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Dumping The 3-1-1-Rule

From Blogger Pictures

It’s not official, and the Transportation Security Administration is tight-lipped, but practically speaking, the unpopular and probably very ineffective 3-1-1 flight rule (no gels, aerosols or liquid) is all but dead.

3-1-1 limited passengers’ rights to carry any kind of liquid on a plane to a 3.4 ounce bottle, in a 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-lock bag, with a limit of 1 bag per passenger, placed in screening bin.
The agency’s web site still posts the restriction, but MSNBC reports that fewer and fewer passengers are being asked to remove lotions, shampoos and water bottles from their luggage, and officials seem not to be questioning passengers or rejecting liquids in in carry-ons even during the screening process.

The rule was a reaction to a 2006 bomb attempt on a British flight to the United States, and became instantly unpopular with travelers who saw it as intrusive and ineffective. How, most asked, could a tube of toothpaste bring down a plane?

A TSA blog post on the subject points to new generation of technologies like AT (Advance Technology) X-Rays, body scanners, and Computed Tomography (CT) Scanners, likely making the whole 3-1-1 inspection issue irrelevant.

MSNBC says that passengers began noticing the change last year. Most travelers said they honestly forgot they had more than a 3 oz. bottle of shampoo or water or that they were not using a zip-lock bag, and were surprised when TSA screeners turned a blind eye.

A TSA spokeswoman insisted the 3-1-1- is still in effect, saying that the policy continues…but that the agency “empowers its workforce with discretion.”

And that just about says it.

Meantime one enterprising traveler posted a blog with a photo of a Starbucks-sponsored ad in a Mexican airport inviting passengers to take their frappuccino with them on board.

So, it’s good to know the Mexicans are ahead of us. And a bottle of mouthwash won’t make me miss my flight.

Are you relieved that 3-1-1 is on its way out?

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