Huge change coming to carry-on
IF YOU'RE a person who travels with powders, like baby formula, protein powders, cosmetics or talcum powder, the way you travel internationally is about to change.
From June 30, the Australian Government is enforcing new limits on how much powder product you can pack in carry-on baggage on international flights and tougher screening at airport security.
The new rules will also apply to Australian domestic passengers departing from international terminals.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States has announced similar rules that also come into effect from this week.
Similar to the quantity restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels in carry-on luggage that came about after the September 11 attacks, the new rules appear to have been prompted by a thwarted bomb plot on an Etihad flight from Sydney in July last year.
"Improvised devices containing powder explosives have always been a concern of TSA's," TSA spokesman Michael England told Bloomberg.
OK, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
If you travel with powders - including loose and pressed powders - in your carry-on baggage, you should expect changes to the way you are screened at airport security from June 30.
As with liquids, aerosols and gels, powders will need to be presented separately.
In terms of what's restricted, the Australian Government is distinguishing between organic powders, such as baby formula, coffee, protein powder and spices, and inorganic powders, such as talcum powders, foot powders, powdered detergent, some cosmetics and cleaning products.
Organic powders are fine but restrictions apply to inorganic powders.
That means travelling parents don't have to worry about a limit on the amount of baby formula they can bring on a plane, as baby formula is considered organic. The same goes for protein powder and flour, sugar, coffee and spices.
If the powder is inorganic, you won't be able to fly with more than 350g in total (or 350mL).
There's no limit to the number of containers you can pack but the total amount can't exceed 350g.
Importantly, the quantity will be calculated on the total container volume, so "passengers cannot tip powders out to fall under the 350mL threshold," according to the regulations.
While powders will have to be presented separately at airport security, unlike liquids, you won't have to put them in a separate, resealable plastic bag.
A FEW THINGS TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT
Sand is also considered a restricted powder here, so be aware that some toys and souvenirs may contain sand or another substance considered to be a powder.
The regulations specifically call out snow domes as something that may be affected.
"Some items may not be obvious, such as snow domes or toys and souvenirs with sand or granular material inside," the new rule reads.
Also, salt falls into both categories. Salt and salt scrubs are considered inorganic and will face restrictions, but Epsom salt is considered organic and there are no restrictions.
Angus Kidman, finder.com.au's travel expert, said there may also be confusion as "some talcum powders" are on the restricted list but "most cosmetics" are fine.
It's not clear which cosmetic powders - which may include face powder, blush, bronzer and eye shadow - are considered OK and which aren't.
"In reality, the final decision will come down to what the security officer thinks, so I wouldn't risk taking any talc or face powder in hand luggage unless you're happy to risk it being confiscated," he said.
The Australian Government said the rules will be strictly enforced and security screening officers will have the final say. Any powder that can't be identified is likely to be confiscated and thrown out.
If you really want to avoid all this, pack your powders in the luggage you check in.
WHAT ABOUT LIQUIDS AND GELS?
There are no changes to these rules - you still have to pack liquid, aerosols and gels in containers of 100mL and fit them into a transparent, resealable plastic bag, as always.
WHAT'S CAUSED ALL THIS?
An airline official told CNN the new rules were introduced in response to the foiled plot to blow up an Etihad plane from Sydney to Abu Dhabi last year.
The plotters allegedly planned to bring an improvised device on board, but their plan was thwarted when they couldn't get the device past the airline's check-in desk.
Sydney men Khaled Mahmoud Khayat, 49, of Lakemba, and Mahmoud Khayat, 32, of Punchbowl, have been charged with two counts of preparing and planning a terrorist act. One other man remains in custody.