TSA officials grounded many travelers' hopes on Wednesday, declaring that the "3-1-1" liquid carry-on rule that has frustrated fliers since its 2006 inception will not be lifted anytime soon. The announcement, made just days before the 8-year anniversary of September 11th, came on the heels of Monday’s conviction of three British terrorists who, just over 3 years ago, plotted to destroy a multitude of planes (and lives) using a lethal cocktail of liquid explosives hidden in soda bottles. The thwarted scheme resulted in an abrupt ban of carry-on liquids, gels, or aerosols contained in amounts greater than 3.4 ounces (per container), with personal quantities limited to just what can be stuffed into one quart-sized ziplock bag.
On a flight from New York to Paris in September 2006 (when the new rule was more surprise than mantra) my travel companion, shocked to learn that the expensive bottle of Chanel perfume she decided to bring onboard would be declared dumpster hazmat in a matter of minutes, frantically dashed to the bathroom to whip her waist-length hair into a perfectly-coiffed bun atop her head – perfume hidden discreetly inside. (She made it through!)
Surely, many of today’s jet-setters have similar stories of sneaking by with contraband in tow, or of standing by as their liquid possessions were repossessed en route to the departure gate. Despite progress since 2006 (true necessities like medicines and baby formula are now allowed in “reasonable” quantities, so long as they're separately screened), many still see the restrictions less as an effective effort to maintain homeland security than as a hassle – not to mention a primary cause of the high costs most airlines now require to check baggage. Regardless of your opinion, we have all had to adapt our personal travel M.O.’s to comply, and will have to hang on indefinitely before our former freedoms are restored.
What do you think? While promising advancements in X-ray technology should, at some point in the future, allow for the lifting of the ban entirely, should the TSA relax its regulations on liquid carry-ons sooner than later?