at Heathrow, the worst-affected. Meanwhile, a senior policeman has criticised calls for screening of passengers for likely terrorist types. Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Ali Dizaei said such a move could create an offence of "travelling whilst Asian". Passengers had been banned from taking anything into aircraft cabins except travel documents, baby food and certain medicines, all of which had to be carried in clear plastic bags. But people are still not allowed to take in any liquids apart from baby milk and baby food, and prescription medicines. BAA said anyone travelling over the next few days should allow extra time for their journey. The airport operator has come under fire from several airlines who have been highly critical of the way it has managed its airports during the upheaval. British Airways has said it may sue BAA, but Virgin Atlantic called on BAA, airlines and the government to sit down and discuss who should "pick up the cost" of the terror alert. BA boss Willie Walsh has attacked BAA's management, saying it had "no adequate plan" to deal with the emergency. Paul Charles, from Virgin Atlantic, talking about the situation at Heathrow and Gatwick, said: "The delays are less and the queues are less. He said Virgin Atlantic was running a normal service, adding that it had been a frustrating few days "because we have been forced to cancel a handful of flights we would otherwise be running normally". On Tuesday, a total of 45 flights were cancelled at Heathrow - one Jet Airways flight and 44 British Airways.
At Gatwick 11 flights have been cancelled - all on BA domestic routes - while at Stansted there have been eight cancellations of Ryanair flights. Elsewhere, airports including Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow were reporting business was mostly back to normal after the less stringent measures were introduced on Monday. The Times reports that transport officials are considering "passenger profiling", where airlines identify people who, on grounds of such things as conduct or appearance, they believe could pose a risk to security.
Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Ali Dizaei said intelligence might be able to shed light on people's travel history, where they bought tickets, and the persistency of travel. But he told BBC Two's Newsnight: "It becomes hugely problematic when it's based on ethnicity, religion and country of origin.
BAA's Tony Douglas said the airline industry had faced a "national security challenge" on an "unprecedented scale" in the past few days. He said the situation was becoming more stable, with improved punctuality of flights at Heathrow and fewer cancellations. But police at Gatwick have said there has been an increase in thefts from passenger baggage in transit during the recent security alert. Eight passengers on outbound flights reported items stolen from bags in the hold since the increased security measures began, compared with just one theft over the same period last year. There have also been 52 reported thefts from inbound flights over the last five days, compared to 16 at the same time last year. Meanwhile, police investigating the suspected plot to blow up transatlantic flights have found a handgun and a rifle in searches.
Police are continuing to search woodland near High Wycombe, while officers have also carried out searches at two internet cafes 18 miles away in Slough.


Thames Valley Police said extra officers had now been drafted in to guard against any "misguided backlash" in Slough.
Two carry-on bags per person, in addition to one small personal item, such as small hand bag or laptop.
One carry-on bag per person, in addition to one small personal item, such as small hand bag or laptop. Disabled passengers are allowed a wheelchair in addition to their baggage allowance, but the wheelchair must be checked in. All of the liquid containers must fit easily in a clear, re-sealable plastic bag, in which the liquids total no more than 1 litre (1 quart). Since most drink cans and bottles can hold more than 100 ml (1dl), they are therefore not permitted beyond security screening.
You may carry on board other necessities for your personal use during the flight, provided that airport security screeners do not consider them a security risk.
Information on security restrictions for baggage when travelling from Iceland, within or from Europe may be found on theA European Commission (EC) website.
The hand luggage should be no more than 10 in (25 cm) deep, 22 in (56 cm) long and 18 in (46 cm) wide.
However, other airlines allow only a single bag with maximum measurements of 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm. The cabin luggage size limit can change, so it is best if you confirm with the airline first.
Ryanair has issued the government with a seven-day ultimatum to restore airport security measures to normal or risk being sued for compensation. The budget airline says a larger cabin baggage allowance and fewer passenger body searches would avoid handing "extremists an enormous PR victory". The "no frills" airline prefers to put less luggage into plane holds to maintain its low prices. A spokesman at the Department for Transport said the government does not believe it has to pay compensation under the law. The DfT said on Friday: "The security regime in place at UK airports is necessary because of the level of security threat and is kept under constant review. The DfT spokesman added that the restrictions were introduced under the Aviation Security Act of 1982, which allows the government to implement measures for the safety and protection of the public.
Ryanair has threatened to claim compensation under a different act - the provision of section 93 of the Transport Act 2000.
Virgin said it was "not seeking compensation from the government", but thought it should pay for the staff. Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary described the situation at London airports after the security measures were imposed last Thursday, as a "shambles". In launching a campaign to "get Britain flying again" included one million seats for sale on more than 100 routes, priced at ?25, one way, including taxes and charges. A return to the passenger body searches from the current one in two to the normal one in four. The disruption to flight schedules because of the alleged bomb plot is estimated to have cost Ryanair up to ?2m. BBC industry correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones said Mr O'Leary was being particularly strident because the "new regulations are a threat to his business".
If Ryanair passengers travel with large pieces of luggage, which have to be checked into the hold "that's a real impediment to his business". Mr Cellan-Jones explained: "He depends on getting away fast, no baggage in the hold and a quick turn around at the other end.


Pilots who believe they should not be banned from taking liquids and gels, including contact lens solution and toothpaste, into the cockpit have now joined the calls for the security measures to be re-examined. Captain Mervyn Granshaw, chairman of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), said: "Do officials really believe that we need to be prevented from using liquids, given that we freely load and carry many thousands of litres of volatile aviation kerosene every day? British Airways said it plans to run all of its scheduled flights on Friday, after days of delays and cancellations.
Virgin has also called for a Competition Commission inquiry into the running of British airports in a submission to the Office of Fair Trading.
Twenty-three people are in custody in London, after being arrested in raids in London, High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, and Birmingham last week. Meanwhile, police are scouring woods in Buckinghamshire, where they found items which could be used to make a bomb. We’ve rounded up the current hand luggage allowances for some of the major airlines to hopefully save you from making a difficult choice to pack your treasured lenses when you get to the airport!
When it comes to expensive and fairly fragile cameras, lenses, flashguns and other accessories, there’s a lot to be said for the security of taking your kit onto the plane with you as carry-on luggage. The rigours of airport baggage handling systems and an aircraft’s cargo hold are much less appealing.
A good quality, medium-sized photo backpack is an obvious choice for taking camera kit as carry-on luggage, but there are factors you need to be aware of.
A bigger issue is the maximum allowed weight of the bag, with much greater differences between different airlines and tour operators. Some airlines merely stipulate that you must be able to lift a carry-on bag into an overhead compartment, unaided.
The table above shows the current carry-on baggage restrictions for various popular airlines, when travelling economy class.
Of BA flights, this includes four long-haul services, 21 short-haul and 16 domestic flights.
On Monday it was downgraded to "severe", meaning an attack is now considered highly likely but not imminent. Please note that any bag or item must fit easily into the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you.
Infants under two years of age without a reserved seat do not have their own carry-on baggage allowance. If any liquid duty-free items have been purchased prior to boarding and departing from the USA or Canada and are still being carried in containers that can hold 100ml or more, these items will be subject to confiscation. However, the IATA (International Air Transport Association) has set down recommendations (not mandatory) for airlines. If you want to take you camera and gear abroad, every airline has specific carry-on restrictions based on size and weight. That said, photo backpacks often become a little more compact than their stated dimensions once the various chest and waist straps are pressed in, along with the often deep padding in the back and shoulder areas.
Others have a relatively low weight limit that’s likely to be exceeded even if the backpack is only half full of camera kit.
However, these are subject to change, so it’s important to check with the airline you are using before you set off on your travels.
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