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Air travelers who pack lightly but still can’t do without lots of liquids might want to rethink their strategy following new regulations that went into effect in Europe earlier this month.

The 25 countries in the European Union and three others — Norway, Iceland and Switzerland — agreed to standardize restrictions on liquids in carry-on luggage.

While similar restrictions have been in place on flights bound for the United Kingdom or United States since a reported plot to use them on aircraft was unearthed in August, the restrictions now apply to all commercial flights leaving European airports.

The new restrictions require travelers to carry most liquids — and similar products such as toothpaste — in individual containers no larger than 100 milliliters (about 3 ounces). Those containers must be place in a clear, sealable plastic bag that holds no more than a liter (about a quart).

Each passenger is limited to one plastic bag and it must fit in the carry-on luggage. Those with plastic bags that are too large, individual containers that are too large (even if they only have a small amount of liquid in them) or those who have filled their bags too much to seal them risk having the items confiscated.

The bags will be removed from the carry-on luggage and run separately through scanners and possibly human inspectors.

Several airlines and airports have issued advisories to help passengers deal with the regulations.

A posting on the British Airports Authority Web site — baa.co.uk — said: “To ease your journey, we suggest that most items are placed in your hold baggage and only items of value or that you require whilst onboard the aircraft are carried in your hand luggage.”

And from the Frankfurt International Airport’s Web site, airportcity-frankfurt.com: “We urgently recommend … [passengers] reduce your carry-on baggage to the amount absolute(ly) necessary.”

There are exceptions to the policy. Those traveling with infants can take along enough formula and juices to sustain them during the flight. And those on medications can take appropriate amounts, but might have to prove they require it.

Another exception is liquid items purchased at airports beyond the security points. But some airports may choose to not allow passengers to take them onboard if they’ve been opened at the airport.

No changes have been made for carrying liquids in checked baggage.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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