The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been enforcing what is known as “3-1-1 for carry-ons” for years. With that rule, travelers are allowed to carry liquids through security checkpoints in containers of 3.4 ounces (metric 100 mL) or less that fit comfortably in one quart-size (metric 1 liter) clear plastic zip-top bag. This rule has been pretty standard all around the world ever since the August 2006 terrorist plot to detonate liquid explosives on planes.
In March, 2022, the first airport was able to do away with the rules, thanks to their investment in better technology. The second airport to allow more liquids began doing so a few months later. By the end of 2022, a whole country announced they would soon no longer limit liquids. It’s been suggested that more and more countries will be using the same technology, and therefore allow more liquids through their respective checkpoints.
Unfortunately, the U.S. isn’t on that list of countries yet. In fact, here’s what we were told when we asked them about it.
There is this neat little hack to get around the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid rule. But a woman just revealed her method to get full-sized liquid bottles past airport security which I think is just genius.
Emma Mahonn, a resident of Scotland, says that she refuses to pay for hold luggage (U.K.-speak for “checking her bag”). But she wanted to bring more than 100 mL of her favorite (well, favourite) liquids when she traveled.
See, in the U.K., Boots is a very popular health and beauty retailer. They’ve got something like 2,500 shops across the United Kingdom and Ireland. They’re very similar to CVS or Walgreens (actually, Walgreens has owned Boots since 2014, although they’re currently trying to sell the company).
Anyway, one cool thing about Boots is you can find them in some of the airports in the U.K. and Ireland, specifically:
- Birmingham (195-198 Departure Lounge)
- Edinburgh (Departure Lounge)
- Bradford (after security)
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- Manchester (Terminal Three Airside)
- London City
- Dublin (Terminal 1)
- Liverpool John Lennon
- London Luton
- London Heathrow (Terminal 5, Satellite C Terminal 5 Airside)
- London Stansted (Airside Terminal)
Most, if not all of them are past the security checkpoint.
Of course, the prices at the Boots inside the airport have the same problem as any airport establishment – they’re inflated (AHEM…but soon not the restaurants at JFK, EWR and LGA! Here’s why!).
But Mahonn got around that.
Know how you can order stuff from stores ahead of time and then pick it up? It was already a “thing” in past years but really took off with COVID. Anyway, Boots offers that service (they call it “click and collect”), and apparently they include airport locations as potential pickup locations.
So Mahonn ordered her full-sized suntan spray, shower gel, moisturizer, etc., and selected to pick them up at her local airport’s Boots on her day of departure. So she managed to get them for normal prices, and past security.
Edinburgh Airport even suggests doing this on their website!
Of course, neither the airport nor Mahonn explained how to get these full-sized toiletries BACK without checking luggage (well, unless she’s flying from this airport and then she could). But if the goal was simply to get full-sized liquid bottles past security, and without airport prices to boot, then mission accomplished.
Now if only there were some Walgreens or CVS past security in the U.S., huh? Then we could do that too.
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