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BAA bans all passengers' cosmetics

David Millward / London Telegraph | August 22 2006

Britain's main airport operator yesterday banned all cosmetics from passengers' hand luggage unless the items were bought at shops in the departure lounge.

Under the new restrictions, imposed by BAA, travellers are forbidden to take talcum powder, lipstick, eyeliner and mascara through security control.

These items had been exempted from the ban, while other cosmetics such as lip gloss had been banned from the start of the terrorist alert. The move was designed to end confusion, said a spokesman for BAA which owns Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports.

advertisementTransatlantic passengers found their position unchanged with all cosmetics and liquids banned from the flight cabin, even if they were bought at duty free shops before boarding.

It emerged last night that the BAA directive was its interpretation of the instructions issued last week by the Department for Transport.

Some airports were taking a different line. Cardiff, for example, allowed passengers to take talcum powder, lipstick and eyeliner through security as long as they were X-rayed before being allowed into the departure lounge.

Birmingham airport's website said it was still allowing passengers to take lipstick on board. However, it explicitly banned gel-filled bras.

A spokesman for the airport said that talcum powder could be brought through security but any liquid "which moves about" - such as mascara, lip gloss, blushers and perfume - could be taken on board only if bought after security checks.

The discrepancy in airports' policy meant that passengers flying on airlines such as British Airways, KLM or bmibaby were finding that different rules applied depending on where they started their journey.

Thomsonfly was advising its passengers to refer to the relevant airport's website, rather than imposing restrictions of its own. But last night the airline added: "If in doubt leave it out."

BA said it was telling its customers that they should check with the airport itself.

On the other hand, Ryanair was trying to enforce the same rules at all United Kindom airports. It interpreted the department rules as banning lipstick and all cosmetics on all flights.

There was even more confusion as a result of airlines imposing their own rules. These included Onur Air, a Turkish company, which has banned all liquids being taken on to an aircraft.

The varying manner in which the restrictions has been enforced has annoyed the passenger watchdog body the Air Transport Users' Council.

A spokesman said: "We are really looking for more clarification because at the moment people are turning up for flights not knowing what they can take on board."

Last night thousands of holidaymakers were facing the prospect of travelling with only hand luggage because of the bank holiday strike threatened by ground staff employed at Stansted airport. • Channel Tunnel rail services were suspended for more than three hours yesterday after a smoke alarm was activated on a freight shuttle.

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