BAA Defends New UK Carry-On Rules

January 7, 2008

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Airports operator BAA on Monday defended new rules in Britain for carry-on luggage in cabins against criticism they were confusing passengers.

Travelers are now able to carry two pieces of hand baggage into the cabins of planes at 22 airports including Heathrow, Edinburgh and Manchester.

But 40 other airports, including Gatwick, are continuing a one-bag limit imposed last year after a terrorism alert.

Some airlines have also adopted their own policies. Budget airline EasyJet, which is maintaining the one-bag limit, said there is "massive scope for customer confusion".

But BAA, which is owned by Spanish infrastructure company Ferrovial and operates seven of the busiest British airports including London's Heathrow and Gatwick, said the different situation would not lead to confusion.

"Actually, it is quite simple," Tom Kelly, BAA communication director, told BBC radio.

"What passengers should do is talk to their airline. That was the position before the restrictions were introduced and that is now the position again. The good news today is that passengers actually can have a choice."

BAA will look to lift the baggage limit at Gatwick by the end of March after extra security lanes have been put in place, Kelly said.

Since last August, passengers have been limited to carrying one bag on board. Liquid containers could not be any bigger than 100 ml and had to be held in a clear, re-sealable plastic bag.

From Monday, passengers will be able to carry an additional briefcase or laptop-sized bag after the Department for Transport said it would ease the restrictions if extra security measures were introduced.

Restrictions will still apply on liquids.